9 Super-Smoky Peated Whiskies With Attitude


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Once you get into whisky, it’s only a matter of time before someone suggests you try a peated variety. Peated whisky has a polarising flavour most associated with Scotch, particularly on the Island of Islay, but it’s made worldwide.

The best peated whiskies are rich, smoky, vibrant, and perhaps not for faint-hearted whisky beginners. However, if you dare to experience the flavours of tyre rubber, medicine and bacon in your whisky, you may never turn back to non-peated again.

9 Best Peated Whiskies

I’ve selected 9 of the best peated whiskies, from all-out peat bombs to the subtle smoky peat variety and everything in between.

1. Peathia Belgian Peated Single Malt

Peathia Belgian Peated Single Malt
Credit: Bruges Whisky Company

Overview

  • Distiller: Bruges Whisky Company
  • ABV: 66.2% (132.4 proof)
  • Country: Belgium
  • Colour: Golden

Review

The Bruges Whisky Company was established in 2019 by then 24-year-old master distiller Thibaut De Meyer, and his father, Peter (who Ingrid and myself met on our recent visit to Bruges).

Our quick visit to the Bruges Whisky Company turned into a 2 hour shared love affair of all things whisky. Peter was kind enough to let us sample 5 stunning whiskies, and Peathia Belgian Peated Single Malt could not be missed from this list.

This peated malt whisky is made just outside Bruges in a separate distillery with all new equipment to ensure the peated flavours and aromas are not tarnished with their other whisky production.

Their initial 342 bottles made during the first run sold out in a matter of minutes. Don’t worry; they are taking orders for future runs.

On The Nose

Rich aromas of smoky peat and dried fruits with a touch of vanilla and charred oak.

On The Palate

A rich smoky peated opening with contrasting semi-sweet dark dried fruits, vanilla, and hints of sour gummy bears mid-palate. The finish brings lingering smoke, mild spices and a subtly earthiness. Wow!

Best Served

I recommend Peathia Belgian Peated Single Malt is enjoyed neat with a tiny splash of water to open up the smooth smokiness. It would also make a flavoursome Old Fashioned.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Ardbeg 10-Year-Old Whisky

Ardbeg 10-Year-Old Whisky
Credit: Ardberg

Overview

  • Distiller: Ardbeg
  • ABV: 46% (92 proof)
  • Country: United Kingdom (Scotland)
  • Colour: Pale Golden

Review

Ardbeg 10-Year-Old whisky is created in the inhospitable climate of Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland with an abundance of midges, ticks, and treacherous peat bogs.

This particular whisky is an Islay single malt, distilled from malted barley over peat fires, aged for 10 years, and bottled without chill filtration. Ardbeg has garnered awards from World Whisky of the Year to World’s Best Single Malt.

On The Nose

Smoky citrus, menthol, tar, bacon, and charred pineapple with a distinct salty note.

On the Palate

A zesty lemon and lime opening with sweet vanilla marshmallow, black pepper, charcoal smoke and cinnamon. The finish is a long, tarry, salty, smoky affair with a touch of liquorice.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Connemara Original Single Malt Whiskey

Connemara Original Single Malt Whiskey
Credit: Connemara

Overview

  • Distiller: Kilbeggan
  • ABV: 40% (80 proof)
  • Country: Ireland
  • Colour: Golden amber

Review

With the name Connemara, you’d be forgiven for assuming that they distil this whiskey in the west of Ireland. It’s actually produced at Kilbeggan Distillery in County Westmeath in central Ireland. Almost uniquely for an Irish whiskey, it is peated and is the only peated single malt from this country.

Connemara Original Single Malt is a peated single malt produced from malted barley dried over peat fires and distilled in a pot still before being aged for a minimum of 8 years.

On The Nose

Intense peat aromas mingle with sweet barley, baked apple and a light smokiness.

On The Palate

Light and sweet initially as any Irish whiskey, with nutty barley malt notes, honey, vanilla oak, and a touch of vegetal iodine peatiness. Lingering honey, black pepper, and smoke on the finish.

Best Served

Connemara Original Single Malt Whiskey is best served neat at room temperature. I prefer a couple of ice cubes and a splash of water to release more of the peaty aromas.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Kilchoman Sanaig Whisky

Kilchoman Sanaig Whisky
Credit: Kilchoman

Overview

  • Distiller: Kilchoman
  • ABV: 46% (92 proof)
  • Country: United Kingdom (Scotland)
  • Colour: Golden

Review

Anthony Wills founded Kilchoman Distillery on the northwest shore of Islay in 2005. The distillery has remained a family-run, farm-to-bottle operation, sourcing its malt from locally-grown barley or Port Ellen. They named this particular whisky for a rocky inlet near the distillery.

Kilchoman Sanaig Whisky is an Islay single malt distilled from peated barley malt and aged for an unspecified length in ex-bourbon and sherry casks. Kilchoman bottles it without chill filtration and zero colouring.

On The Nose

Sherry-stewed fruit, caramel, and vanilla mix with tarry, earthy peat on the nose, with a hint of coffee.

On The Palate

Smoky vegetal peat contrasts with the palate’s stone fruit, citrus, and dark chocolate notes. The finish is long and spicy (almost like an American rye whiskey), with fruity sweet notes and oodles of peat smoke.

Best Served

Enjoy Kilchoman Sanaig Whisky neat on the rocks or in a Manhatten or Whisky Sour cocktail.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Dunville’s Peated Three Crowns Whiskey

Dunville’s Peated Three Crowns Whiskey
Credit: Dunvilles

Overview

  • Distiller: Echlinville
  • ABV: 43.5% (87 proof)
  • Country: United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)
  • Colour: Amber

Review

Dunville’s was established in 1808 when all of Ireland was still under British rule and became renowned as one of the best Irish whiskeys. 

The company and its whiskey flourished until a family tragedy ended production in the 1930s, after which a hiatus of nearly 80 years followed. In 2012, this noble Belfast distillery was revived with a range of fantastic Irish whiskeys. 

Dunville’s Peated Three Crowns is a blended Irish whiskey from peated malt and grain whiskeys aged in ex-Islay barrels.

On The Nose

Soft seaweed, barley and salt mingle with peach and vanilla aromas.

On The Plate

Plum, peach, and mocha show in the opening, with smooth peat smoke and salted toffee mid-palate. The finish reveals sweet sherry notes with lingering smokiness.

Best Served

My recommendation for Dunville’s Peated Three Crowns Whiskey is to keep it simple; ‘serve it neat to enjoy the peat’. Can I claim that slogan?

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Smokehead High Voltage Whisky

Smokehead High Voltage Whisky
Credit: Smokehead

Overview

  • Distiller: Ian Macleod
  • ABV: 58% (116 proof)
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Colour: Amber Gold

Review

Much about Smokehead High Voltage is a mystery, from which distillery it was distilled to how long it was aged. I know it’s an Islay single malt from one of the Ian Macleod distilleries.

This whisky is an Islay single malt distilled from peated barley malt and aged for an unspecified period. It’s intensely peaty, almost an assault on the senses if you don’t brace yourself. 

On The Nose

Rich and intense aromas of smoky peat, bacon rind, and salt mingle with charred wood and black pepper.

On The Palate

Dark tar smoke, seaweed, barley notes, salted chocolate with hints of brown sugar. A semi-sweet finish with lingering salty smoke and creamy biscuit crumbs.

Best Served

Enjoy Smokehead High Voltage Whisky neat with ice and a splash of water for the perfect serve. Or try it in a Smoky Shandy cocktail.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

7. Amrut Single Malt Peated Cask Strength

Amrut Single Malt Peated Cask Strength
Credit: Amrut

Overview

  • Distiller: Amrut
  • ABV: 62.8% (125.6 proof)
  • Country: India
  • Colour: Amber

Review

When you think of whisky-producing nations, you probably don’t think of India. But thanks to the British colonial legacy, Amrut Distilleries has produced this spirit since its beginnings in 1948. 

Under successive generations of the Jagdale family, Amrut has grown from a Mysore-based operation to a multinational brand producing superb whisky.

This excellent whisky is an Indian Single Malt, distilled from peated barley malt and aged in oak barrels. Well worth adding a bottle to your drinks collection. Also, consider looking into Japanese whiskies.

On The Nose

Dark orchard fruits and malt show on the nose, with an earthy and smoky sweet peatiness.

On The Palate

Rich smoke, oak, spiced vanilla on the palate, with distinct earthy, charcoal peat. The finish has lingering liquorice and molasses and a hint of soil.

Best Served

Enjoy Amrut Single Malt Peated Cask Strength on the rocks with a tiny splash of water to open up more of the peated smokiness.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

8. Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch Whisky

Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch Whisky
Credit: Laphroaig

Overview

  • Distiller: Laphroaig
  • ABV: 55.3% (110.6 proof)
  • Country: United Kingdom (Scotland)
  • Colour: Golden

Review

In 1815, brothers Donald and Alexander Johnston leased land in southern Islay for rearing cattle. They soon diverted to whisky making with the soft water of the nearby Kilbride Stream. Laphroaig distillery was visited by HRH Prince Charles, who gave the distillery a Royal Warrant.

This whisky is an Islay single malt, distilled from cold-smoked and peated barley malt, aged for 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels, and bottled at cask strength, which varies from batch to batch.

On The Nose

The nose shows huge peat smoke, seaweed, and medicinal notes with a touch of sweetness.

On the Palate

The full-bodied palate displays peat smoke, seaweed, tar, and a hint of liquorice, leading to a smoky vegetal finish with lingering seaweed and salt.

Best Served

The best serve for Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch Whisky is either neat or in a striking smoky/medicinal Old Fashioned.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

9. Benriach The Smoky Twelve Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Benriach The Smoky Twelve Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Credit: Benriach

Overview

  • Distiller: United Kingdom
  • ABV: 46% (92 proof)
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Colour: Gold

Review

Benriach distillery began in 1898 when John Duff sited it on the old Riach Farm in Speyside and began producing whisky with the mineral-rich water of the aquifer beneath. This distillery produces unpeated, triple-distilled, and peated Highland whiskies and ages them in various casks.

This whisky is a peated Speyside single malt, made from peated and unpeated spirit and matured for at least 12 years in a mix of bourbon barrels, sherry casks, and Marsala wine casks before being recombined.

On The Nose

Burnt orange peel, dried fruit, vanilla, toasted almonds, and subtle smokiness reveal themselves on the nose.

On The Palate

Dried fruit, smoked oak, and dark chocolate mingle with cooking spices, leading to a rich smoky, nutty orange finish with lingering malt.

Best Served

Benriach The Smoky Twelve is incredibly versatile; enjoy it on the rocks with a splash of water, and even drink it long with ginger beer for an added feisty kick.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

Seperator

Andrew’s Top Pick

best peated whisky

Peathia Belgian Peated Single Malt

My top pick for best peated whisky has to be Peathia Belgian Peated Single Malt. Lots of smoke, earthiness, sweet, rich dried fruits and a nice touch of sourness and spice.

This Belgian peated whisky is a no-brainer must-try.

Peated Whisky Q&A

Andrew whisky tasting in Bruges
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Bruges Whisky Company

What Is Peat

Peat is decayed organic matter (moss and vegetation) that has been compressed for thousands of years in peat bogs. Humans have harvested this dense material to burn as fuel for millennia, usually due to the lack of trees in places such as Scotland.

What Is Peated Whisky?

Peated whisky is made in the same way as regular whisky, yet the unmistakable peaty flavours impart into the whisky when the barley malt is dried over smoky peat fires.

How Is Peated Whisky Made?

During the malting process, peat is placed in the fire used to dry the sprouted barley. This peat-heavy smoke instils rich, smoky, almost medicinal peaty aromas and flavours into the barley that is then used to make whisky.

What Does Peated Whisky Taste Like?

Peated whisky has a rich smoky flavour profile, including liquorice, bbq, petrol, soil, iodine, seaweed, medicine, bacon, and even tyre rubber.

Conclusion

Peated Whisky

If you have never sampled a peated whisky before, you don’t have to start with the peat monsters while still getting used to the unique smokey/earthy, sometimes medicinal peat flavours.

You can begin with one of the gentler whiskies on this list, such as Dunville’s Peated Three Crowns Whiskey. You can then start appreciating the distinctiveness of peat to then build up to Smokehead High Voltage Whisky or Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch Whisky.

Thirsty for more whisky? Check out my articles on 7 Glenfiddich Single Malts and 7 Popular Johnnie Walker whiskies to see how far down the rabbit hole goes.

Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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