What is Peated Whisky? Answered (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Do you like smoky whiskies? If so, then you’ll love peated whisky. 

But what is peated whisky, and why does it have an interesting smoky flavor? If you’re looking for a new type of whisky to try, be sure to check out some peated varieties.

Peated Whisky: What Is It, Really?

Peated Whisky

Peated whisky is a type of whisky that has been infused with the smoke of peat moss. This gives the whisky a distinctive smoky flavor that is often compared to a campfire taste. 

Peated whisky is popular among scotch enthusiasts, and many connoisseurs believe it provides a more complex and flavorful tasting experience than non-peated whiskies. 

While the intense smokiness of peated whiskies can be off-putting to some drinkers, others find it an irresistible and intriguing flavor. 

If you’re looking for something new to try in the world of whisky, then a peated scotch may be the perfect drink.

Interesting Facts 

Interesting Facts 

History & Origin

The use of peat smoke to flavor whisky dates back to the early days of distillation in Scotland. Peat was traditionally used as fuel for drying malt before it was mashed and fermented. 

This imparted a smoky flavor to the malt, which was then carried over into the final product. 

Nowadays, peat-smoked malt is used primarily for producing peated whiskies. The amount of peat smoke flavor can vary widely, depending on the length of time the malt is smoked and the type of peat used.

How It’s Made

Peated Whisky Production Process

Peated whisky is made by malting the barley over a peat fire. This process imparts a unique smoky flavor to the whisky. Peat is a type of decomposing plant matter that is found in boggy areas. 

In Scotland, peat is harvested and used as fuel for fires. When the barley is exposed to the smoke from the peat fire, it absorbs the smoky flavor. 

The exact flavors imparted by the peat will vary depending on the type of peat used and how long the barley is exposed to the smoke. 

Peated whisky is often said to have a “medicinal” or “band-aid” like flavor. Some people love this flavor, while others find it off-putting. They are typically frowned upon by non-scotch drinkers, but they can be quite enjoyable for those who enjoy a smoky flavor profile.

Peated whiskies are often categorized by their “phenol level.” This is a measure of how much phenol has been absorbed by the barley. The phenol level can range from 0 (no smoke flavor) to over 50 ppm (very smoky).  

What Peated Whisky Tastes Like

Some people love the smoky, earthy flavor, while others find it too strong and overwhelming. 

We think that peated whisky is like a fine cigar: it should be savored and enjoyed slowly. The flavor can be powerful, but it can also be incredibly complex and nuanced. Done right, peated whisky is a real treat for the senses.

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when tasting peated whisky.

First of all, make sure that you give it a good swirl before taking a sip. This will help to release some of the flavors and aromas. 

Secondly, don’t be afraid to let the whisky sit in your mouth for a bit before swallowing. This will give you a chance to savor the flavor and enjoy all of the different layers. 

Finally, don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the aftertaste. Peated whisky can have a long and lingering finish, so make sure you savor it all the way through.

What’s A Peat? 


Peat is potentially young coal. It is a decomposed plant matter compressed in the ground for hundreds, even thousands, of years. 

According to the Scottish National Heritage, peat comprises around 23 percent of Scotland, especially in the Islands and the Highlands. 

You can also find peat throughout northern England, Ireland, some parts of Russia, and the United States. [1

Why Some Distilleries Stopped Using Peat 

Some distilleries stopped using peat when they saw the potential of un-peated whisky. The Speyside and the Lowlands were the first to do this. 

Another problem with using peat is that peatlands hold and absorb a huge amount of carbon. 

Peatlands also play an important role in mitigating floods and filtering water.

Read: The Best Whiskey To Drink Straight

3 Peated Whiskies You Need To Try 

3 Peated Whiskies You Need To Try 

3. Amrut Peated Whisky

Amrut Peated Whisky

Amrut peated whisky is an Indian single malt whisky coined as the first single malt whisky to be made in India. It is manufactured by Amrut Distilleries and launched in 2004 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The brand name Amrut is a Sanskrit word that translates as “nectar of the gods.” It became popular when whisky expert Jim Murray gave it a rating of 82 in 2005 and 2010. He also names the Amrut Fusion the world’s third best single malt whisky. [2]

At 46% ABV, Amrut is currently priced at roughly $80 on Drizly.

Read: Laphroaig vs Ardbeg Whiskies

2. The Glenlivet Nadurra Peated Whisky Cask

The Glenlivet Nadurra Peated Whisky Cask

The Glenlivet Nadurra Peated Whisky is a contemporary expression inspired by the historical traditions of The Glenlivet production process. 

The distinctive flavor profile actually comes from the maturation of the whisky instead of the malting process. The matured liquid is finished in whisky casks that have formerly held heavily peated whisky. 

At 61.5% ABV, Nadurra is priced at around $92 on Drizly.

1. Teeling Blackpitts Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Teeling Blackpitts Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Teeling Blackpitts Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey is an unconventional Irish whiskey that boasts a distinctive taste – thanks to its triple distillation and maturation inside ex-Sauternes french wine and ex-bourbon casks. 

The unique combination of this age-old process produces an exceptional flavor profile for Blackpitts. 

At 46% ABV, Teeling Blackpitts is priced at roughly $84 on Drizly.


What does a “Peat” do to whiskies? 

In whisky production, peat is used in smoke malting barley. This is to ensure that the phenols in the smoke are properly infused into the whisky spirit at the end of the production process. But what’s good to mix with whiskey?

Are all Scotch whiskies peated?

No. One common misconception is that all Scotch whisky is peated. While peat is used as a fuel source in whisky production, the grains can still be dried without using peat. Some alternatives include air-drying and using different types of wood.  

In Conclusion 

Peated whisky is characterized by a smoky flavor profile from the compounds released by peat fires when drying barley.

The intensity of the favor is based on the strength and length of exposure to the peat smoke.



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *