This is remarkably clear in the glass. Like a blanco tequila poured into a Riedel stemware and swirled under a photo tent. But it soon becomes clear that the lack of color is due to the fact that the whisky has burned away the entire visible spectrum, sending the rays of light to the ground like tear-gassed bar patrons. Wave after wave of smoke characterizes the nose. Think of three dozen white roses left spitefully in a Big Green Egg smoker overnight. Or bandages soaked with hydrogen peroxide applied to the wounds of a hell-spawned demon. Or Savonarola’s burning in Florence of oil paintings, cosmetics, books, and lutes. Especially the lutes. The Big Peat stands astride all of my speculations and says, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” And yet on the mouth there’s a glimmer of sweetness, like a match made out of a sweet potato fry struck on the tongue of a kitten. The spark of sweetness glows brightly over the deeper notes of caramelized pig’s blood. All of it gives rise to a counter-factual fable in vain imitation of Paul Bunyan. In this fable, Big Peat tugs at the reins of “Saffron,” his bright yellow musk ox pal, and carries a gigantic purple pool noodle. They have many adventures but none more memorable than the one where Big Peat saves the day with a series of baked bean-can mortars fired upon a faceless enemy. The finish, after all, is the smoking chamber of the watermelon cannon strapped to Saffron’s back. The smell in the air is that of victory secured through unconditional surrender.
The Big Peat Islay Malt is The Battle of Courtrai in 1302–Not quite Agincourt in 1415 or Sedan in 1870. But losing to a Flemish peasant militia armed with goedendags?
*–Our thanks to Jerry Zimmerman and Aron Silverman for the samples!