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Densely compressed and long-decayed vegetation, peat has a long history as a common fuel source in rural and remote parts of Scotland. It is also vital and used to dry barley during the malting process, imparting its signature medicinal aromas and tastes to Scotch whisky.
Embodying a whole spectrum of flavours, peated whisky has enjoyed an enduring popularity throughout the ages. Today, some of the most renowned whiskies are rich in peat. Distilleries across Scotland, and throughout the world, have honed techniques over generations to distil whiskies with full-bodied flavours.
After a single dram, peated whisky can invigorate your palate with a rich, smoky, herbal, creamy, nutty and even citrus flavour. The potency of the flavour is entirely dependent on the length of time that the malt is peated for (otherwise known as the PPM) and the length of time that the peat is left to mature.
Granted the rich, medicinal flavour invoked from every single sip is not quite to everyone’s taste, however, once whisky connoisseurs get a taste for peated whisky, it’s difficult for many to resist.
Whiskies produced in Islay tend to be rich in peat. Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Bowmore and Caol Ila are celebrated as some of the most accomplished peated whiskies. Venture to other parts of Scotland and you’ll discover Highland Park, Springbank and Longrow, each of which features a rich peat content – and international acclaim for their uniquely enticing flavour.