If you’re new to whisk(e)y, you might be unversed in the famous smoky whiskies of Islay. The southernmost of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, Islay is home to nine distilleries. All of these — including the recently opened Ardnahoe — use peat (a cut and dried oil-rich soil-compound borne of decomposing vegetation; often found in bogs and still utilized as a fuel-source on the island) to smoke the malted barley used in the distillation process.
But contrary to common belief, Islay isn’t the only place on the planet you’ll find peat-smoked whisky. Distilleries all over the world, including the US, are making their own smoky whisk(e)y expressions. And some of it’s pretty damn good.
When figuring out the right peat-smoked whisk(e)y for you, it’s important to select one that isn’t going to completely overpower your palate with smoke. You have to run before you walk with this sort of dram.
“A common theme when talking with both chefs and mixologists alike is ‘balance,’” says Christopher Chamberlain, national beverage development manager for E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, California. “And balance is particularly essential when we discuss peat-smoked whisky.”
In an effort to find the most well-balanced, easy-entry peat-smoked whiskies for fall, we turned to the experts. Read below for some classic picks mixed with a few bold takes from some of our favorite bartenders.
Dante Wheat, bartender and founder of Raw Pineapples in Louisville
Lagavulin 16. There isn’t anything more “fall” than sitting in a big ass chair while enjoying a smokey, citrusy Islay whisky neat, and doing absolutely nothing for an afternoon.
Randall Restiano, beverage director of Eataly NYC Flatiron in New York City
I love Corsair Wildfire American Malt Whiskey. It is the sign of the American dream — being passionate about something and producing it till the point you are successful.
The whiskey is completely produced in-house in Tennessee using 100% hickory-smoked barley. At 100 proof, it is warming for the cold but also balanced and perfect for all winter foods.
Christopher Chamberlain, national beverage development manager for E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, California
While many single malts may pocket themselves into one specific flavor category, Jura 10 Year Old delivers a perfect balance of sweetness and smoke. It provides nothing less than a smoked whisky that is balanced by notes of citrus, coffee, and chocolate, allowing you to gravitate into more complex flavors without diving into the extremity of a heavily peated whisky.
Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition
Fanny Chu, head bartender at Donna in Brooklyn, New York
I love Lagavulin’s Distiller’s Edition. It has perfect peat and fruit flavors for sipping and pairing with chocolates or simply enjoying neat on a cool, fall night.
Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis
As they say, go big or go home. Bruichladdich Octomore is the most botanically peated scotch on planet earth. Not a small price tag, but available and expresses both the smoking of the malt and the unique botanical profile of peat and malted barley.
Designed for fire pit conversation and flannel shirt fashion shows.
J. Riddle Peated Bourbon
Gavin Humes, bartender at Scratch|Bar & Kitchen in Los Angeles
The J. Riddle Peated Bourbon is exciting and different. With the proliferation of Scotch and the infatuation with peat and smoke, this is a unique twist on that style. Using a bourbon whiskey but adding the peated note really makes for a whiskey that’s memorable and fantastic.
Compass Box Peat Monster
Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami
If I’m going for peated whisky, it’s going to be Compass Box Peat Monster. It’s a very peat forward bottle, named appropriately. Pours and drinks well. Smoky, rich, and perfect for slow sipping.
Nick Cole, bartender at Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento
The best smoked and peated whisky would have to be Laphroaig 10. People who drink smoked and peated whisky — scotch — typically know what they are drinking. Laphroaig 10 is a standard and a staple for any bar. You really just can’t go wrong in the fall.
New Riff Backsetter
Roberto Berdecia, bartender at La Factoria in San Juan, Puerto Rico
To be honest, I haven’t tasted it yet… but I have heard a lot of great things from an American peated whiskey called New Riff Backsetter. The other smoked American whiskeys I have tried are not that special. On the contrary, peated scotch single malts are a blast — starting from Lagavulin 16, Laphroaig 10, and Ardbeg Wee Beastie.
Nestor Marchand, director of food and beverage at Plunge Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
I love Ardbeg Islay Scotch. Specifically, the distillery’s flagship offering Ardbeg Ten. Plenty of peat-smoked, plus the famous iodine flavor from the maritime qualities of the Islay Scotches.
Radhika Apte reveals real reason why she got married
Radhika Apte needs no introduction to Kollywood fans after her appearance as Superstar Rajinikanth’s wife in ‘Kabali’ directed by Pa Ranjith. The intense actress impressed with her performance of a meek girl to a mother of a grown-up and especially her reunion scene with Rajini took the audience on an emotional ride.
Radhika is happily married to her British boyfriend Benedict Taylor who is a singer and she shuttles between Mumbai and London to balance her personal and professional life.
Radhika Apte in her most recent interaction with Vikranth Massey on social media from London has admitted that she does not believe in the institution of marriage. When asked why she got married the talented performer replied that it is easier for married people to get a British visa and that’s why she and her man opted for it in 2012.
Radhika is currently chilling with Taylor in their London home during the lockdown and will soon start filming her next English film ‘Noor Inayat Khan’ in which she plays a spy based on a true story.
Jacqueline Fernandez shares picture of her being in ‘happy place’
Actor Jacqueline Fernandez is working on a secret project where she found herself in a ‘happy place’. Taking it to Instagram on Sunday, the 35-year-old actor shared a picture dressed up like a traffic police officer as she is seen laughing her heart out.
“How was everyone’s Sunday?? Fun project coming up soon! #myhappyplace,” wrote Fernandez along with a picture where she is also seen holding a coffee mug. The ‘Kick’ actor also shared a few Instagram stories of her getting ready for the upcoming project.
Recently, the actor extended gratitude to her fans after the number of Instagram followers hit the 46 million mark.
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