Whisky torbato

Peat Whisky is a very common category of Scottish distillates, characterized by a more or less strong smoky smell and taste, which often creates a divide between who would drink it also at breakfast and who instead would turn up their nose to prefer the finesse of more subtle whiskies.

But let's go in order: how are peat whiskies born?  The peatiness in a whisky is a characteristic acquired in the first of the five phases of the production process (phases which are malting, infusion, fermentation, distillation and aging). In the first process, in fact, barley is dried in a oven called "kiln"; here, instead of or in addition to wood, peat can be burned, in order to give the barley grain this particular peatiness which will make whisky smoky.

Peat is a material which is obtained by a slow process of decomposition of vegetal remains (it takes millennia) in swampy environments, where humidity, abundance of water and low temperatures lead to a decomposition of organic vegetal substances; these substances, however, do not decompose completely, creating this solid compound with a carbonic consistency (peat, in fact, is one of the very first stages which subsequently leads to the formation of coal).

Peat is very common in Scottish islands, and it is from there that in fact come some of the best peat whiskies (just think about the islands of Islay or Skye); before 1900, when coal was not yet present in Scotland, peat was the only material that was burnt, and in fact whiskies until then were exclusively peat whiskies.

The level of peat in a whisky is defined according to the level of polyphenols present in parts of million (or ppm) in malted barley; generally speaking, it is considered lightly peated a level of peat between 5 and 15 ppm, medium peat a presence of polyphenols between 16 and 39 ppm, and strongly peat for values from 40 and more.

From Lagavulin to Laphroaig, from Caol Ila to Ardbeg, from Talisker to The Balvenie, scroll down and discover the best peated whiskies.

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