I'm not very good at tasting and talking about whisky. I describe
whisky as good or bad, not with hints of leather and apricot.
However, I have a question, what is the difference between smoke and
peat, or are they the same flavor.
In article ,
I have several peaty but not very smoky malts around at the moment: the
Compass Box Peat Monster, the Isle of Jura Superstition, and a peated
BenRiach. I quite like all three, though nothing compares with Laphroaig
for a big dose of both.
The only thing that comes to mind that has smoke without much peat is a
decent, non-pricey blend called Ailsa Craig.
As for the latter, the (old?) Highland Park 18 is/was a very good
example. Its smoke was reminiscent of campfires, of burnt twigs, and so
forth. Another I use as an exemplar are some table strength Caol Ila
bottlings, which, despite the malt having been dried over peat, bear the
For the former? The old-ish 1991 8 y.o. "White" Ardbeg (Signatory, clear
as new make) contained many notes that fans would label as peat (wince-
inducing in the uninitiated), but for which the smoke (as we're used to
it -- house fires, campfires, brush fires, etc.) is entirely absent.
I can try to put together a tasting panel of a couple of fifties for you
-- I'm not sure if the fill levels of the bottles I've cited, all of
which I had only one bottle. But it might be instructive....
Always your servant,
On 2008-04-06, Joshua McGee (aka Bruce)
was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea:
So is the peat (I've never met Peat before) the medicinal flavour of
the last Laphroaig I had? Medicinal is the iodine flavour, so I
suspect that is something different yet again?
Yes, different again. I used to have a better descriptor that involved
"peat moss" from your local garden center. But due to depletion of peat
beds worldwide, the "peat moss", which was never moss to begin with, is
now no longer peat either.
Peat is compacted layers of ancient scrabbly vegetation. The stuff on
the bottom is more compact, more composted, denser, and darker. The
stuff on the top is lighter and greener. But when burned, or when (and
this happens less frequently than marketers would have you believe)
bottles are diluted with "brown water" that has found its way through
peat beds, you are left with a pungent, almost sour note that is a lot
harder to describe than handing someone a Port Ellen and saying, "Here,
Make it down to Southern California and I'll be able to do just that.
I would concur with that, and do not know why I omitted it. Yes, the
entry-level OB Talisker is a nice study in non-peat smoke.
The OB Ben Nevis 10 year old @ 46% (bravo!) for the U.S. market is also
*delightfully* old-fashioned and smokey, but it is not an island malt,
let along an Islay. It is simply a robust, old-fashioned Highlander, and
well worth tracking down. Dirt cheap, too, if you've got a Trader Joe's
around. Keep waiting, and it will show up, eventually.
You have never met Peat? I know him well and his sister Heather
Sorry bout the cringgr
Yes Talisker is a good example of smoke which overpowers the peat. But
the peat is there if you really look for it. Peat monsters like Caol
Ila and Ardbeg are so peated, you taste the smoke less. Then Andrew
Symingtons new double peated Benriach is very peaty. I tasted it at
Whisky Live, but didnt really take to it. I tasted it again two weeks
ago during my whisky tour at Edradour. Its just peat for peat's sake.
No pun intended.