What scotch is smoky without tasting medicinal
Smoky whiskey at super cheap spirits
Smoky whiskey is becoming increasingly popular and more and more distilleries in Scotland are producing a special edition with a particularly smoky whiskey. Beginners in particular confuse smoky whiskey with peaty whiskey. The smoke in the whiskey comes from drying the barley. Peat is mostly used for this. The phenols later go into the whiskey during the distillation. The more peat is lit and used for the smoke, the peatier and smokier the whiskey will later become. These phenols are later also responsible for the aromas such as medicinal, earthy or tasting like moss. A slightly smoky whiskey, like the Cragganmore, has only a very small percentage of peat. And if no peat is burned at all to produce smoke, the peat is completely absent from the whiskey's aroma. Smoky whiskeys are mainly divided into "campfire smoke" and "cold - medicinal smoke".
Whiskey beginners can often not identify the smoke correctly. If too much peat is used for the smoke, the single malt whiskey tastes smoky - peaty like a Laphroaig or Ardbeg. This medicinal smoke, which also tastes like iodine and disinfectant or old burned car racks, is not always popular. The smokiness comes mainly from the burning of peat to dry the malt. To do this, the peat is set on fire and the warm smoke on the upper floor is directed over the malt that lies on the floor. The malt is constantly turned and the warm smoke dries the barley. The barley absorbs the smoke for this. In principle like clothing in a smoky bar. If you use more peat and less wood, the result is a higher peat taste. In the case of a smoky whiskey with little peat taste, only little peat is used to dry the barley or work with higher temperatures.
What role does water play in smoky whiskey?
Whether smoky whiskeys or peated whiskeys. The water used for distillation and the water, which is later also used to dilute the stored whiskey, has run through activated carbon filters, ion exchangers and is relatively strongly distilled. This water has no taste of its own and should there be peat in it, it would be relatively tasteless. Of course, peaty water tastes different than spring water from Austria. However, in order to have the same quality, the added water must always be of the same quality. If the water suddenly had manganese or iron, this could have a very detrimental effect on future production. What you can probably only taste after years of storage in wooden barrels. That is why no distillery will leave the quality of the water to chance. The water on Islay is quite brown, but it also tastes like normal water.
Peat is a phenol like 4-vinyl guaiacol and is only produced when the barley is dried by burning peat. A peaty taste would also be possible by adding specially grown yeast strains during fermentation. Depending on the cultivation, these can give rise to the same molecules as can be found in peat smoke. The whiskey goes through various manufacturing steps in the distillation and production. Similar to smoked sausage or smoked salmon, the smoke of smoky whiskey is created by burning peat. However, since peat is a plant-based organic material, it doesn't just create smoke. As with barbecuing, wood from the fruit tree smells different than birch or oak wood. Beech wood is preferred for BBQ grilling. And then the temperature also plays a role. Because organic dried substances burn differently depending on the temperature and release different substances.
Oxygen also plays a major role. As with smoking a fish. The less air circulates around the fire, the more aromatic the smoke. Burning peat creates smoke. The peat flavor is more likely to come from the combustion products that are released. That is why, in principle, peaty whiskey is always smoky. But of course there are gradations here. A 12 year old Cragganmore is slightly smoky, a Bowmore Enigma contains more smoke. The Ardbeg 10 years or Laphroaig 10 years already contains a lot of smoke and the Bruichladdich Octomore whiskey with 170 ppm is extremely smoky and peaty. The Octomore whiskey is also considered to be the smokiest whiskey in the world.
Selection of very smoky and peaty whiskeys
- Big Peat Blended Scotch Whiskey 0.7l 46%41,83 €*
(Price per liter: € 59.76)
- Peats Beast Peated Single Malt 0.7l 46%35,54 €*
(Price per liter: € 50.77)
- Smokehead 18 years old 0.7l 46%179,67 €*
(Price per liter: € 256.67)
- Bruichladdich Octomore 11. 10 years 0.7 liters 54.3% vol.182,14 €*
(Price per liter: € 260.20)
- Smokehead Peated Whiskey 0.7l 43%36,93 €*
(Price per liter: € 52.76)
- Bruichladdich Octomore 11.1 0.7 liters 59.4% vol.154,35 €*
(Price per liter: € 220.50)
- Peat's Beast Cask Strength 0.7l 52.1%37,87 €*
(Price per liter: € 54.10)
- Laphroaig 10 years old 0.7l 40%35,09 €*
(Price per liter: € 50.13)
- Famous Grouse Smoky Black 0.7 l 40%17,66 €*
(Price per liter: € 25.23)
Smoky whiskeys with sweetness
While smoky whiskeys are popular, spirits differ with whiskeys like the Laphroaig 10 years. These are not only smoky, but also massively peaty. And, medically, they taste like disinfectants. Smoky, slightly sweet whiskeys are very popular. For this purpose, the whiskey is stored either completely or for a longer period in a sherry barrel from Spain after distillation. This way, the whiskey absorbs the sweet aromas of the barrel. If you drink this whiskey, you can taste a soft and mild whiskey that eliminates the smoke a bit and has sweetness instead. In addition, aromas of almonds and dry fruits with a smoky taste are created. So if you want a smoky whiskey with a slight sweetness, you should read the description of the whiskey to see whether it was stored in a sherry barrel. A finish in a sherry barrel is sufficient for this. So storage for e.g. ten years in bourbon casks and further maturation for one year in sherry casks.
Most of the best known single malt whiskeys from Scotland with a smoke - peat aroma come from the Isle of Islay. There are also some smoky whiskeys in the Highlands, Lowlands and Speyside. Often these are also called Smoke in the name. The Highland Park is considered the ideal smoky entry-level whiskey for 12 years. Soft, mild, sweet with a fine smoky note. Manufacturers often also note the phenol content in parts per million on the bottle. (ppm) The higher the value, the more smoke there is in the whiskey. Very slightly smoky whiskeys have a PPM content of 10 to 20 ppm. If the value rises above 20 ppm to 40 ppm, there is already a relatively high proportion of smoke. Bowmore has around 20 ppm, Caol Ila 30 ppm, Lagavulin 35 ppm, Bruichladdich 40 ppm and Laphroaig 45 ppm. The Ardbeg is already at 55 ppm and the Octomore whiskey as a smoke bomb and peat bomb at a sensational 170 ppm. This is actually where the pain and enjoyment limit lies.
What is peat
Peat lies on the ground and is of the principle of earth. Herbs and grasses as well as moss grow on the peat. If this dies, it remains and new plants grow. Over the course of a thousand years, the ground becomes higher and higher and is very soft. You can pierce a stick 2 meters deep in a peat area without any problem. You can walk on the ground and you jump up and down on the peat, the earth moves around it. Like a jello. On the island of Islay, around 70 percent of the island is covered with peat that is over 1 meter deep. The peat can be cut and placed on the meadow with little effort. After a few weeks, the peat has a low moisture content and can be burned. Peat can only be called peat if at least 30 percent of the substance is organic. Everything below that would be humus. Peat has a high ash content and burns very slowly and glows for a long time. As a fuel, peat is rather inferior. The acidic components of the peat, however, have a strong smell and are therefore used to make malt. The idea of burning peat for smoky whiskey arose mainly from the fact that wood fires were too expensive and the peat transports an important flavor carrier with the well-known smoky phenol-like taste. In medicine, peat is used for mud baths due to its pH content. In Germany, the Wiesmoor is two meters thick in Lower Saxony and up to 10 meters thick in Western Pomerania.
Is Smoky Whiskey Better?
Smoky whiskey is no better than any other whiskey, nor is it more expensive to make. It's just a different type of production that many people really like. Especially people who do a lot of physical work outdoors in the cold season prefer smoky and peaty whiskeys. Smoky whiskey tastes different and those who like to drink smoky whiskey have a wide selection.
Recommendations for smoky whiskey
Below are numerous recommendations for great quality lightly smoky whiskeys. If you enter the search term “smoke” in the online shop, you will also receive around 60 whiskeys to choose from. A selection of smoky whiskeys is even better sorted if you enter the keyword "Smoke" in the search. Here you will also find the Smokey Joe Islay Malt Whiskey or the Coillmor Smoked Whiskey from Germany as an example. Do you have any questions about smoky whiskeys or are you not entirely sure? Then contact us. Here is a selection of excellent smoky whiskeys that we have compiled.
- Lagavulin 16 Years 0.7l 43%58,90 €*
(Price per liter: € 84.14)
- AnCnoc Peatlands 0.7l 46%64,88 €*
(Price per liter: € 92.69)
- Talisker 10 years old 0.7l 45.8%33,19 €*
(Price per liter: € 47.41)
- Cragganmore 12 years old 0,7l 40%34,93 €*
(Price per liter: € 49.90)
- Bruichladdich The Laddie 8 0.7l 50%59,50 €*
(Price per liter: € 85.00)
- Smokehead Extra Rare 1 liter41,83 €*
(Price per liter: € 41.83)
- Bunnahabhain 12 years old 0.7l 46.3%46,90 €*
(Price per liter: € 67.00)
- 39,73 €*
(Price per liter: € 56.76)
- 29,40 €*
(Price per liter: € 42.00)
- Benriach Curiositas 10 years 0.7 liters 46% vol44,92 €*
(Price per liter: € 64.17)
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