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The Flavour of Peat??

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The Flavour of Peat??

Postby TheLiquorBaron » Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:42 am

I wonder if the group can provide some descriptions on the taste of Peat?? I'm thinking maybe along the lines of soap/sulfer, in a very non-descriptive fashion that is...:roll:

Cheers!!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:37 pm

I would not say soap, but I would suggest some sulphur, rather a fair amount of coal tar and perhaps a hint of mossy heather.

MT
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:57 pm

I'm not a fan of what ever the taste is at all Keith...I posted somewhere about a bottle of Coal Ila that I REALLY DIDN'T like and the Bowmore Darkest I had tonight has the same taste. I have not experienced this taste yet in any other malt I have had.
I know it's not a smokey flavour, as I have a bottle of Glenfarclas 32yr old with a distinct smokey finish and I quite like that taste.

I will just have to leave the Islay/Peated Malts I have for any guests that enjoy these whiskies. :D
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:05 pm

Hi Troy,
I enjoyed a Caol Ila tasting at the Munich whisky festival at the weekend and I must say that I do like their malts.
We tried one 8y/o which was unpeated and for a CI it really had something missing, it just tasted bland. But having said that, I would not usually describe CI as a very peaty malt.

It does have hints of peat and also smoke, but when I think of peaty I think "Ardbeg". Laphroaig is also very peaty, but it also has loads of iodine which makes it so unique.

As for Bowmore Darkest - that is also not what I would call peaty. It has a very woody / dark sherry taste and is a little unbalanced in my opinion, but it can be quite good at times.

Why not try Bruichladdich?
The 7y/o "Waves" is quite spicy and has a good tingle.
The 14y/o expressions (WMDII, all Links .. etc) are very smooth and fruity, mainly passion fruit and have no peaty aromas or flavours.
(Just stay away from the 3D range or PC5 if you want to avoid the peat in 'Laddies).

Regards,
MT (K).
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Postby hpulley » Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:35 pm

Get theeself to the garden centre, buy a bag of dried peat sphagnum moss and smell it both fresh and after being lit. This won't be islay peat of course but if you really want to know what peat smells like I say try some!

I often differentiate, in my tasting notes, between fresh mossy smells and peaty smells and peat smoke. They are all different and can be found in various malts. I grow carnivorous plants so I always have fresh and dried peat moss on hand. Fresh moss is well, just what it says, mossy, green, earthy, warm. Fresh, wet peat is the same material but rotted and decayed so it smells a bit sharp, very earthy. Peat smoke is the same material but burnt so it smells like a nice earthy, peaty, smoke. Fresh and smoked heather adds a flowery, perfumey, almost honeyed tone to it.

Harry
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:35 pm

Yes, Harry spot on.....

Peat itself varies from area to area and the quality of the peat can be quite different.

Usually they use the upper part of the peat for the smoking as there is usually dried scrub/grass as well as other dead plantlife in it also which helps create more smoke than purer peat.

Remember peat is basically earth made from dead decomposed plant matter only. It is a lighter form of regular earth once dried and prepared for burning. So there is that dusty earthiness you can get from it. This can comethrough in the smell/taste of whiskies at times but mostly you get the smokey ashy smell/taste as that is what is prefered in general.

If the peat was smoking heavily then you will get the big Smoke and Ash effect. If it has very little smoke you get a more burnt earthy taste i.e. more peaty. You'd be surprised at how little smoke Pure peat gives off as it tends to smoulder.

Hope this helps
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:52 pm

hpulley wrote:I grow carnivorous plants....


Guarding the collection? :shock:

Before you give up on peat, LB, try some of the other malts mentioned. Not everyone who likes peaty whisky likes all peaty whisky; I've never been able to come to terms with Bowmore myself, and Caol Ila gets a huge range of comment, from great to awful. You may simply not have found the one that sets your papillae atwirling. If you do decide that peaty whiskies are just not your cuppa, put them aside and try again in a year or two or three. Sometimes you're just not ready for the moment.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:50 pm

Only from the fruit flies which commit suicide in my glass, unfortunately...
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Postby Wave » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:21 pm

Sometimes it's not the peat flavors themselves that turn some people off of Islay whiskies but the antiseptic or medicinal flavors that some Islays have (Laphroaig is a prime example). If you want to try peat without the Islay influence try one of the peaty Speysiders like the Benriach 10yo 'Curiositas'.


Cheers!
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Postby dapa » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:01 pm

...and of course the peated Connemara. Good Irish for your money
/dapa
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Postby hpulley » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:28 pm

But is Irish peat the same as Scottish peat?
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Postby kildalton » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:33 pm

this topic provides me of a great chance to improve my knowledge and to fill a gap of mine.
I've always associated the peat flavour with the phenols, so with the medicinal antiseptic flavours.
Reading Your posts it looks like peat it's also associated with earthy taste.
So I ask if the phenols are a product of the peat fire or also of coal fire.
I tend to distinguish between smoky and medicinal(the latter I referred to peat)but maybe I was wrong.
I will very frateful if someone could spare some light on this doubt of mine.

Thanks :wink:
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Postby peergynt323 » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:42 pm

This is a useful thread. The taste descriptor of "peat" comes up so much, but I've never been to Scotland.

Peat expresses itself differently to me in each of the Kildalton malts
Lagavulin is musty, iodine/seaweed, and a huge wave of raw peat (garden mulchy taste) in the finish
Laphroaig is aspirin, gauze, medicine cabinet, rubber
Ardbeg is chemicals, tires, asphalt, beef jerky
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Postby Scotchio » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:53 pm

hpulley wrote:But is Irish peat the same as Scottish peat?


I'm sure i read somewhere that they imported peated malt from Scotland. Coals to Newcastle if you ask me.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:01 pm

We had a long discussion on the difference between peat and smoke once. Some tend to use the terms interchangeably when talking about whisky flavors; others make a clear distinction. I am in the camp that feels you cannot have one without the other. (No doubt someone will bring up the peaty water again...gosh, I hope not.) In any case, kildalton, it comes from peat burned under the damp grain during the drying phase of the malting process. In the olden days, peat was the available fuel, and would have been the only way to generate heat for drying. Now other means are used that are more easily regulated, and the peat smoke is generated pretty much just for flavor.

I've mentioned several times that when I visited Balvenie, I learned that the stove below the kiln contains a coal fire, which they said was almost entirely smokeless (see below). They used to throw peat on top of the coal, but built a little side stove just for the peat (not shown), in order to be able to regulate it better.

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Postby lbacha » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:09 pm

I always think of peat as the way your jacket smells after standing around a campfire. I know there is more too it but after getting locked in the kiln by Percy at Bowmore my clothing smelled the same way.

Len
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:14 am

lbacha wrote:but after getting locked in the kiln by Percy at Bowmore


Must have been a warming experience Len... :lol: :lol:

I have been really thinking on this and the flavour 'Medicinal' has been mentioned a few times here and that is definately the description I would give to the Bowmore and Coal Ila I have had...which makes me think maybe it's not the peat flavour that I am disliking but something else attributible to an Islay whisky. I can't quite think what it is about an 'Islay' whisky that I wouldn't quite like as far as flavour and aromas are concerned...I love the smells associated with the beach, i.e. salt/seaweed...I know it can't be a brine flavour/aroma that I dislike as I eat my tuna in brine water straight out the can...then drink the brine :P and I mentioned I enjoy the smokey aroma/flavour(reminds me of camping, the smoke from the campfire goes right through your clothes)...sooo Where does this medicinal flavour come from?? I would think from reading about Ardbeg so much this may have the same medicinal flavour??
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Postby hpulley » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:36 am

I think the iodine too must come from the peat, though I could be wrong. I say this because, even though the advertising says otherwise, I find medicinal smells in Port Charlotte 5yo that are not in standard Bruichladdich. As the main difference between the two is the peat I suspect that is the source of the bitter tastes though I suppose it could instead originate from the casks. This still begs the question as to whether or not this shows up in peated mainland whiskies? I can't say I've found any so perhaps I'm way off base here.

Harry
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:24 am

Anyone tried Glenfiddich Caoran Reserve??

This is supposed to be a heavily peated bottling...
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Postby TheLaddie » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:49 am

From the flavour profile in Wisheart's "Whisky Calssified" the flavours associated with peat are:

smoky
bonfires
burnt-heather
peaty
phenolic
pungent
kippery
mossy
earthy
fishing nets
turfy

While a number of these sound pretty unpleasant it's generally a matter of degree. All can be pleasant up to a point (also very much dependant on taste) and unpleasant beyond this point.

Sulphury/soapy notes tend to be a sign of a poor cask or can result from the use of sulphur candles to sterilise the inside of sherry barrels prior to their being filled with spirit. Again, dependant on one's personal taste, these can be tolerable or even pleasant to a certain point but not at all pleasant beyond that.

The medicinal flavours you seem to find unpleasant Troy are more prononced in the whiskies from the south coast of the island (the "Kildalton trio" Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavullin) You can get some pretty peaty whiskies from elsewhere with much less of that medicinal character (like Kildalton (the Forum member, not the trio of distilleries) I tend to consider smoky and medicinal flavours separately). I find PC5 very smoky without medicinal flavours (though I note Harry above does find medicinal flavours in the PC5 which just goes to illustrate how our palates are all different) For peat without (or at least less of) the medicine I'd suggest trying Caol Ila, Highland Park or Glen Garioch, or maybe one of the newer peated Bunnahabhains or BenRiachs.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:48 am

TheLiquorBaron wrote:Anyone tried Glenfiddich Caoran Reserve??

This is supposed to be a heavily peated bottling...


This is one of the few bottles I've ever bought that I didn't finish, and I've slogged through some bad ones. I thought it tasted of woodsmoke and charcoal, rather than peat, and found it very unpleasant. I gave it to my friend Elaine in Dunfermline, for use in hot toddies. It's probably not bad in your tea.

Obviously, not everyone will agree--I know some here have claimed to like it.
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:58 am

Laddie...I have a Benriach here - '84 Single Cask 20yr old. I'm a little reluctant to open it just yet...I would prefer to open it with someone whom enjoys single malts and so I will wait for a little while I think before I taste that one.

That's interesting what you say Mr. T about the GF Caoran...I will have to get a bottle and see what it has to offer or how it will offend :wink:

Laddie I just checked to see if the BenRiach had any notes and so I quote..."Explosive peat presence, in combination with honey, wild roses and prunes and soft delicate wood notes"
Now I am intrigued! However this still warrants a 'buddy' to sip with as it would be great to compare notes and thoughts, and so I will have to find myself a sipping buddy... :wink:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:55 am

TheLiquorBaron wrote:That's interesting what you say Mr. T about the GF Caoran...I will have to get a bottle and see what it has to offer or how it will offend :wink:


That's the spirit! Folks seem to be so afraid of trying something they think they might not like. It's all good experience.
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Postby TheLiquorBaron » Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:17 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Folks seem to be so afraid of trying something they think they might not like. It's all good experience.


Oh, I couldn't agree more Mr. T!! I firmly believe you must have all the experiences, both good and bad to really appreciate the whole journey. Myself, I might be one of the lucky ones(if I get my liquor license :? ) that will be able to experience many various bottlings, more than most, as it will be part of my job :wink: ...actually that's the whole point to this topic...how would I describe peat to a novice(like me?!) or someone whom hasn't experienced a proper range of malts(blends, single, vatted, etc.). And when I say 'proper range' I mean more than having a JW Red or Black and some of the more shall we say 'commercial' bottlings...
:wink: :wink:
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Postby hpulley » Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:41 pm

TheLaddie wrote:...
The medicinal flavours you seem to find unpleasant Troy are more prononced in the whiskies from the south coast of the island (the "Kildalton trio" Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavullin) You can get some pretty peaty whiskies from elsewhere with much less of that medicinal character (like Kildalton (the Forum member, not the trio of distilleries) I tend to consider smoky and medicinal flavours separately). I find PC5 very smoky without medicinal flavours (though I note Harry above does find medicinal flavours in the PC5 which just goes to illustrate how our palates are all different) For peat without (or at least less of) the medicine I'd suggest trying Caol Ila, Highland Park or Glen Garioch, or maybe one of the newer peated Bunnahabhains or BenRiachs.


I'll note that I didn't come out and think to myself, "islaydine!" like I do with the Kildalton trio (I find it in Caol Ila too, BTW). There are some medicinal flavours there but not of the same type or degree.

Harry
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Postby middlecut » Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:52 am

Do yourself a flavour and save up for a holiday on Islay. Whilst there take one of the wonderful tours of any of the distilleries . They will probably let you take some peat home with you for prosperity (I snagged a bag from bowmore). Failing that go dig some up of the moor yourself (hmm maybe not.. is it allowed?)

Laphroaig is also a good distillery for defining the difference between smoke and peat (specially when you are stood in their smoking room at full blast).

Alternatively check out http://www.smwdb.com. When you register and go to edit a whisky profile you will see a list of over 20 keywords we use for smokey (which we lump together with peaty as we to agree with MrTattieHeid on this point)

Some tend to use the terms interchangeably when talking about whisky flavors; others make a clear distinction. I am in the camp that feels you cannot have one without the other.


happy drammin
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Postby Elagabalus » Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:43 pm

L-Baron I am also not a peat fan. The Lagavulin I sampled reminded me of a bandaid.
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