Head to Head: Vats Amore!

At my last trip to Binny’s Beverage depot, I picked up my first Blended Malt Scotch from Compass Box.  I had heard and read great things about CB and their products and one of the best reviewed was The Peat Monster.  It’s really great.  It’s a vatted malt whisky, or to use the new term, a blended malt whisky.  Blended malts, like vatted malts before them, are a blend of single malt whiskies.  In the cast of The Peat Monster, very little digging reveals that it’s a blend of single malts from the Caol Ila (cool eye-luh) and Ardmore distilleries.  The Caol Ila (from the island of Islay) brings a lot of smoke and peat to the party, while the Ardmore (from the Scottish Highlands) brings a creamy, elegant sweetness on the back end.

The blend is so well done that I decided to try and make my own peat monster using a peaty whiskey and a softer sweeter whisky.  I blended Laphroaig Quarter Cask (from Islay) and The Macallan 12 y/o (from the Speyside area of the Highlands) at a 1:1 ratio, and then did a head to head with The Peat Monster.  Here are the results!

1)      The Peat Monster

2)      50/50 Laphroaig Quarter Cask/Macallan 12


1)      Pale Straw

2)      Medium Copper


1)      Peat, hint of smoke, alcohol, butter

2)      Alcohol, caramel, butterscotch, peat, smoke


1)      Silky, toffee, cinnamon, peat

2)      Creamy, some caramel and malt with a hit of peat and smoke at the end


1)      Big peaty finish, then burn, and a long one at that

2)      A long burn with lingering smoke and chocolate-covered toffee

Parting Words: I think my vatting held up well!  The Macallan is a single malt that uses sherry butts (barrels) in the aging process so I’m sure that accounted for all the candy notes in my blend.  But overall, The Peat Monster had a balance and sophistication that my own blend lacked.  That’s the hand of a master blender at work.  But it’s still fun to play at home sometimes.