If you like peat then here are the Top 5 Peated Whiskies You Need to Try Now. They are packed with the earthy substance that is intrinsic to life in Scotland and to the Whisky making process, especially on the isle of Islay.
But, as this list reflects, there are other places to get you peat fix, and we explore some of them right here.
- Lagavulin 21 Year Old
Based on the legendary isle of Islay, Lagavulin creates some of the best peated Scotch around. Their 21 Year Old is smooth and sophisticated, with lots of peat flavour. The smoke on the nose is oily and rich, with a creamy texture to it. It is joined by sweet and spicy notes to give it a well-rounded base. There are crisp apples and pears to add a nice bite to the nose. These are refreshing on the palate, and come with a delicate dusting of cinnamon to warm them up. Of course, this is all alongside the thick, pungent peat smoke that certainly adds a bit of heat. The oak wood of the barrels also peaks through the smoke and adds a slightly vanilla note to the dram. The spices and vanilla sweetness continue into the finish, which is long and lingers on peat smoke.
Talisker is well known for its peated qualities and gives the Islay malts a run for their money. This particular dram is filled with smoke. It is like standing on the wrong side of a bonfire that has just gone out, but with caramel and apples being thrown at you at the same time. The sweetness and smoke introduce themselves on the nose, which is packed with flavour. The smoke is thick and soft, wafting carefull through the aromas of apples, oranges and dried fruits that also appear. On the palate these are wrapped up in an oak barrel that has gone soft at the edges. The oak wood becomes slightly smoother as the palate deepens, with some vanilla and caramel coming through. This is all sprinkled over with a warming peppery spice that lasts through to the finish.
Highland Park, also on an island, but classed as a Highland malt, is famous for its bold flavours. The 21 Year Old is an example of just how bold their smoke profile can be. Like the Talisker, it is filled with smoke and rounded off with wonderfully sweet flavours throughout. The nose opens with candyfloss and burnt white sugar, giving it a nice heat. Oranges and lemons give it a tasty tang that is complemented by the dullness of the peat. On the palate the sweet notes tie in with some oak flavours that become more honeyed as they develop. Again, this goes hand in hand with the thick smoke. The honey makes this expression incredibly smooth and easy going. The oak also has slightly spicy notes to it, with some cinnamon showing itself towards the end. The finish is warm and packed with smoke.
Compass Box The Peat Monster is an expression that lives up to its name. it is brimming with peat smoke, which comes through on first sniff. The peat is bursting from this dram and goes hand in hand with the briny, seaside notes that also appear. There is a distinctly salted quality to this dram that makes rigged shores and crashing waves come to mind. The palate develops this alongside sweeter flavours of oranges and apple blossom. A contrasting flavour of thick cut ham, soaked in brine also makes an appearance but goes perfectly with the sweet fruits, especially the orange and apple. The finish has a slightly floral and herbal note to it, with some heather and thyme coming through. Ultimately however, the finish ends with a blast of peat that will keep you warm for days.
This is perhaps the most intensely peated Whisky ever made. You can almost taste the ground it came from. And underneath all this peat is a deliciously smooth and creamy dram. This is a complex and rich expression that is not for the weak hearted. The peat hits you on the nose and never backs down. Behind the smoke appears caramel and black treacle, giving it density and a smooth mouth feel when it reaches the palate. The caramel goes hand in hand with the creamy, buttery flavours that also appear. These are dripped carefully over citrus fruits such as clementines and oranges. The finish is an intense peaty kick that will make you think you lit a bonfire in your mouth.