Ever wonder how the whole peat thing works? So did Scotchwhisky.com’s The Whisky Virgin, who took the trouble to ask. As he discovered, the peat used to dry malt can make a whiskey smell and taste like antiseptic, kelp or bacon partly because it comes from different places, where it’s taken millennia to turn from organic matter into compressed dirt.
“That means the stuff from up a hill in the Highlands might be made of grass and heather and lost hikers and stuff,” The Whisky Virgin says. “But the same gear from an island like Islay—where they make a lot of smoky whisky—will have seaweed and ocean-y minerals in it.”
The peatiest whiskey? Word is it’s the Octomore Masterclass 08.3, a five-year-old single malt from Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery. Sadly, that smoke show is sold out.