Peat In short, it can be defined as a black spongy hard coal consisting of decayed plant remains and algae. This description may not sound like much, but we owe peat the sooty, smoky and smoky notes found in many whiskeys (especially Scotch whiskeys from the Islay region).

In order to understand how these notes pass into whiskey, we need to take a closer look at the whiskey production process.

Sooty, smoky and smoky notes intensely permeate the whiskey's character during the malting stage, the first stage of whiskey production.

We can briefly summarize the malting process as follows:

malting The main purpose in the process is to convert the starch in barley into sugar. Sugar is also indispensable for obtaining alcohol in the later stages of production.

Malting starts by soaking the barley in water for 2-3 days. During this period, barley absorbs water and softens and starts to sprout/germinate. For this sprouting process to occur, the barley is spread evenly across the floor of a room.

The starch in the barley, which starts to sprout slowly, begins to turn into sugar. This process takes about 1 week.

The sugar produced in malting is very important for obtaining alcohol in the next stages.

These barleys are thrown regularly with the help of wooden shovels in order to prevent the sprouting barley from sprouting and entangling each other like ivy.

At a certain stage, the barley is dried in order to stop the sprouting of the barley. For this, the barley is taken into a room with a giant oven (kiln) underneath.

This is where peat comes into play!

If peat is used in this drying process, the burning peat releases chemicals called phenols.

These phenols adhere to the moist barley husk, giving the barley a sooty, smoky, smoked flavor.


Examples of Peat Whiskeys

The amount of peat in whiskey is measured by the amount of phenol in it (PPM - Phenol parts per million).

The world's most peaty whiskey Bruichladdich produced at the distillery Octomore 08.3. The PPM rate of this expression is exactly 309! Let's give a few more examples of peat whiskeys to understand how high this ratio is:

Connemara 12 (20 PPM), Talisker 10 (22 PPM), Caol Ila 12 (35 PPM), Lagavulin 16 (35 PPM), Ardbeg 10 (55-65 PPM), Benromach Peat Smoke (67 PPM), Ardbeg Supernova (100 PPM) PPM).

Although the amount of PPM provides important information about the character of the whiskey, sticking to this number alone can mislead us.

In addition to the amount of PPM, the type of peat, the way the alcohol is distilled, the maturation time, the type of barrel used and many other variables we can add to it can also affect the peat level in the character of the whiskey, such as peat.

In addition to distilleries such as Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Talisker, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, which have peat effect in almost all whiskeys, brands such as GlenDronach, Macallan, Nikka, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich also have peat expressions.


Peat & Scotland

Turba aslında dünyanın birçok ülkesinde bulunmaktadır. Fakat dünyadaki turba reservinin %90’ının kuzey yarımkürede yer aldığı ve bunların da büyük çoğunluğunun İskoçya’da bulunduğu söylenir.

Peat beds, which began to form about 3,000 to 7,000 years ago, were used for heating purposes in ancient times. When peat is burned, it provides a low-grade but long-lasting heat.

The region with the highest peat use in Scotland Islayis . It is said that the amount of peat in this region is higher than in other regions. It is even said that in the Islay region, many springs run brown and have the aroma of peat due to prolonged contact with peat.

For detailed information about the Islay region “All About Islay Whiskeys” You can read my post.

Although it is stated in some sources that this peat water is used to soak the barley, which is the first step of the malting phase of Islay distilleries, it is still a matter of debate whether this process affects the character of the whiskey.


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