Peated whisky’s magical smoke trail
Whisky, a drink of great variety. Single malt VS Blended whisky, or do you prefer the smoky flavour of peated whisky? Each whisky has its own unique character, but what do you know about this smoky whisky? In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know about peated whisky.
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What is peated whisky? A question you may be asking yourself right now. Peated whisky is a type of whisky where the barley is dried using peat smoke during the production process. Peat is a combustible material found in certain areas, such as Scotland and Ireland. Large parts of Scotland are covered in peat and people have used it as fuel for centuries. This whisky has a distinctive smoky flavour due to its unique production process and has become increasingly popular in recent years. As a whisky lover, you have probably come across peated whiskies. These whiskies are a must have on the shelves of your liquor store! Which one do you prefer?
Want to know what other whiskies are out there? Read our blog on the difference between single malt and blended whisky.
How do we find out how much peat is in a whisky?
Now that you know what peated whisky is, how do you measure the peat content? Or is it the same for all peated whiskies? No, definitely not! The intensity of the smokiness can vary depending on the type of peat, the length of time the barley is exposed to the smoke and the method of production. The peat content of a whisky is measured on a scale of phenol parts per million (ppm). PPM stands for the concentration of phenols, a group of organic compounds responsible for the smoky and peaty flavours in whisky.
PPM levels are quite high in dried, peated malt before it is distilled. During the malting process, the phenols in the peat smoke are absorbed by the barley grains. The concentration of these phenols in the barley ultimately determines the peatiness of the whisky.
The scale usually ranges from around 0 PPM (non-peated whiskies) to over 200 PPM (heavily peated whiskies), with most whiskies falling into the following styles: lightly peated, meaning 15 ppm and below; mildly peated, averaging 20 ppm; and heavily peated, meaning 30 ppm and above. Octomore’s peated whisky ranges from 130 to 309 ppm. This makes it the peatiest whisky ever.
As with other whiskies, the production of peated whisky begins with the malting of barley. Normally, after the barley has been dried, hot air is used. However, in the production of peated whisky, the malted barley is dried using smoke from burning peat. As this mixes with the barley grains, it creates the characteristic smoky flavour.
The barley is then milled, mixed with hot water and fermented to produce alcohol. Finally, the distillation process is carried out to separate and refine the alcohol. Curious about what barrels do to the production process? Read more about the art of barrel aging!
There are many ways to drink peated whisky. Do you like your whisky on the rocks or do you prefer to mix it into a delicious cocktail? With its unique smoky flavour, this whisky really brings your cocktail to life. How do you mix it to perfection? It’s a great accompaniment to rich, savoury dishes such as roast meat or cheese. Are you curious about some delicious cocktail recipes? Check out our blog on whisky cocktails: 5 recipes to suit every palate.
The main ingredient of peated whisky is of course peat, a vegetable material found in certain regions. You can find it especially in watery Scotland. It is therefore not surprising that the world’s most famous peated whiskies come from Scotland.
As well as regions such as the Highlands and Speyside, Islay on the west coast of Scotland is particularly associated with peated whisky. Distilleries here include Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Kilchoman is also known for its peatiness, but of course only one brand can take the crown. Then, of course, we are talking about Octomore.
We would like to invite you to check out our range full of peated whiskies and find out for yourself which is your favourite for your shop’s shelves. Whether it’s Bowmore, Talisker or Caol Ila, we will always do our utmost to offer the widest possible range. We have over 2,000 brands in stock at any time, including over 100 malt brands, over 80 blend brands and over 20 bourbon whiskies.
You can view all this in real time, 24/7, on our Sales Portal. You will need to create an account to access it. A nice touch? We regularly have unique offers for our portal users. So, are you looking for peated whisky at wholesale prices? Then don’t hesitate and buy peated whisky directly online!