How is peated whiskey made?
During the malting process, barley is lightly sprouted. But this has to be stopped halfway, which is done by applying heat. The fuel used for roasting is usually peat, which burns like coal and is abundant throughout Scotland. The smoke from the searing peat imparts a distinct flavor to the barley that ends up in the final liquid, much to the delight of most peat scotch lovers (and to the chagrin of a few). The smokiness of whiskey is measured in ppm (phenol parts per million). Phenol is the chemical that gives whiskey its characteristic smoky notes.
Continue the journey into peated whiskeys with this list of deliciously smoked drams:
1. Lagavulin 16 years old
This quintessential Islay malt is a great place to start the peat odyssey. Expect lots of ashy smoke (35 ppm) and salty sea air, some seaweed and iodine. But that’s not all. There’s just a hint of fruity sweetness, vanilla, and burnt caramel, with a healthy hint of oak for balance. The intensely flavored cheeses perfectly complement the deep, peaty, sweet and salty character of this Lagavulin.
2. Amrut Fusion Single Malt
This whiskey has won awards since its first appearance in 2009. Amrut Fusion takes its name from the fact that it uses two barley: Indian and Scottish, the latter being peated for good measure. Robust and smoky with a real touch of fresh fruit and black pepper, this whiskey lingers in the mouth well beyond each sip. Give it a try.