Peated Scotch Single Malts from the SpeysideBy Stephanie Moreno
If you think that Islay holds the monopoly on peated single malt whiskies, think again. Speyside single malts are just as able to get peaty with it. Here are some of our favorites. Note: prices listed are average retail prices in the US.
PEATED SINGLE MALTS
BenRiach has a host of single malts styles from different wood finishes including dessert wine, fortified wines and rum. So it should be no surprise that they also incorporate peat in some of their releases. The Authenticus line had 21 Year and 25 year versions released. Their no-age statement Birnie Moss has a peated level of 35ppm. But what is most popular is perhaps their Curiositas 10 Year. Its price and flavor profile make this one of the best values out there for peat heads. ($60)
Benromach has been releasing Peat Smoke for several years now. Their current iteration, Vintage 2007, has a peated level of 67ppm (peat per million) and matures exclusively in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels. ($60)
Cragganmore doesn’t seem to get much attention in the press, but it is widely available. It is a lightly-peated single malt used primarily as a component for blending in Johnnie Walker, White Horse and Old Parr whiskies. It shows notes of honey, nuts and pears, with a whiff a smoke trailing throughout.
This hit the market in 2010 as part of a Global Travel Retail release trio. This single malt contains whiskies aged in either European oak ex-sherry casks or first-fill bourbon casks. But what sets this apart from their portfolio, is the use of heavily-peated whisky (25 ppm), which comprises around 50% of the vatting, and blends with other whiskies. When all is said and done, it is about 10-15 ppm in the glass.
Released in 2015, this whisky is from Glen Moray’s Elgin Classic line-up. It bares no-age statement and is lightly-peated. A nice introduction to peat if you’ve just getting into the category. ($29)
This single malt hit retail shelves in September 2017. But this isn’t the first peated whisky from The Balvenie. Back in 2010, The Balvenie Peated Cask 17 Year was introduced. That release, however, aged for a short time in former peated whisky casks. This Peat Week 14 Year uses peated single malt. (SRP $99)
Traditionally, Tomintoul produces non-peated whisky, but for two weeks out of the year, they distill a heavily-peated whisky. Initially, this peated whisky comprised a portion for blended whisky brands. But Tomintoul started to vat it for themselves with their unpeated whisky. This is a single malt from a blend of their 4-5 year old peated whisky and 8 year-old unpeated whisky. ($46)
SINGLE MALTS WITH PEATED CASK FINISHES
Made by selecting and marrying 1992 vintage single malt casks. The whisky finishes aging in used casks sourced from Islay distilleries. Therefore, it’s not exactly a peated whisky per se, but a non-peated whisky that picked up peated whisky flavors from the used peated whisky casks. Along with a back drop of smoke, flavors of vanilla, orange rind, and salted nuts appear. ($49)
Released in 2015 as part of the Nàdurra lineup, this single malt finishes its aging in casks which previously held heavily-peated whisky. It bares no-age statement release and is non-chill filtered. Produced in small batches, it is bottled at cask strength. A host of flavors ranging from toffee, brown sugar, hay and ginger come through, along with a spicy and smoky finish. ($86)
Ready to fill your wishlist with peated Speyside scotch?