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The smell of Peat

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The smell of Peat

Postby Status Guo » Thu May 08, 2008 3:18 am

My first post and I'm completely new to the world of whisk(e)y tasting - I'm an expert at getting hammered though.

What exactly does Peat smell like? Please don't say it smells like Peat. I bought a bottle of Connemara and I liked it, but I've been told by "guests" of my abode that they don't like peated whisky. I smelled and tasted it again. I didn't smell or taste anything that stood out from my other whiskeys.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby oldrip57 » Thu May 08, 2008 5:17 am

Smoked dirt?
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Peatlover » Thu May 08, 2008 5:46 am

Smoked dirt is a great description.

Having grown up in the Shetlands where peat fires are the norm, describing the smell is actually really difficult. It just smells like.... peat...!!

It is too bad Blackwoods attempts at distilling whisky in Shetland have never really taken off......
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu May 08, 2008 6:25 am

Smoked dirt or scorched, smoked earth would be a good description.

Some time ago I started this discussion about the difference between "smokey" and "peaty". Maybe it will help a little.

http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6954
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Status Guo » Thu May 08, 2008 6:46 am

Thanks!

I just splurged on a Lagavulin 16. Supposedly this is the stuff that's strong of Peat. I'll try it out later this week.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby peat-chaser » Thu May 08, 2008 11:23 am

Hi Status Guo,

as you see it´s hard to describe a smell, especially this one, which compares to nothing else, but why don´t you go to a good bar oder irish pub and order 2 whiskies, perfect would be the caol ila, 8 y.o. unpeated and the Caol Ila cask strength, nose both, the mayor difference is the peat.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby DanAir » Thu May 08, 2008 6:03 pm

Ardbeg sell peat cones "which, when burned, will give off that peaty, smoky aroma".

https://www.ardbeg.com/Shop.asp?Cat=17
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Mr Fjeld » Thu May 08, 2008 6:30 pm

DanAir wrote:Ardbeg sell peat cones "which, when burned, will give off that peaty, smoky aroma".

https://www.ardbeg.com/Shop.asp?Cat=17

Unfortunately, the smoke from these smell exactly like cigarette smoke. If only it was like pipe tobacco or a cigar :(
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby I_SPEY » Thu May 08, 2008 7:50 pm

I don't like cigarette's smoke :evil: , but very much enjoy P E A T :)
Ridiculous, I know, but i's the truth.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Ryguy » Thu May 08, 2008 8:03 pm

Some people have described a whiff of an Ardbeg or Lagavulin I'm drinking as "smelling like a campfire" or "just plain smokey" or "a funny cigar smell".

So pretty much smoke in general I'd say. Everyones nose is different.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Status Guo » Fri May 09, 2008 2:31 am

Thanks for the response everyone. Like I said, I bought a Lagavulin to see if I can make out anything. Hopefully this fine bottle won't be wasted on a newb like me.

:smoke:
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Gov » Fri May 09, 2008 2:32 am

Status Guo wrote:Thanks for the response everyone. Like I said, I bought a Lagavulin to see if I can make out anything. Hopefully this fine bottle won't be wasted on a newb like me.

:smoke:


If you don't like it, I'll take it from you :P
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Sat May 10, 2008 6:57 am

What does peat smell like you ask........

Well there really is no answer to that, because as the whiskey commonsewers on here are fond of saying with reguard to whiskey tasting....it all depends on what the individual doing the tasting thinks it tastes like....so while I might say it tastes or smells smokey..someone else might say its fishy or earthy......so you see there is no right answer and it's pointless to even ask the question.
I guess the only real answer is the one you don't want to hear.............It tastes/smells like PEAT......afterall it is peat and so I guess that's what it will smell like ....I'll beat peat even looks like peat if you saw it.
Call things what they really are.......well that is for the common folk
But then again I'm inclined to think that if you put a pile of peat in front of 10 of the elitist on here and you asked them what it looks like - they come up with 10 different answers and none of them would be "It looks like peat" -
Call things for what they are - well, why - that is for the common slops. We intellects why we baffle'm with BS.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Reggaeblues » Sat May 10, 2008 9:00 am

JG, aren't you being a wee bit patronising to say "It's pointless to even ask the question?"

Chances are Status Guo is new to whiskies and genuinely wants to find out some more...so a few have attempted to describe the smell. If that irritates you, tough!

I find it quite amusing, not just reading others' descriptions(I liked "smoked dirt" for example) but trying to find words to describe my own impressions...
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby oldrip57 » Sun May 11, 2008 5:27 am

Gentleman, your responses -- though I didn't originate this thread, but only got in the first response -- have been gratifying to me. You can tell by my question mark after my "Smoked dirt?.." response that: 1) I was unsure of my own sensibilites; and, 2) I was unsure how single malt students would respond to the impression of a bourbon-loving interloper (questions about why a bourbonista would possess Laga 16, Talikers, Highland Park cask-strength and Coal Ila notwithstanding...). Though my palate is generally regarded favorably by my bourbon peers, I'm on unsteady ground on this forum.
Still, as a regular bourbon drinker, I'm readily familiar with smoke -- those barrels are newly-charred, you know -- it's the wood vs. peat (dirt) that's the plain difference, to me. As I write this, I'm nosing pours of Lagavulin 16yo and Talisker 18yo, and the noses -- never mind the palate differences because of the grain (barley vs. corn/rye/barley) -- offer sensations not found in bourbon. In the end, I sense, the difference is the dirt (which is not to be mistaken for 'dirty'!).
The earthiness of peaty Scotch is largely alien to bourbon. The bourbon grains are rich in sweetness, fruit and spice. Any 'earthiness' is an accident of aging (blame the barrel!). At its best in a single malt, it is endemic -- not so much a separate taste, but an integral -- and integrated -- part of the whole flavor palette (as separate from 'palate'). I can imagine enjoying either this Laga or Talisker on a chilly, nighttime, spring beach, while bourbon engenders visions of back porches in sultry summer.
Anyway, thanks for the encouragement, however tangential to the discussion it may be.
We are ALL whisk(e)y drinkers, after all :D.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Tue May 13, 2008 5:28 am

raggieblues wrote:
Chances are Status Guo is new to whiskies and genuinely wants to find out some more...so a few have attempted to describe the smell.


I'm sure "Status Guo" does want to find out something, that's why you guys shouldn't confuse him with a dozen different, and subjective at that, desciptions of what peat tastes like.....Is there some crime in saying "It tastes like peat" after all that's what it is. I beleive in calling a spade a spade so as not to confuse people, obviously you don't. But it takes all types to make the world go round...round round in circles - like how some people like to talk about scotch tastes - round and round and round and .... ah you get the picture. So to "Status Guo" be fair warned, the scotch experts will spin you round in circles, blow smoke up your south end and leave you dazed and confused. As I'm fond of saying "Scotch tastes like Scotch" - thank god, some a little like this some a little like that...personally if my scotch ever tasted like apricots and all that other stuff they like to say...well I'd spite it out. You want something that taste like cinnimon and apricots - go get some, mix it together and drink it. But I'll drink my scotch and appreciate it for simply that. Just becuase it cost 100 times more than most liquid refreshment still doesn't incline me to find a million noexistant flavors to justify to my wife(if I had one) a purchase that normally would be a rather foolish use of hard earned money. Buy it drink it, don't try to rationalize it and find anything in it more that what it is....very expensive whisky - deal with it, enjoy it, I do :lol:

raggieblues wrote:
If that irritates you, tough!

Ah sorry I blew up :cry:
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby les taylor » Tue May 13, 2008 9:18 am

JohnyyGuitar wrote:Just becuase it cost 100 times more than most liquid refreshment still doesn't incline me to find a million noexistant flavors to justify to my wife(if I had one)



That says it all really.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Reggaeblues » Tue May 13, 2008 11:22 am

les taylor wrote:
JohnyyGuitar wrote:Just becuase it cost 100 times more than most liquid refreshment still doesn't incline me to find a million noexistant flavors to justify to my wife(if I had one)



That says it all really.


Ah, Les! Thankyou. a big belly laugh-out-loud for breakfast!!!


Y'know, the only way i can read JG is to assume he has his not-overly-sensitive(it would seem from what he says) toungue in his cheek...

First of all, the guy ASKED, on a forum designed for such exchanges, what peat smells/tastes like...so, if he asks, it's only polite to reply! IWBRNT!!!

I mean, I never knew anyone who went out and swallowed a mouthful of peat just to see what it tastes like...except maybe a pig looking for truffles...

When I first tasted whisky, yes, it "tasted like whisky>" i.e this hot, spirity unpalatable stuff that got me drunk. My point is, when I became aware of the pandora's box of flavours in whiskies, I came to the conclusion that whisky DOESN"T taste like whisky...and personally I LOVE finding apples, lemons, peaches, raisins and god knows what in my glass!
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby LeoDLion » Tue May 13, 2008 1:48 pm

Dalmore cigar version does taste and smell like a cigar. And I dont like it at all.

Peaty whisky does not smell or taste like cigarette smoke. If it does, I will not be drinking it. I want to say that when I taste peat, it reminds me of the Bog Man, that poor medieval guy they found in the bog preserved for eternity. I wonder what whisky he drunk?
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby les taylor » Tue May 13, 2008 1:58 pm

Reggaeblues wrote:
les taylor wrote:
JohnyyGuitar wrote:Just becuase it cost 100 times more than most liquid refreshment still doesn't incline me to find a million noexistant flavors to justify to my wife(if I had one)



That says it all really.


Ah, Les! Thankyou. a big belly laugh-out-loud for breakfast!!!


Y'know, the only way i can read JG is to assume he has his not-overly-sensitive(it would seem from what he says) toungue in his cheek...

First of all, the guy ASKED, on a forum designed for such exchanges, what peat smells/tastes like...so, if he asks, it's only polite to reply! IWBRNT!!!

I mean, I never knew anyone who went out and swallowed a mouthful of peat just to see what it tastes like...except maybe a pig looking for truffles...

When I first tasted whisky, yes, it "tasted like whisky>" i.e this hot, spirity unpalatable stuff that got me drunk. My point is, when I became aware of the pandora's box of flavours in whiskies, I came to the conclusion that whisky DOESN"T taste like whisky...and personally I LOVE finding apples, lemons, peaches, raisins and god knows what in my glass!



RB I know completely what you mean, about whisky and also JG.

The funny thing is he uses the same argument on whatever thread he manages to point his cocktail umbrella at. What is more funny is that someone will always take the bait. He probably just needs a friend. :)
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Reggaeblues » Tue May 13, 2008 2:51 pm

Yes. I often wonder how it would be to sit and have a dram with many of the folks on this forum. you Les are the only one I've met so far, and that was a pleasure.

JG is welcome to stop by anytime he's in the area...though my cupboard is notably devoid of JWR!!
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby martin grant » Tue May 13, 2008 3:12 pm

les taylor wrote:The funny thing is he uses the same argument on whatever thread he manages to point his cocktail umbrella at. What is more funny is that someone will always take the bait. He probably just needs a friend. :)


You know, I've never really had JG down as much of a cocktail drinker.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby les taylor » Tue May 13, 2008 3:32 pm

martin grant wrote:
les taylor wrote:The funny thing is he uses the same argument on whatever thread he manages to point his cocktail umbrella at. What is more funny is that someone will always take the bait. He probably just needs a friend. :)


You know, I've never really had JG down as much of a cocktail drinker.


Yep he loves a whisky cocktail that tastes of Scotch. :shock:
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Tue May 13, 2008 5:03 pm

someone wrote:
personally I LOVE finding apples, lemons, peaches, raisins and god knows what in my glass!


If you do find any in there, your wife probably threw them in.
Hey if you like that stuff why don't you just go buy some of that appricot, blackberry, or whatever else flavored brandys they sell. And do me a favor after you drink the appricot brandy tell me what flavors you find in it BUT don't use the 'appricot' to describe it. :D

Yea I guess I do use the same argument over and over, dah guess why ? Because it's all pretty simple. Drinking scotch isn't rocket science.
As someone mentioned, when they first tasted whiskey it tasted like whiskey, it burned and they didn't like it, then they learned to find flavor in it.....I couldn't agree more......So did I but I found flavors unique to scotch not a fruit farm. Scotch has it's own array of flavors, that's why I like it, I can go eat appricots or smell flowers in the yard, I don't have to pay $80 a bottle to do that and you shouldn't either. If you're not enjoying your scotch for being scotch you missing something, enjoy the flavors that are unique to it, afterall isn't that why you drink it ? Why belittle it and say it taste like uncooked cookie batter or anything else.
I think you are all trying to prove yourself, that you've arrived, so to say, and you can find all these flavors and that you are some kind of whiskey commonsewer, I find it all a bit pretentious to say the least. Not to mention completely pointless.
Let me ask you this ....If you found and dated a beautiful girl....would you start looking at her and picking here apart by saying ...."you know, you have eyes like my last girl friend Jane, and you talk like my sister, and you lips are like my first wife's....etc"...........get my point, not only would you piss her off, but you'd be missing her real beauty.

In any event I hope we are all having a good time of it talking and batting our oppions back and forth and getting a couple laughs in the process :D
And I hope you are learning something here and I'm glad I can provide that service free of charge.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby bamber » Tue May 13, 2008 5:15 pm

Check out whiskymag's tasting wheel:

http://www.whiskymag.com/gfx/nosing/Whiskywheel-Big.jpg

The peaty bit has lots of easy to relate to smells.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Sat May 17, 2008 11:41 pm



This is exactly the kind of baffoonary that these whiskey charletons engage in, that I try to warn the novice drinkers about and steer them away from.
I'd advice the novice, that your first gut reaction to this stuff is correct, it's a bunch of bunk, to but it simply.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Reggaeblues » Sun May 18, 2008 1:57 am

JG, good to hear from you! You ain't nothing if not down to earth!!

thing is, i don't like brandy, otherwise i'd try what you suggest...and right now, having had some friends over for a Saturday evening chinwag, fuelled by Laphroaig Quarter Cask, my toungue is reverberating with the afterglow of smoky embers of a peat fire, clean sea air and vanilla custard. Maybe that's too pretentious for you. Maybe they don't eat custard where you come from??

but my female guest, not a whisky drinker, LOVED it, and decided that the Glenmorangie Lasanta sherry cask which accompanied the start of our conversation, was definitely an aperitif. Her husband, a lover of Lap 10, was impressed by the QC. "Like a peat fire" he said...

I love it when "non-whisky drinkers" get drawn into the world of flavours exploding on their tastebuds, and , face aglow with enthusiasm, tell it like it is! She described the QC as "explosive!"

now what the HECK did she mean? And how come the bottle's empty??
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby hilliamash » Sun May 18, 2008 7:34 pm

Oldrip:

This was a perfect description: Bourbon for hot sultry summer nights, and Scotch for crisp, cold, days. That speaks to my experience directly--I do tend to drink much lighter Scotches or Bourbon in the summer, and switch to heavier ones in Winter.

As for peat...the scorched earth seems about the best I've heart. Kind of like leaning over a campfire and getting a bit of smoke on the tastebuds.

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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Lawrence » Tue May 20, 2008 3:18 am

Peat in the dried form before burning does not smell like much. When it's damp it smells like...wet dirt. This is not an unreasonable comment because peat is in fact a type of dirt. Generally when people talk about peat and whisky they are actually talking about the aroma of burnt peat. As you know, especially on Islay, damp germinated barley is put on a wire mesh floor and a fire of smouldering smoking peat is underneath, the smoke rises and 'flavours' the barley and the heat from the smokes ends the germination process.

Peat smoke in whisky takes many forms, depending on the distillery and age of the whisky. But peat smoke is rich, smokey (like a camp fire as others have correctly described it) but also with background notes of malt, like toasted cereal. Connemara is generally lightly peated when compared to Islay whiskies and I think most would agree (with the exception of the one poor sad idiot who feels that words should not be used to describe whisky, ever. Unless he's doing the describing) that peat smoke in this case is more in evidence in the taste rather than the nose. I find that there are more buttery sweet notes on the nose of Connemara than peat smoke. Laphroaig on the other hand has lots of peat smoke on the nose and palate.

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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Wed May 21, 2008 10:22 pm

Raggieblues wrote:

Maybe they don't eat custard where you come from??

Yea we eat custard, not that I'm a fan of it, but we eat custard - we don't drink it, if you like the taste of custard why not just eat custard - personally I like my scotch to taste like scotch. Call me silly but I think that's why they call custard custard and scotch scotch - because that's what they are and that's what they taste like.
And to follow your logic - if scotch tastes like custard then deductive reasoning would conclude that custard tastes like scotch. SO...perhaps you should just eat custard and save money.

I love it when "non-whisky drinkers" get drawn into the world of flavours exploding on their tastebuds, and , face aglow with enthusiasm, tell it like it is! She described the QC as "explosive!"


Once again we have the misuse of the language - "explosive" - I dare say that that would imply the it blew the tongue straight out of her mouth - and not that i'm a sexist or anything, but for most women not having a tongue would definetly be an improvement.
"Explosive" is not the proper word here - "implosive" perhaps is what she really ment, as women have a bad habit of say just the opposite of what they really mean, so you never know what they really mean. I've noticed, perhaps you have too, that most women will say anything to get another free drink. Call me a sexist - but I just observe the world and report back on it.
Yes, I once had a women who ranted and raved about my scotch - but when the scotch was gone so was the women. . . funny how that works. Actually - I empty the bottles to rid myself of the portly pest. If there is one thing that you can believe, that a women means it when she says it, it is - "I'll get everything in the divorce" :lol:
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Reggaeblues » Wed May 21, 2008 10:53 pm

Johnny your post cheered me up enormously. I was quite depressed before i read it - economic slowdowns and work harder to find etc.(Therefore by deduction, as you would have it, whisky harder to afford)

But you have a point. Custard IS a lot cheaper than scotch, though it doesn't relieve the pain in quite the same way, and is somewhat lacking in complexity.

BIRDS CUSTARD, DISTILLED 2007, TINNED 2008.

The nose doesn't promise much regarding the delights to follow, though there is a little sweetness in the aroma. This is best rewarded by letting the custard stand in the bowl for a while,

The mouth arrival is superb however, and the oily mouth coating texture gives way to a marked sweetness, as the vanillins take over.

the finish is the weak point, and leads irrevocably to the next mouthful,

the balance however, is first class. the sweetness promised on the nose is reflected on the palate. Personally I am a big fan of older custards, particularly if they have been matured for an extra 2 days in bowls that previously held prunes. Some people are not fans of this extra ageing however, and feel that it diminishes the true character of the custard, such as Jack Michaelson in his "Custard Bible" in which he tastes and rates over 3700 custards from around the world...in one afternoon.

The combination of all these custards was most definitely "explosive", and I use the word advisedly, and , I believe, utterly correctly.

BTW, regarding toungeless women, I would find kissing and other intimate activities to be distinctly lacking were your recommendations to come to pass.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby UUNetBill » Thu May 22, 2008 12:01 am

Custard, is it? :lol:

Back to "The smell of Peat" if I may. . .

I recently purchased a bottle of Compass Box Peat Monster, and when I opened the box, it reeked of peat. There was no leakage from the bottle, nor any signs of moisture damage from another broken bottle or anything - just an overpowering smell of peat from the opened box.

Just thought I'd share, as the name of this thread reminded me of that.

:D
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby JohnyyGuitar » Thu May 22, 2008 12:45 am

raggieblues wrote:
Johnny your post cheered me up enormously.


And your's me :wink:
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby lohssanami » Thu May 22, 2008 4:12 am

I like peat! It smells like peat to me.
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Re: The smell of Peat

Postby Reggaeblues » Thu May 22, 2008 10:22 am

UUNetBill wrote:Custard, is it? :lol:

Back to "The smell of Peat" if I may. . .

I recently purchased a bottle of Compass Box Peat Monster, and when I opened the box, it reeked of peat. There was no leakage from the bottle, nor any signs of moisture damage from another broken bottle or anything - just an overpowering smell of peat from the opened box.

Just thought I'd share, as the name of this thread reminded me of that.

:D


Ahh! Greetings and Welcome to the man from Pikes Peak! Tho' i am from jolly old England(I believe the Brits invented custard, and probably peat too...) many a hero of mine has ascended Pike's Peak at great speed...usually with the surname "Unser" or "Andretti..."

I had the good fortune to shake Mario's hand at a book signing a few years ago. Charming bloke, and a true legend. Along with my dear friend Stirling Moss, regarded as the greatest all-rounder in the world of motor sport.

He once took a Superbike around Laguna Seca raceway, having never ridden one before, and posted a time quick enough to have placed him 16th on the grid for the previous year's championship round!

Regarding "the smell of peat" emanating from your "Compass Box box", maybe they dip the box/bottle in the whisky first to lure you into buying it?!?(subliminal selling!!)

Hopefully the contents live up to it! I only ever had one(free) sample of the Monster. I enjoyed it. But not enough to make me choose it over a bottle of Ardbeg 10 when next I went buying. A vatting of Ardbeg(or Caol Ila??) and Ardmore, I believe, and I certainly wouldn't say no to another sample...

How do you find it?
Last edited by Reggaeblues on Thu May 22, 2008 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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