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Experience N.8 | Pete Vs Peat

Experience. N.8 – Pete vs Peat


Peated whisky undoubtedly has a loyal group of die hard fans, and the cult like status of the big hitting peated whisky brands is notorious. To some, Peaty whisky is why they don’t drink whisky – a negative first experience that’s put them off for life. For others – it is just an intimidating flavour they’ve not come round to yet.  


We love Peat. And our own Pete, for that matter… Co-founder and whisky maker Pete set to work to create a nuanced whisky of a distinctly smoky profile – but not one that was too in your face. One that we could serve to our friends in a bid to tempt them into the peated whisky cult, maybe without them even really being aware of it. One that could keep the most die-hard peat freak satisfied with a cunning complexity – but offer those merely curious a rewarding dip of a toe into the murky subculture of peated whisky.


Of late we’ve enjoyed more open-minded discussion about age in whisky. As the famous moniker goes – age is just a number. And in whisky (we assure you) it is wrong to assume that older = better. In peated whisky especially. The peat aroma is part of the spirit character. It blossoms in cask for sure, but is sometimes in conflict with the wood character that is designed to tame it especially in older expressions. There’s a trend, led by genius people like Brendan McCarron, (Master Distiller at Distell and all round good guy in our opinion) of singing the praises of younger Pete. 5 Year old Ardbeg, 8 Year Old Lagavulin. Not only are these accepted by the market – they’re rather bloody yummy.


Ad for the contents of this blend? It contains no Islay Whisky. Shock! Gasp! We're on the mainland, and in non traditional peat territory! The truth is - pretty much everyone is producing some peated whisky these days. Ours was sourced from a highland distillery. We split it into ex bourbon and ex red wine casks and let them do their thing. We blended a lovely buttery grain whisky that had resided an Amontillado sherry cask and rounded it with a wee touch of our campbeltown superblend. More on that later. None of this matters. But some people like knowing more. 


N.8 portrays a spectrum of different smoke styles in one glass – from the rich tobacco and bonfire ember notes right round to more delicate tea and roasted coffee bean aroma and even fresh aromas like burnt orange peel. In whisky everyone argues that the biggest influencer on flavour is the distillery character or the wood that the whisky matured in. But in this expression – the biggest influence on flavour is the whisky maker himself. Pete wrestling big smoky flavours in our tiny studio of the course of a three weeks to arrive at a formulation that met our vision of rounded, peated whisky. Lively, yet complex. It’s a tough profile to blend with. A lot of horsepower in flavour terms – but if you can get these notes  to behave, fall in to line, so to speak then you can build up pretty exciting flavour experiences. That’s what this blend is all about. Taking a moment – letting it sit on the palate for a second, and then sitting back and letting the experience engulf you.