beast89 wrote:...can you elaborate a little bit on the distinction between peat and smoke?
As others have alluded to above, the relationship between peat and smoke is far from a simple one.
The peat utilized by distilleries (or larger malting operations, the Port Ellen complex on Islay being but one example, from which most distilleries purchase their supplies) varies widely in degree of pungency, composition and texture. To cite a pair of examples, Bowmore's peat is finer and more crumbly (some writers have described it as "sandy") while Highland Park's is chunkier and contains traces of heather.
Top this scenario with other factors such as differing durations of malting as well as lengths of distillation and cask maturation (longer barrel ageing generally tends to diminish the apparent peatiness/smokiness), and you end up with basically endless possibilities.
Additionally, many malting operations (including on-site distillery ones such as Bowmore) 'juggle' their 'recipes' in terms of combining the times during which the germinated barley is infused by peat smoke and further dried by simple hot air.
Whiskies that are more 'peaty' than simply 'smoky'? Kilchoman immediately springs to mind. Those that are more 'smoky' than 'peaty'? Brora (with its diesel-fuel like smokiness) is a prime, though increasingly hard to track down, example. Whiskies that offer a complex array of 'peaty' and 'smoky' overtones? How about Ardbeg?
Malt whiskies can change over time, too. For instance, the 12-year old standard bottling of Lagavulin from the early 1980s was as 'farmyardy' as they come. But the current 16-year old version has both lessened the 'funkiness factor' as well as broadened the layering of the peat smoke.