Blended malts (a combination of malt whiskies, as opposed to ordinary blends, which are composed of both malt and grain whiskies) are doing two things rather well at the moment. First is that they’re becoming a great bridge for whisky drinkers who have tried one or two standard blends and are looking for a stepping stone into the wider world of whisky. Secondly is that they’re offering single malt whisky fans seriously tasty treats for the prices of single malts from five years ago. Which is to say, before many distilleries started taking the p*ss.
That brings me to the Angel’s Nectar range. The name is inspired by the Angels’ Share – the evaporation of spirit during the maturation process, the whisky lost to the heavens over time. I’ve tried the standard Angel’s Nectar blend before, and found it to be a pleasant whisky. As the name suggests, Angels’ Nectar Rich Peat Edition is a smokier variant, made with a selection of heavily peated Highland malts. It’s bottled at a healthy 46% ABV, and costs at just over £40.
Angels’ Nectar Rich Peat Edition
Colour: exceptionally pale. White wine.
On the nose: gorgeous. Creamy, luscious sweet peat. Quite coastal, with touches of hay barns. Mossy. Turf. It’s very nice indeed, though not especially complex. Does it always have to be?
In the mouth: all of the nose comes through perfectly. The peat isn’t as sweet as the nose can sometimes promise – I find it rarely is. But it’s creamy and coastal – salt water, a spark of citrus. Very gentle. That briny quality trickles into something very straw-like. Malted barley. Drinking chocolate. Lovely texture – and rather mouth-watering. The grassy, peated and youthful malty and yeasty qualities come together very well indeed.
Not complex, and not very old, but it’s tasty stuff. I think this must be young whisky – the paleness suggests so, though I suppose this could be a well-used cask. It makes sense to use younger spirit if you wanted more of a bruiser of a peated whisky, since any smokiness would mellow and reduce with age. Anyway, it’s quality spirit. It reminds me of the Smokehead blends, which are very well received. I wasn’t expecting this to be quite so moreish either… Amazing how a good blend can surprise.
If you’re a peat fan, then this will be a fun little addition to your shelf. But my only minor quibble with it is that the price feels just a few pounds too high. It’s just over £40, whereas if it was, say, £35 then it would have been a good competitor for the Douglas Laing Rock Oyster blended malt whisky, which is also very good.
In short: tasty, surprising, but let’s hope blended malts don’t get carried away with the pricing.