BLENDED MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
How does French oak influence peated whisky?
A combination of American oak bodies with toasted French oak heads, our custom barrels generate compelling flavours for us. Yet until 2016, their effects on smoky whisky remained something of a mystery.
We took three French oak custom casks which had already been used to mature our Highland Malt Blend and filled them with a cask strength version of The Peat Monster. More than two years later, the French oak had imparted extra creaminess, spice notes and a chocolatey profile – it had also mellowed the whisky’s smokiness. What started as The Peat Monster became something rather different.
Peat Monster Arcana celebrates mysteries but there will be no secrets. This is a blend of malt whiskies from the Talisker, Miltonduff and Ardbeg Distilleries, together with our assertive and spicy experiment. We sense that there are plenty more discoveries to be made regarding the impact of French oak on Scotch whisky.
Bottled at 46% ABV
Lead Whiskymaker: James Saxon
Transparency is incredibly important to us and we believe that you deserve to know what is in your whisky. On this occasion however, we must also inform you about what didn’t make it into the bottle.
To further complement the French oak character of our experimental parcel, we wanted to add part of a cask of our French oak-finished Highland Malt Blend. Unfortunately, this component was not included in the final bottling. So closely did the final liquid match our blending room prototype, we did not discover the error until after the whisky was bottled and shipped.
The recipe as published on the back label for Peat Monster Arcana is therefore incorrect. From bench-top prototype to the full-scale blend, our experimental parcel grew in influence – we want to understand why this was so. The whisky remains true to the delicious fusion of oak and smoke we envisioned, in spite of the Highland Malt Blend’s absence, but we are sorry that the recipe table does not reflect the contents with total accuracy. We are adjusting our processes to better meet the new challenges we face.