View Full Version : Unpeated scotch

03-13-2008, 11:54
Are there any unpeated single malts? If not, what's a decent single malt that has minimal peat?


03-13-2008, 13:12
Glengoyne bills itself as the only unpeated single malt. I'm not sure if that is true, but there are many, many malts that have only trace amounts of peat (under 5ppm). The traditional Speyside and Lowland whiskies are unpeated. Many highlanders are either nonpeated or only mildly peated. To name just a few: Macallan, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Blavenie, Glenrothes, Dalwhinnie, Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie, Bunnahabhain are just a few.

Most single malts have very low levels of peat. It is a relative few that have high peat levels.

03-13-2008, 13:21
Tim let me recommend an Irish whisky, Tyrconnell.
If you tased it blind you would say that it was an unpeated scotch.
It is available in the mitten.

03-13-2008, 17:07
Yeah, the problem is I got a bit ahead of myself in my whisky tasting...

I was at a pub and spotted Highland Park 12 on their list of available scotches. I'd heard good things and wanted to try it, but they were out (or couldn't find it). They also had another scotch I'd heard much about and was curious about...Laphroaig 10. It tasted like something filtered through a gauze at the dentist. Now I just smell scotch and I think of that taste.

03-13-2008, 17:27
Laphroaig is not usually for the novice and the 10 yo can be a bit of a shock if you didn't know what you were getting into.

03-13-2008, 17:43
Glenmorangie 10 year. Very good scotch and hardly no peat!

03-13-2008, 19:25
As stated above, try the Glengoyne for absolutely no peat. The lowland Glenkinchie also has no or very little peat. I think a Cragganmore (a Speyside) is very, very good and has no noticeable peat. For Irish whiskey, try a Knappogue Castle - very good.


03-13-2008, 19:52
For Irish I would second the Knap - at the vintage 94 was great. But as the others have said almost any lowland and speyside malt will do for minimal to very low peat/smoke. Don't give up on sms yet- there are so many distilleries and expressions from each for that.:cool:

03-13-2008, 23:25
Are there any unpeated single malts? If not, what's a decent single malt that has minimal peat?


Hi Tim,

You might want to start with some Lowland malts. There are only three currently producing, but all 3 have something good going for them. Glenkinchie 10-year is an excellent starting point if you like something older and more complex. The smoothest would probably have to be Auchentoshan, as it is triple-distilled. I just bought a bottle of 15-year Bladnoch, but it is very hard to find whisky from that distillery-- its production seems to be pretty sporadic.

Venturing into the Highland malts, you will probably like Glenmorangie, Dalwhinnie, Balvenie, and Cragganmore.

The majority of Highland Scotch whiskies are very low in peat, so something like Glenfiddich should actually be up your alley.

You will probably want to steer clear of the Island malts, like Highland Park, Talisker, or any of the Islay malts. Though I will note that Scapa, from the same island as Highland Park, keeps their malt very low in peat. Their current expression is a 14-year and it is absolutely luscious!

03-14-2008, 10:21
And of course, there are even some fairly unpeated Islays: Bunnahabhain and most of the Bruichladdichs. I think Caol Ila did an unpeated version as well, though most Caol Ilas have peat.

03-14-2008, 19:29
I had the same experience the time I tried Lagavulin 16. It will definitely take some getting used to.

I would recommend The Glenlivet 12 to start with, personally. It is much less smokey than Highland Park and quite rich in flavour, for the price.

The Balvenie Doublewood was the first single malt to really blow me away.

Try some different Speyside malts, and I doubt you will encounter anything like Laphroaig.

03-20-2008, 17:31
The much denegrated Glenfiddich might be a nice one to try as well, in particular the 15year old. Nice malty center, sweet honey, a bit of wood peeks through after 15 years due to the lightness of the spirt- I love the stuff...

Glengoyne is also a good pick, as other have stated....I also have found a few Tomatins to be extremly malty, along with Glencadem...

03-20-2008, 19:12
Yeah man, Glenfiddish 12 was my first single malt and I remember being a bit surprised that I could drink it on the rocks, since I was just getting into straight (unmixed, that is) whisky back then. I'd love to try the 15 some time...

Whyte and Mackay 13 is a pretty nice one that I just bought. It's kind of like Johnnie Walker Black Label without the smokiness.

03-20-2008, 19:30
The best scotches are those that strike a balance between the peaty character of the stereotypical Islay, and the malty sweetness of the best Speysides. There's no scotch whiskey that strikes that balance better, IMO, than Highland Park.

03-20-2008, 22:53
I agree about Highland Park. I haven't found another SMS (tho I haven't tried 100's and 100's) that is as good of an "all arounder". Get the 18 yo if you can treat yourself to that if not the 12 yo is aces too. But I do suggest getting the latest and last edition of Michael Jacksons book on single malt so much information and you can really find many to fit just about any flavor profile you are looking for.

03-21-2008, 00:40
The best scotches are those that strike a balance between the peaty character of the stereotypical Islay, and the malty sweetness of the best Speysides. There's no scotch whiskey that strikes that balance better, IMO, than Highland Park.

The best scotch is the one that gives me the taste I am in the mood for at that particular moment.

While there are times I'd really like a Highland Park, there are other times I want a Lagavulin, some times I want a Balvenie, some times a Dalmore. Yet other times I'd like a Bladnoch or Glenkinchie.

Or whatever pairs best with whatever I'm eating at the time...

03-21-2008, 03:48
Good point, boss302. The joy of single malt scotch is the variety of flavors. There's such a huge difference between the smoky Islays, the grassy Lowland malts and the sweet 'n malty Speysiders. And those, of course, are just broad generalizations. Highland Park tastes nothing like Scapa, from the same island. Some Islays have very little peat. Some of the peated Islays are smoky, some are medicinal.

The fun of SMS is developing a taste for each style and, as boss302 says, pairing the scotch to your mood of the moment.

04-09-2008, 11:06
There are more unpeated scotch than peated ones. A little bit of background: Barley is soak or wetted in water to allow the kernel to germinate to convert starch into sugar. When germination starts, it must be stopped asap. This takes place in a kiln where heat is supplied at the bottom to stop germination. At Islay, where peat is abundant, it is use to fire the kiln. This imparts the peatiness to the final product.

But most distilleries do not use peat. Therefore the whisky produce wont have the peatiness. You can almost pick any Highland, Speyside, Lowland whiskies and they are not peaty. Talisker is an exception, maybe others. At Islay, Bunnahabein and Bruiclladich are not peaty, and maybe some others too.

The whisky book by Michael Jackson is a very good guide.

04-09-2008, 15:09
I read recently that wild peat fires account for up to 40% of the world's carbon emmissions, and that they can burn undetected for over a century in the right conditions.