Next up, and last up, in our CBPM mini-run is the latest limited edition in the line, the Peat Monster Arcana. This fascinating whisky is the result of an experiment gone right and a slight, possibly unintentional, nod to the past. Like they did with the Peat Monster Reserve Edition, a chunk of this is the current, standard, The Peat Monster… but with a twist.
9.6% of what’s in this whisky is PM aged for 2 additional years in their Hybrid Barrels. From there they added a bunch of Talisker aged in a Refill Hogshead and some Ardbeg aged in Recharred Barrels and Miltonduff in 1st Fill ex-Bourbon. What a neat and unique whisky. Only thing that could have made this even more “oak-focused” is if they let the final blend marry in their hybrid barrels for 6-12 months.
Side note: The back of the label says there is a parcel of their Highland Malt in it, that is incorrect and they corrected that on their website. The only Highland malt in this is the trace amount that’s in their standard CBPM.
Peat Monster Arcana – Details and Tasting Notes
Distiller: Various (Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Clynelish, Dailuaine, Teaninich, Talisker, Miltonduff)
Blender: Compass Box
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Blend: Talisker (72.9%), Miltonduff (10.6%), The Peat Monster (9.6%), Ardbeg (6.9%)
Cask: Recharred ex-Bourbon, Hybrid Barrels (ex-Bourbon w/ French Oak Heads), 1st Fill ex-Bourbon, Refill Hogshead
Age: NAS (5+ years)
Pears, apples, oak, smoke, vanilla saltwater taffy, honey graham, oil, spice, tropical fruit and a light marshmallow note.
Bananas, pears, apples, oak, spice, smoke, caramel, malty graham and green coffee beans with bits of minerality, bubblegum and marshmallow sweetness.
Long -> Smoke, banana, grilled lemon, malty graham and tropical fruit sweetness.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Great, round-full lightly oiled warm
Peat Monster Arcana – Overall
Aroma sits warm and buttery with a profoundly fruity presence mixed with light smoke and a dusting of vanilla accented desserts – it’s nice, but feels like it’s missing something; Palate comes through like a smoked banana’s foster with a malty / graham essence and a touch of marshmallow sweetness; Finish is a dialed back expressions of the palate with more smoke
This is a nice whisky with a lot to offer, but something about it is just… a touch… off.
Peat Monster Arcana – Final Thoughts and Score
“There’s something that’s just not quite connected/connecting with this whisky” are the exact words I wrote while doing the first draft of this review. All the notes about something missing I wrote in my notebook long before I discovered that CB had accidentally left out their Highland Malt blend. I’m not saying I’m a whisky savant or mystic and inherently knew, but I’m now wondering if that would have filled the perceived gap? Anywho…
Setting that all aside, this whisky is a bit odd for me. With the first 2 glasses I was “meh” about it and didn’t see what people were going on about, I still liked the regular Peat Monster more and this didn’t quite hit the way its cousin does; the subtle smoke didn’t quite scream PM. But a couple of days, and a couple of drams, later the Peat Monster Arcana blossomed and opened up to be a tasty whisky with a subdued elegance to it. It’s good… but not quite great.
Its restrained and muted richness makes me think it could have been so much more but was reigned in for one reason or another. Still, it’s quite a nice dram to sip by the fire on a snowy winter night. It also makes a VERY tasty Blood and Sand.
Peat Monster Arcana Review
It’s good, there’s nothing inherently off or poorly crafted about it. It’s just so subdued and muted that it just doesn’t quite have that traditional Peat Monster punch.
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