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Which whisky is the most Peated?

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Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby MacLlyr » Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:20 pm

Which whisky is the most Peated? I am sure it is from Islay or at least that is what I would guess with Laphroaig, Lagavulin, or Ardbeg being at the top of the list. However I do not know which one is scientifically the strongest (when it comes to the Peat that is). Any input on this topic is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Bruichladdict » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:02 pm

Bruichladdich's Octomore at 80 ppm phenolic content. First released in the 3D3 Norrie Campbell Tribute.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby WhiskyViking » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:09 pm

The 2nd edition of Octomore was supposedly 123 ppm (around there). But some say that it all depends on the method of measuring.

These levels are for the malt. The levels drop during the distillation process, and this all depends on the shape of the stills, speed of distillation etc etc.

In the end it's all down to taste again. I've met several people who say that, for them, Laphroaig is more peaty than Ardbeg (although chemically Ardbeg har an higher level of phenols).
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby orangedogofglory » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:14 pm

WhiskyViking wrote:In the end it's all down to taste again. I've met several people who say that, for them, Laphroaig is more peaty than Ardbeg (although chemically Ardbeg har an higher level of phenols).


This is an interesting topic - to your point WhiskyViking, could it be that people confuse smoke taste with peat taste?
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Ganga » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:50 pm

ODG, I believe a good percentage of people (not all, nor necessarily most) use the two terms interchangeably. I find that Bowmore is more smokey than the others (or at least can be) but it is more of a wood smoke than peat smoke. I've also found others that have more of an earthiness as opposed to smokey.

It will be interesting to see what the Octomore Futures come out like as I believe they have been bottled or will be bottled soon.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby WhiskyViking » Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:35 pm

This is an interesting topic - to your point WhiskyViking, could it be that people confuse smoke taste with peat taste?[/quote]

I'm guilty of using the terms interchangably, partly due to long word for peaty in Norwegian (torvaktig) and partly due to lack of vocabulary after a few drams.

When writing tasting notes I tend to get them right.

Also of course is the fear when using peaty that some people think it tastes like a bog (to you Brits: No, not the kind that's indoors and flushes).

Also looking forwards to the Octomore arrives - got a case coming my way sometime in the close future.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:43 pm

I realize that many will differentiate between more earthy flavors and more sooty ones, but it's all peat smoke, and it all comes from the peating process when drying the malt. As a matter of taste descriptors, it makes sense to distinguish the two (and anything else you can distinguish), but when discussing peating levels (phenols), it's all the same.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby orangedogofglory » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:08 pm

So in the example WhiskyViking provided, it could be that a person isn't as sensitive to the peat - maybe because other flavors play a role or "interfere" for lack of a better word. Maybe because Ardbeg has, arguably I suppose, a higher number of flavors than Laphroaig, it isn't as distinguished.

If something to that effect is a likely case, then really we would be looking for what whisky is pure peat (or close thereto). just a thought. :dead:
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby WhiskyViking » Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:21 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:As a matter of taste descriptors, it makes sense to distinguish the two (and anything else you can distinguish), but when discussing peating levels (phenols), it's all the same.


The flavour of phenols (smoke/peating level) is in my book the flavour brought in when drying the malt. The more earthy tones of peat (bog/marsh/half-rotten vegetation to use a few less appetizing words) is found, IMHO, when distillers use peaty water in the mash. As far as I know, adding peat flavour it this way doesn't add to the phenolic content of a whisky.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:40 am

I believe the idea of peaty flavors coming from peaty water is complete myth.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Iain » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:48 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:I believe the idea of peaty flavors coming from peaty water is complete myth.


Many years ago, Chivas tankered "peaty water" from the Isle of Lewis to the mainland, to experiment with its effect on whiskies made in the firm's distilleries (or at least at Strathisla - not sure if Benriach and Caperdonich were involved) on Speyside. According to info that emerged in discussions on the forum many moons ago re "Craigduff", it appears not to have affected greatly the taste of the whisky, although the fact that Craigduff was made using lightly peated malt as well, may have confused the issue. Was a whisky also made, using the peated water and unpeated malt? Maybe Mr Fachan can tell us.

The experiment ended long ago, I believe.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby LeoDLion » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:54 pm

According to this article
http://www.whisky-news.com/En/reports/P ... ol_ppm.pdf
the most peated single malt is Octomore II-Beast with the new make having 167 ppm phenols. Laphroaig is at 40 and Ardbeg at 54. Phenols goes down with maturation. For example Laph becomes 8-10ppm in 10 years and 6ppm in 30 years.

I wonder how they peated Octomore II to 167ppm? Just more time in the kiln?
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby bcrossan » Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:21 pm

Interesting read. Is there any one place (website) you can go to find out phenol content of a particular release? I would find it interesting going into a bottle purchase to know if the one I am buy is more or less peaty than one I have had earlier.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Spirit of Islay » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:49 pm

The rating of the ppm is dependent on the way you measure it , if i remember rightly there are a couple of ways of measuring phenol content . I know after talking to some of the guys at Port Ellen Maltings it is very hard to guarantee consistency above 60ppm .
The phenol content is less after distillation than when in the mash (something like 2/3rds reduced ) , Ardbeg managed to increase that by putting more of the husk (where a greater percentage of the phenols are) in the wash so that the spirit coming off the still is something like 24-26 ppm compared with about 14ppm previous to the adding of the husks .
Ardbegs ppm before distillation is something like 54 to 56 , Lagavulin/Caol Ila is 35-40 , Bruichladdich is about 5 (was 10 when first re-opened) and Bunnahabhain is about 2 . I think Bowmores is 25 and Laphroaig is 40 rising higher with their own maltings . Kilchomans seems to vary between Bowmore and Ardbegs according to who you speak to.....
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:44 am

LeoDLion wrote:According to this article
http://www.whisky-news.com/En/reports/P ... ol_ppm.pdf
the most peated single malt is Octomore II-Beast with the new make having 167 ppm phenols.


As Gordon has hinted, this is the measurement after malting, prior to fermentation and distillation. I'd be interested to see Octomore's final phenol count--I doubt it's all that much higher than the Kildaltons. The malt, incidentally, was from Baird's of Inverness--Port Ellen was unable or unwilling to give Bruichladdich what they wanted.

Anyone here who hasn't read Peat Smoke and Spirit, by Andrew Jefford, should.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Wave » Sun Jul 13, 2008 4:01 am

I've tasted the peaty malted barley used for the Octomore II at Bruichladdich several years ago as I have tasted the malted barley's of most other distilleries I've been to (30+) including all of those on Islay. I don't know if the Octomore II is actually this 167 ppm or not but I have to tell you it's by far the peatiest, smokiest barley I've ever tasted! It was like chewing on crispy bacon bits!

Cheers!
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby oldrip57 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:17 am

Wave wrote:...It was like chewing on crispy bacon bits!

Cheers!

Are we talking peaty, or meaty? :wink:
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:20 pm

Bacon bits can't possibly taste meaty, because there is no meat in them.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby whiskyhibby » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:40 pm

Well I got my 12 bottles of the beast delivered today, still wondering if I should crack one open and try it....................... :angel:
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Klondike » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:31 am

whiskyhibby wrote:Well I got my 12 bottles of the beast delivered today, still wondering if I should crack one open and try it....................... :angel:


That should be an easy one :wink:

BTW, distillery manager Michael Heads at Ardbeg said exactly what is mentioned above, that after distillation the peat hovers in the mid twenties. I wonder what that is for Laphroaig and Octomore.

What should be certain is that the Octomores have the highest peating levels before distillation and secondly after those, the Ardbeg Supernovas tick in well above the ordinary Kildaltons. I must say, tasting either of Octomore and Supernova's I'm not sure which I find the peatiest. In a way the Octomore seemed so "clean" in its pure peaty character, whereas the Supernova First edition has imho a higher degree of complexity amidst a very dense, peaty character but I find it hard to distinguish which I found the peatiest. They are both very well balanced and highly recommended. The 2010 Supernova to me, was a bit of a letdown upon the first edition. Strangely, I seem to find the Port Charlotte's of Bruichladdich to taste nearly as peaty, though I believe they were "only" peated to around 40 ppm iirc.

Perhaps the distillation process eliminates a high degree of the phenols, that account for the extra level of peatiness, that are found right after malting in the Octomore/Supernova? I don't know.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby MacDeffe » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:09 pm

Wel, as Gordon pointed out a couple of years ago, these numbers can be a bit arbitrary.

As peat diminishes with age, the true way to find out which whisky is the most peaty is to go by taste judgement, and that is very subjective

Personally I find the Edradour peated, Ballechin to be the most peated tastewise, the burgundy matured to be specific. I havent tasted the other finishes so can't tell about those, but I have tasted Supernov and Octomore

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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby Klondike » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:27 pm

MacDeffe wrote:...As peat diminishes with age, the true way to find out which whisky is the most peaty is to go by taste judgement, and that is very subjective...
Steffen


Agreed. That's what it all comes down to anyway.
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Re: Which whisky is the most Peated?

Postby The Third Dram » Sat Jun 25, 2011 3:13 pm

I also agree with Steffen's point.

It's not so much about 'absolute' phenolic levels as it is about how those phenols 'fit in' and present themselves aromatically and tastewise relative to the other parameters of the fragrance and flavour profile of a whisky.
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