Sunday, July 31, 2011

High West Bourye and Pappy van Winkle 15

High West is a new distillery in Park City, Utah.

So far they have released "only" unaged stuff, their silver oat, silver barley and vodka.

But they also bottled a range of ryes and bourbons, sourced at different distilelleries

This is the third High West I review, the other two can be found here :

1. High West Bourye 46%

This is a blend of bourbon and rye whiskey. As far as I know this is a blend of 10yo four roses (their 20% rye mashbill), 12yo LDI (95% rye and 5% barley) and 16yo Barton (53% rye, 37% corn and 10% barley)

Nose : Treesap, spice, sweet wood, delicious rye, one of those whiskies you just want to keep on nosing

Palate : Sweetness, quite woody, but bourbon and ryes do appear woody to me as I started out as a single malt drinker. There's a reallly good balance between the wood, vanilla and spicy rye. 95% ryes can be somehow synthetic and one-sided, but the flavours are really well blendend together here

Finish : medium-long

Rating 90

Comment's : This whiskey isn't a traditional blend, but being vatted together of casks from three different distilleries it actually is. American and scottish blends are used to describe different kind of products.
But this IS blended together really good. My favourite High West so far!

2. Pappy van Winkle 15yo 53.5%

Nose: Wood, solvent, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom

Palate: Intensen: Very woody, creamy vanilla, tobacco, liqorise

Finish : medium-long

Comment : This is a wheated bourbon. If you like woody tastes this is for you

Rating 85

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sherry and more sherry

This morning I decided to give myself a couple of heavily sherried whiskies, to counterbalance last weekends peat. This post will be about a couple of shop bottlings.

1. 35yo Glenallachie 46.9%, The Single Malts of Scotland

This is a label of The Whisky Exchange

Matured in sherry butts, 685 bottles


Glenallachie is one of the unknown Chivas distilleries in Speyside, just founded in 1967-1968. Very hard to find

Nose: Sweet, some spice, very fresh, little cumin but most of all sweet-sherried fruit juice 

Palate: Again sweet, very fresh and very sherried. In the sweet woody fruitjuicy sense, I get no dried fruits like raisins

Finish: short medium, but this gives away the age with a very delicious woody-spicy afterburn 

Comment : A very nice bottling!

Rating 91

2. Balmenach 32yo Flying Pigs 55.7%

Bottled by Juul's wine and spirit, Copenhagen

Distilled 29th July 1977, bottled 3rd September 2009

Now this is a cask from Gordon and MacPhail :

But the danish importer, Juul's bottled in under their FLYING label and stuck this nice label on the side:

Nose: Dried Fruits, wood

Palate: Whisky with a good part of dried fruits, very heavy liqorice. Intense and very flavourful. Very nice to drink dropwise to expereince the intense flavours explode in your mouth

Finish : Medium

Comment: A heavily sherried dark sherry. Very clean and simple in its expression. Liquid liqorice

Nice with two good unadultered sherried whiskies

This specific bottle was also reviewed by LA Whiskey Society, as usual I am behind on my own bottles

Rating 88

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cleaning out my samples - part 2 of 5

Japanese whiskies can be somewhat difficult to relate to distillery wise. Some of their distilleries have a set of different stills and produce different styles, so it takes an in-depth research to really get acknowledged

1. Karuizawa 12yo 40%

Karuizawa has more or less been closed since 2001, but has reached legendary status in Europe due to a series of excellent casks being bottled by Number One drinks

Nose: Powerful sherry, cherry, sweet wood, tropical fruits

Palate: Roasted nuts, almonds

Finish: Short and nutty

Rating 81

Comment: Powerful on the attack but thin and a little bitter on the finish. ABV ?

2. Inverleven 26yo 53.7% DTC
Duncan Taylor rarest of the Rare
12.1979-11.2006, cask 5662 193 bottles

Nose: Sweet marcipane, slight nutty and solvents

Palate: Weird nutty flavours with being that good nor unpleasant. Some sweetness and a bit rough

Finish : Medium

Rating 81

Maybe there's a reason Inverleven hasn't become cult!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cleaning out my samples - part 1 of 5

This summer I want to clean out my samples.

This is maninly from swops, there's a few miniatures purchases and 1 or 2 gifts.

I'll aim for 5 parts and see if I can get some room in my cupboard for future swops and maybe get some nice drams in on the way

1. Hankey Bannister 12yo

Nose: Gentle citrus mixed with apples and pears

Palate: A lot more tasteful than I expected. Am I prejudiced against 40% whisky, against 12yo's and against blends? I have to admit this got more bite and flavour than expected, and if given blind I wouldn't have guessed it to be a blend, but rather one of the non-sherried Flora and Faunas. It's better than those thou, but same style. Ends with a slight bitterness

Finish : Medium

Comment : Very enjoyable and it's what you expected, just better. 
Value for money +++

Rating 83

2. Octomore Futures 2002
Distilled 16.10.2002, bottled April 2008 46%
80.5 ppm

My sample flyer

Nose : Peat, babypuke. The babyvomit dissappears fast and gets overwhelmed by a dominant citrus 

Wow this wakes up my senses, I am in my living room and outside there's a balcony..Four apartments down the building there's a guy on his balcony, one floor below smoking a cigarette, and I can detect the smoke clearly. 

Palate: No babypuke. Peat, vanilla and citrus. Being a peathead for a decade or two I am getting more and more immune to peat so I actually note the other flavours more. But don't get me wrong, this IS peaty. And intense. And the peat do climb up from the glass and hit me. 

Finish : Long, slightly acidic and bitter

Going back to the nose I can detect the babypuke for a few seconds. 
This is very young and somewhat suffers from that. 
At 80.5ppm this could be described as a lightly peated Octomore :-)
Comment : after a dramming sessions of 15-20 drams where your tastebuds are getting numb I bet this will be the best whisky ever!

Rating 80

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Double Single

Double Single by Compass Box 53.3%

This was my whisky of the year 2010,
and here is a wee formal review. Not being the most prolific blogger I try to catch up a bit this summer!

Nose : Bubblegum Jenka style. Once I get used to the unusually nose I can really dig into it

Palate : The nose travels over into a dry spicy touch which is kind of a rollercoaster experience tastewise. Very much a bourboncask whisky, with woodspiced vanilla topped up with candy

Finish : Medium-long and spicy/sweet

This is an unusual whisky, and as a prolific whisky DRINKER, I really like when daring bottlings like these are released. It's something unlike everything else I tasted. This says something about a company like Compass Box, who likes to thread paths noone else is going and at the same time make great whiskies. This will not be everybody's cup of Gevalia

Rating 87

I just love bottlings like these

Saturday, July 16, 2011

5 Peated Whiskies

Well, time for a flight again, it has been a long time. I had a look through my open bottles and found 11 I haven't blogreviewed before, and as there were 5 peated amongst, I decided to have a go at them.

I love the smell of peat in the morning.

The Agenda

Being a long time peated whisky drinker, I have found that I sometimes, or very easy get immune to peat, so if I say a whisky isn't too peaty, don't trust me! (necessarily)

1. The Hakushu Heavily Peated 48%

A Japanese distillery with a range of different stills. This makes them capable of producing different styles. Another expansion of possibilities is to use peated malt.

Nose : The peat isn't dominating, but it's present, fruity, like the fruitiness of apples and pears.

Palate : Very drinkable, easy going and delicious, also somewhat subtle in its expression, making me think of older Islay's more than the younger smack-in-your-face ones. The peat emerges into a spicy vanilla lemony finish, which is very delicate. 

Finish : Short/medium with the sugarly lemon being dominant

Comment : I wouldn't have named it Heavily Peated, it's much too delicate for that description. This is a NAS whisky, but if i'ts young it seems like the hotter climate of Japan has matured it very well. I am glad I chose this as the first whisky of the day, it would most likely not benefit from following other whiskies, peated or not.

Rating 85

2. Bruichladdich Mòine Mhòr 3D 2nd Edition 50%

This is a vatting of different styles and ages of whisky distilled at Bruichladdich supposedly from three different decades and three different peating levels

Nose : Some peat, and some solvent like immaturity is just present if you look hard enough

Palate : Feels warm in the mouth, with a lot of wood, spice and lemon under the peat.

Finish : Medium

Comment : This has got some punch, not due to the peat alone but also from the youthness of the whisky, or some of the whisky in the vat. This is really well vatted together and an enjoyable dram

Rating 83

3. Lagavulin "Available only at the distillery" bottled 2010 52.5%

Nose : Sweet, spicy, fruity, dark fruits

Palate : Great full bodied mouthfeel and texture. The sweet PX  mixes real well with the peat, but the sherry influence is a lot lot less than in the DE Lagavulins. Peat and vanilla in the end

Finish : Long and very spicy

Comment : This has got some leftover casks for the 91 DE batch in it. PX finished. Bottling Lagavulin at full strength is a very clever idea!

Rating 88

Finally a couple of Ardbegs bottled in 2010

4. Ardbeg 1994 Cadenhead 16yo 55.6%

Nose : A lot of imminent immaturity on the nose, acid like. Not the best nose

Palate : lemon, peat, classic Ardbeg'ish, but the cask didn't have the strongest influence, seems younger than 16- After the nose that did put me off the nice peat-lemon combo is welcoming. The acidity is still here

Finish : Medium

Rating 78

5. Ardbeg 1994 Cadenhead 16yo 57.0%

Quite similar to the above

Nose: Slight acidic as well, but less than the above

Palate : More wood, texture and body, lemon again and a hotter immideate finish 

Finish : Medium-long with a hint of coconut

Rating 80

Comment : Mark from Cadenheads told me to get the Laphroaigs instead as he thought they were better. But I wasn't going to Laphroaigeddon. I should learn to listen to advice from wise people

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kornog, Glann ar Mor Distillery, France

Thanks to Steffen for inviting me on board. The wonderful and neverending world of whisky is a great place to share experiences and point of views and, first and foremost, enjoy a dram with new and old friends. Please take my reviews and ratings with a pinch of salt - they're just one man's personal opinion :-)
Now, let's get to it. Summer has arrived and Tour de France is underway. Recently the riders went through Brittany. Let us see what this area has to offer when it comes to whisky. Kornog is the peated version from Glann ar Mor Distillery, located on the northern coast of Brittany.
Kornog, Glann ar Mor Distillery, France, 46%:
Nose: Young and silky. Wine gums, grass and exotic fruits. Quite interesting and good.
Taste: Grass and exotic fruits such as mango and pineapple. Grape also comes out to dance. Although this one should be around 35 ppm the peat is at first delicate, then makes some twists and turns and remains in the warming finish. I like it!
This whisky is like a flat stage in Tour de France. Not too demanding but with interesting turns along the way including a nice finish for the sprinters.
Rating: 83

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Port Charlotte 9yo 63.4%

Port Charlotte 9yo 63.4%

Specially bottled for whisky friends Denmark
Fresh Sherry Hoghshead cask no. 895

Photo nicked from WI

This bottle was recently reviewed on Whisky Israel

We are a little slow from the danish side, well heck, Gal even reviewed one of my own bottles around a year before I did. I am just not that prolific 

Well here we go. 

Nose : Peat, dried fruit and sherry in a licorised combo. The peat is actually quite dominant!

Palate : Power, peat and licorise. Sherry casked whisky often comes out as either dried fruit or licorise to me. This is definetely licorise to me, with a little bit of fruit. I really like the palate of this. 2nd best peat/sherry combo I have tasted, Reminds a lot of cough mixture in a positive way!

Finish : medium 

Rating 93

Remark : Another great cask from Jørn. I am glad to be part of his next cask project! A Glengoyne sherry cask

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Springbank 12yo OB /2010

Springbank 12 yo OB /2010, 54.6%
Nose: Creamy and sweet. Whipped cream and a hint of smoke. Grass and some mojito (?). Also some ginger and chili in there.
Taste: Oily and sweet with vanilla and oak as the dominant forces - in a positive way that is. A powerful yet elegant whisky. Smiling Springbank all the way :-)
Rating: 89

Lars Knudsen

Lars Knudsen Joins Danish Whisky Blog

Me and Lars Knudsen in Limburg 2010, we had a few yes :-)

Please enjoy Lars' reviews, I personally like them a lot. Our taste in whisky is as different and similar as everyone else! Lars likes to use the 100 scale so there you go. Firs review up and coming soon!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All our ratings

Steffen :

Mortlach 50yo Juuls Anniversary Bottling 41.7% Gordon and MacPhail 95
Willet 25yo Rye Barrel #1372 46% 94
Benriach 1984 24yo 49.2% Pedro Ximenez sherry finish cask 1048 94
Port Charlotte 9yo 63.4% 93
Glenglassaugh 1967 40.4% 92
Pappy van Winkle 20yo 92
North British 1962 50yo Archives 45.3% 92
Glendronach 1993 cask 26 57.1% 92
Charbay LAWS edition 1 69.1% 91
Glenallachie 35yo 46.9%, The Single Malts of Scotland 91
Willet 13yo bourbon cask 3718 62% 91
Springbank 37yo Chieftains 46% 91
Old Grand-Dad Bib 1982 100 proof 91
Glenglassaugh TWE 1978 31yo 44.6% 91
Glenury Royal Gordon and MacPhail 1984-2010 43% 91
Lochside Gordon and MacPhail 1981-2005 43% 91
Amrut Fusion 50% 91
Rosebank 1989 12yo bottled by Signatory 43% 91
Karuizawa 1967 TWE cask 6426 58.4% 90
Glen Calder 1949 40% 90
Caol Ila 1982 Archives 30yo 51.2% 90
Tomintoul 1969 Archives 42.4% 1969 90
W.L. Weller Antique 107 single barrel for The Party Source 53.5% 90
Jefferson Presidential Select 18yo batch 27 47% 90
Imperial 1995 Archives 51.7% 16yo 90
William Larue Weller 66.75% 90
Caperdonich 1972 cask 1975 Gordon and MacPhail 57.0% 90
Springbank OB Private Bottling Barrel 261 10yo 59.9% 1999 90
High West Bourye 46% 90
Port Ellen 1979 28yo 53.6% Norse Cask 90
Rechlerich 1964 40yo 53.5% Norse Cask 90
Clynelish 1995 12yo 57.3% Norse Cask 90
Bunnahabhain 31yo Falster 2008 47.3% 90
Caperdonich 25yo 1980 cask 7339 AD Rattray 53.1% 90
Caol Ila 15yo Bladnoch Forum 58.8% 90
I. W. Harper 15yo 40% 90
Balmenach 1984 21yo 57.8% cask 3056 90
Tomatin 40yo 42.9% 90
Evan Williams 7yo 90 proof bottled 74 90
Caperdonich 1972  39yo 45.0% Whisky-Fässle 90
Littlemill 1989 22yo Archives 48.3% Archives 90
Strathmill 1974 37yo Archives 44.5% 89
Willet 25yo rye cask 1372 47% 89
Amrut Portonova 89
Bunnahabhain 1968 Whisky-Fässle 89
Bunnahabhain 1979 Flying no. 6 Pirate 46.3% 89
Bitter Truth Rye 24yo 69.2% 89
AH Hirsch Reserve 16yo 1974 45.8% 89
Kornog Saint Ivy 2012 59.9% 89
Bladnoch 8y 55% 89
Brora - Old Malt Cask cask 2294 50% 23yo Nov. 1982 89
Amrut Intermediate Sherry Matured 89
Bunnahabhain 36yo Duncan Taylor 40.7% 89
Balblair 20yo 53.7% Bladnoch Forum Bottling 89
Four Roses Single Barrel 16yo OBSV 54.7% 89
Longmorn 20yo 55.7% Whiskybroker 89
Glen Elgin 1984 25yo bottled by The Nectar of the Daily Drams 43.8% 89
Ardmore 1977 Scotts 57.5% 89
Highland Park 18yo 43% 89
Highland Park 12yo 40% 88
Cutty Sark 25yo 45.7% 88
Lagavulin "Available only at the distillery" bottled 2010 52.5% 88
Miltonduff Dun Bheagan 24yo 55% 88
Karuizawa 1973 cask 6249 56% 88
Isle of Jura SMWS 31.23 23yo 51.7% 88
Black Maple Hill 47.5% 88
Amrut 100 57.1% 88
Balmenach 32yo Flying Pigs 55.7% 88
Glen Grant 1975 Archives 46.6% 36yo 88
Glencadam 25yo 46% 1983 88
Caperdonich 27yo Cadenheads 1980 56.8% 88
Glenglassaugh 26yo 46% 88
Glenglassaugh 30yo 43% 88
Caperdonich 1972 cask 7435 Duncan Taylor 55.6% 34yo 88
Glen Grant 1965 40yo 52.5% Norse Cask 88
Royal Lochnagar 1977 29yo 50.4% Norse Cask 88
Glen Garioch 1988 Archives 54.0% 21yo 88
Glenrothes 1988 Archives 53.4% 23yo 88
Lagavulin DE 1980 43% 84
Highland Park 12yo (L0671F L11) 40% 84
Arran Westie 46% 83
Virginia Gentleman 90 proof 83
Rittenhouse 100 83
Laphroaig Quarter Cask 48% 83
Longrow 12yo Fresh Fino Sherry Butt 57.6% 83
Wiser's Small Batch 43.4% 83
Glenlivet 33yo Falster 2010 51.2% 83
Highland Park 2000 Archives 50.9% 11yo 83
W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7yo 45% 83
Amrut Herald 83
Mortlach 1991 17yo bottled by Adelphi 57.0% 83
Bruichladdich Black Art 1989 21yo Ed. 02.2 49.7% 83
Stauning Young Rye 49.3% 83
Strathmill 1974 31yo bottled by Mackillop's Choice 43.3% 83
Hankey Bannister 12yo 83
Bruichladdich Mòine Mhòr 3D 2nd Edition 50% 83
Old Pulteney 17yo 46% 83
SMWS 59.37 Teaninich Nov 83-Jun 08, 55.8% 24yo 83
Glen Flagler Pure Malt 40% 83
Dailuaine 27yo Whiskybroker 53.6% 83
Glen Scotia Archives 20yo 50.4% 83
Braunstein 13:1 46% 83
Stauning Rye/ second opinion 82
Auchroisk 20yo 58.1% 2009 82
Evan Williams 7yo 90 proof bottled 79 82
Glen Garioch 1990-2009 54.6% Batch no 34 82
Smooth Ambler Yearling 82
WhistlePig Rye 10yo 50% 82
Buffalo Trace 45% 82
Amrut Two Continents 46% 82
Old Pulteney 12yo 40% 82
Glen Keith Càrn Mòr 1990 19yo cask 13676 82
Jim Beam Rye 40% 82
Gibson Finest 12yo 40% 82
Glen Keith 33yo 1971 Lorne MacKillop D and M Aficionados Club 43% 82
Old Potrero 62.2% 81
Highland Park Thor 16yo 52.1% 81
Inverleven 26yo 53.7% DTC 81
Karuizawa 12yo 40% 81
Dailuaine 26yo 53.1% cask 4215 Bladnoch Forum 81
Suntory Pure Malt Whisky "Yamazaki" 12yo 43% 80
Ardbeg 1994 Cadenhead 16yo 57.0% 80
Stauning Peated 3yo 2nd Edition 55% 80
Octomore Futures 2002 80
Centennial W.L. Weller 10yo 50% 80
Glenburgie-Glenlivet 11yo Cadenheads 59.8% 80
Kirkland 7yo batch B-5183 51.5% 80
SMWS 2.61 16yo 1988 59.0% (Glenlivet) 80
Bowmore Tempest 80
Arran Sleeping Warrior 54.9% 79
Glenglassaugh Evolution 57.2% 79
Ledaig 2004 Archives 61.9% 7yo 79
Kintra "Bottled from the 3rd confidental cask" 7yo 51.6% 79
Pittyvaich 20yo 57.5% 2009 78
Ardbeg 1994 Cadenhead 16yo 55.6% 78
Stauning Traditional Edition 2 3yo 55% 77
Glenglassaugh Revival 46% 77
Braunstein 11.1, 46% 75
Stauning Rye First Impression 52.5% 73
Old Pulteney 1982 58.2% 71
Isle of Jura 1988 Archives 51.3% 24yo 70
Bruichladdich : Port Charlotte Cuairt Beatha PC6 61.6% 65
Whesskey, Hessicher Single Malt Whisky aus Rauchmalz 44% 63
Braunstein 10.2 46% 63
Braunstein e:2 62.3% 59
Mekong Whisky 55

Thomas :

Glen Grant 32yo 1976 OMC 50.0% 87
Royal Lochnagar 33yo 1973 Douglas Laing Platinum 57.2% 87

Lars :

Highland Park 25yo 48.1% 92
Highland Park 21yo 47.5% 91
Coleburn 21yo 1979/10.2000 Rare Malts, 59.4% 90
Coleburn 26yo 1983/2009, The Whisky Agency 49.5% 90
Highland Park 18yo 40% 90
Highland Park 30yo 48.1% 90
BenRiach Authenticus 25yo 46% 89
Springbank 12 yo OB /2010, 54.6% 89
Tormore 1994 Gordon and MacPhail Cask Strength 59.9% b. 2007 89
Amrut Herald 87
Mortlach FF 43% 87
Highland Park 12yo, 40% 87
Highland Park 15yo, 40% 87
BenRiach Horizons 12yo 50% 86
Amrut Portonova 86
Dalmore 17yo 1990, Duncan Taylor, 55.5% 86
Highland Park 37yo 1966 Duncan Taylor cask #4642 41.3% 85
Highland Park 40yo 1968 Duncan Taylor cask #3465 40.1% 85
BenRiach 15yo PX finish 46% 84
Kornog, Glann ar Mor Distillery, France, 46% 83
Mortlach 1991 Gordon and MacPhail for Vinens Verden 81
Amrut Two Continents 2nd Edition 50% 80
Ardbeg & Glenrothes Double Barrel, 9yo, Douglas Laing, 46% 79

Monday, July 4, 2011

Clynelish 12 yo Norse Cask

Clynelish 12yo Norse Cask 1995 57.3% 


Nose : Sweet dried fruit, spices, plum juice

Palate : Somewhat dry spicy edge to the sherry sweetness

Finish : long with a very spicy touch emerging after 10-15 seconds then vanilla. Great

Rating 90

Comment : Another nice pure heavily sherried whisky, with no sulphur flaws, and with an extended complexity making this just more than sherry but also Clynelish

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rating whisky, tasting notes and a Glen Garioch 1990

It's not easy to write tasting notes, and I am not very good at it

Apart from putting words on what you taste this is also about consistency. I am not very good at either. I might like a whisky one day and not the next. Really bad whisky and really good whisky tends to be consistent thou :-)

Good major sources on the internet for whisky ratings is Whiskyfun, Whiskynotes and Dramming to name just 3.  

I like whiskyfun for the fact it's easy to backtrack older ratings. I do like marking whiskies, as I am more interested if a whisky is good or not than actual tasting notes, thou both can be interesting.

I started of this site using the predominant 100 scale which I didn't feel comfortable with as, then moved onto the (0)1-5 scale, which I honestly don't feel to comfortable with either. It takes a bit to calibrate the scale so I have decided to go ½-points and will back edit the few ratings I allready done. It's easier to calibrate a scale to the whiskies you have tasted when the amount of logged whiskies is larger

Anyway, this is not to be taken too serious anyway, todays dram is

September 2011 : I have decided to go back to the 100 scale, just to confuse myself even more....

Glen Garioch 1990 -2009 54.6% Batch no 34

A mix of sherry and bourbon casked whiskies

Nose : A little milk acidity, dried fruits and peat
Palate : Strong and intense, the ABV isn't hidden so the impact is great. Sweet, peat and a little fruit and quite some wood
Finish : Medium-long and the sherry part do show

Comment : This is a whisky for the more expereinced drinker as the ABV comes through clear. It's nice with a whisky that's not drowned in water sometimes

Rating 82

Friday, July 1, 2011

Peat mania

This week (yesterday) Bruichladdich had this press release

With a bachelor in chemistry and being a whiskygeek I always find info releases like this very interesting. The fact that the phenol components is specified is something I would like to see and compare from a range of malts actually, but that's not the point of this blog post

I am pretty sure that the thing that everybody will remember and pay most attention to in Bruichladdich's press release, is the number 309ppm. Phenol content is measured im ppm. Parts per million. This is a scale used to describe very low content of a given substance

Peaty whiskies always had it's own cult followers, often named peatophiles or peatjunkies. The more peaty a whisky is  - the better. Traditionally the level of peatyness in a whisky was/is said to be highest in Ardbeg.

If you look around the internet or in whiskybooks, the peat levels of the traditional islay's might vary slightly, but as a general rule it was Ardbeg at no. 1 spot, with Laphroaig second at 40-45ppm and Caol Ila and Lagavulin third with 35ppm

The fact that peating barley isn't an accurate proces influences these numbers. Getting malt from Port Ellen maltings should give the distilleries a consistent product. Part of the malt Laphroaig uses are from their own fllor maltings and kilns, which is a harder component to control

Around 9-10 years ago Bruichladdich started the peat race introducing a batch of Octomore at 80ppm, later values in high 100's and this week the above mentioned 309ppm!!

An amateur digging peat on Islay

Ardbeg has (slightly thou) joined this race with their Supernova whiskies peated at 100ppm.

Now all this ppm mania has caused some discussion amongst whisky entusiasts over the years and a few points has to be noted. 

Different measurement methods will give different ppm values. This has caused some arguments about values being comparable. This set aside, another fact that's quite important is that the ppm value is given for the phenol content of the barley. 

Mr. Tattie Head, a regular whisky forum contributor pointed out :
And I will say once again that ppm's for malt are irrelevant. I'm not going to eat the malt.
As soon as the barley is milled, brewed and distilled things have changed. It's a fact that most of the phenols are in the husks of the barley and that the distilling proces do affect the final phenol content

In the new destillates, Laphroaig actually have the highest phenol content at 25ppm closely followed by  Ardbeg at 23-24ppm, Lagavulin at 16-18ppm and Caol Ila at 13-14ppm - according to Jefford's Peat, Smoke and Spirit

It doesnt stop here. When a malt whisky is maturing the phenol's are somehow broken down. Older whisky has a lower ppm content than younger whisky given the same start point

So the ppm value of a whisky really doesnt describe the "peatyness" of a whisky. The taste expereince might not correspond to the numbers given.

Another fact that has to be concerned is that different types of phenols has different flavours. So two malts with same ppm will taste different. The source of the peat itself is important and the kilning proces as well. In the world of whisky this is mainly noted in the fact that Islay peat flavours the whisky different than Speyside peat or Orkney peat will do. Even peat from different parts of Islay affects the barley with different flavours.

So how "peaty" a whisky tastes is something, and the ppm value given on the label is something different. There's a lot of additional factors as I just described. Age, cask, distillation and origin of peat namely.

So tassting the end product is the only way to tell how peaty a whisky really is!

But why this fascination with ppm values ?.

I am sure everybody remember's the first time they tasted a heavily peated malt whisky. With horror, fascination or total subjugation!

This first-time peat shock surprise is something that's hard to repeat. With time and experience you get used to  the taste of peated whisky. I even sometimes have the feeling I am immune to peat. I yearn for the peat shock experiences of my early whisky years. It just doesn't happen like that anymore.. (and I haven't even mentioned that some products have changed to a more light version over the years, thats another story)

I have to admit that neither the Octomores I have tasted nor the Ardbeg Supernovas has given me the same peat shock expereince as the first time I tasted a Laphroaig 10yo 15-20 years ago

The only thing that has come close was when I had a dram of Edradour Ballechin Burgundy finished a couple of years ago. This is described as 55ppm, so number-wise it can't compete with the Octomores or the Supernovas.

I do find that peat needs something to work against. Tasting contrasts do work for me. Peat in a heavily sherried whisky might be disguised, but if you catch the contrast, the same whisky can give you quite a decent peat shock expereince

So it's also a lot about what happens in your head as well as what's in the glass..