May 29, 2014

Battle of the Beasts!!!

Day of Reckoning!

Ever since we started SmokyBeast, we knew that one day it would come to this.  It's been a long time in the making, but the day is finally here.  We're going to line up our favorite smoky beasts: the peatiest, smokiest, and most delicious drams we've ever had, and put them up blind for the ultimate battle of the beasts.  Mano a mano.  Six-shooters at high noon.  We're going to find out once and for all which is the baddest beast in the land.


In the middle, two of the smokiest malts ever produced: Ardbeg Supernova and Bruichladdich Octomore!  And for the bookends, two of our favorite big smoky beauties: Lagavulin 12-Year Cask Strength, and Kilchoman Cask Strength Sherry Cask.

Lagavulin:  Limited Edition 12 Year Natural Cask Strength, Distilled in 2001, Bottled in 2013, 55.1%
Lagavulin is our first and still favorite malt.  The 12-year is a mighty beast.  It was one of the early malts that we reviewed on this blog and honestly it was too much for us the first time around.  Since then it's become well-loved here at Beast Headquarters.  Though the peat levels are supposed to be less than half (perhaps a third) of some of the other beasts in the lineup, it wouldn't be a proper Islay battle without a Lag in the mix!

Ardbeg: Supernova SN2010 60.1%
Peated to "over 100 parts per million," Ardbeg Supernova is one of the mythical beasts of Islay.  It was first released in 2009 and sold out in a matter of days.  The 2010 release was even more sought-after and is highly coveted by smoke heads worldwide.  This is known to be one of the all-time smokiest beasts in the land and certainly earns a spot in our battle.

Bruichladdich: Octomore 2.1 62.5%
Being the smokiest scotch ever created, Octomore is the highest handicap in our smoke race.  Yes, the Octomore 5.1 is technically the peatiest monster ever at 169ppm.  We'll have to track down a bottle one day.  For now, the 2.1 is still some vicious hell-raising, slap-your-ass-and-call-you-Sally hooch at 140ppm.  Beaming down from its badass black bottle, this is one serious beast!

Kilchoman: 2007 Sherry Cask 3010 Barrel Room Option for Fountainhead
We thought about putting the obvious choice - a young Laphroaig - into the mix here, but instead we went with our newest favorite, the single sherry cask from Kilchoman.  Since this is a blind tasting, we thought we'd throw in a wild card for our judges.  As the lowest peat-level in the bunch, and the only sherry cask, it will be interesting to see the balance of picks for taste and smokiness.

The Judges

Mrs. Smoky Beast
Since Mr. Beast nobly sacrificed his seat in the name of science, Mrs. Beast is representing the blog in the blind tasting.  A true peat-head to the core, this wifey is ready for battle.

Guest Judge #1: Benny Wolowitz
Born and raised in Miami, with a brief exile into the smokey mountains, Ben is a happily married, overly read, usually bearded booze geek who went from the book biz to indulging a preference for whiskey of all sorts by selling liquor for a very large wine and spirits retailer.

Guest Judge #2: Joshua Gershon-Feldman
Known by his many aliases: Dr. Pre-Pro, Captain Coop, The Sherpas' Sherpa, SmokyBeast Director of Security, Joshua has poured over many many drams in his review for Coopered Tot and is a true beast-lover.

Guest Judge #3: Bram Hoogendijk
"Our man in Amsterdam," the official Managing Editor of the SmokyBeast Northern European Desk, malt whiskey aficionado extraordinaire, Bram flew all the way from Holland to partake in our ultimate battle of the beasts!


A fiercely scientific tredecuple blind tasting. Four glasses, four drams.

The Tasting (obviously the bottles were concealed until the end...)

The Tasting Sheet

Tune in tomorrow as the games begin!!!


  1. If anyone doubts how awesome going over to your house for drams is, let me put them at ease now. This was an epic tasting. I was bedazzled, enticed, and ultimately subdued (as only drinking 4 big pours of massive cask strength whisky can do). My palate was shot... skinned raw... but MAN, I was a happy camper!

    1. Haha actually drinking them next to each other kind makes the non-peat flavors come out since your peat receptors are at capacity. Whereas if you taste them next to mellower whiskies they just taste like smoke bombs. But yes, an enjoyable time was had by all, thanks for playing along!