Top Notch Affordable Peated Single Malts

Looking to dip a toe into the peat bog? These bottles are highly rated by the Distiller community and won't cost you an arm and a leg!
Jan 17, 2017
  • 10
    3.77 out of 5 stars
    Sweet & Fruity
    First introduced in 1979, Bunnahabhain 12 Year is a core single malt in the portfolio. It is matured in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks and since 2010, it has been bottled without chill-filtration at 46.3% ABV
  • 9
    3.94 out of 5 stars
    Oily & Peaty
    The Ardbeg 10 Year is something of a benchmark for the Ardbeg distillery. The peat level is on the higher end of the scale at 55 parts per million or ppm. It is bold, it is masculine, and it is not hiding its true character in heavily sherried casks. Just saying "Arrrrddd-beggg", sounds as if you are headed into battle; giddy up, partner!
  • 8
    3.97 out of 5 stars
    Peaty & Vanilla
    Far from a shrinking violet, Laphroaig 10 Year is loud and proud, get used to it. They have managed to produce a whisky showcasing the sights and aromas of the island. The peat, burned to dry the malt, is abundantly clear as is the seaweed found lapping the shores just steps from the distillery. That sweet salty sea air found on Islay is woven throughout their whiskies. NOTE: This is sold at 40% abv or 43% abv depending on your market.
  • 7
    3.96 out of 5 stars
    Fruity & Rich
    100% of the production at Springbank is handled on site including floor malting, aging, and bottling. Springbank also makes three different styles of single malt at their Campbeltown distillery with their flagship Springbank line being their lightly peated version. Unusually, it's distilled 2.5 times. In keeping this maverick theme, the brand has also never chill-filtered or added natural color to their whiskies. Springbank 10 is aged a minimum of 10 years in a combination of ex-bourbon (60%) and ex-sherry (40%) casks.
  • 6
    3.78 out of 5 stars
    Sweet & Fruity
    Highland Park is renowned for the peat they use and for their exclusive use of ex-Sherry casks. The climate on the Orkney Islands is quite windy and sea swept creating a dismal environment for trees. As such, the Orcadian peat bogs have more heather, grass, and plants than those on Islay. Highland Park 12, first released in 1979, uses about 20% 1st-fill sherry casks. Name change and bottle update in 2017.
  • 5
    3.66 out of 5 stars
    Sweet & Fruity
    This dram is a fine example of the different elements one can typically find in maritime whiskies. One of only a handful of distilleries that still do floor maltings of their barley, it is certainly worth paying them a visit to see how it's done.
  • 4
    3.22 out of 5 stars
    Salty & Briny
    Smokehead is shrouded in mystery. It's released by Ian Macleod Distillers, a family-owned company that owns Glengoyne, Tamdhu and offers several expressions of undisclosed origin, like this one. We can tell you that it's an 86-proof Islay single malt aged largely in hogshead barrels for around eight years and it aims to be the choice for the hair metal, race car-obsessed set (see the website). For everything else, your guess is as good as ours.
  • 3
    3.86 out of 5 stars
    Full Bodied & Rich
    Caol Ila, pronounced as “Cull Ee-la” is a small Islay distillery founded in 1846 nestled in a hidden cove near Port Askaig overlooking the strait between Islay and Jura. Caol Ila is readily known as one of the lighter, more nuanced and delicate of the Islay single malts with the 12 year as their entry level offering originally debuting in the summer of 2002. It is bottled at a modest 86 proof.
  • 2
    3.25 out of 5 stars
    Salty & Oily
    Bowmore is Islay's oldest distillery going back to 1779. Legend is their youngest whisky produced with no age statement listed. Aged in predominantly American casks, this is an agreeable whisky to explore as an introduction to what Scotch has to offer.
  • 1
    3.38 out of 5 stars
    Ardmore had, up until very recently, been utilized as a primary malt for Teacher's blended whiskies. Their malt is peated at about a 15 ppm level with peat from the mainland rather than the islands. This Traditional Cask bottling is aged for 6-13 years in American oak before being transferred to smaller Quarter Casks to finish the aging process for another year.