To help you with your queries on what is peated whisky, it helps to know the method behind it; peated whisky can be classified as any whisky that uses peat as a part of the distilling process. When burned, peat produces a highly aromatic smoke. All this peat smoke is infused into the whisky, and it becomes a part of the overall flavour profile. In our peated whisky, you’ll find flavours familiar with Christmas cake, citrus, butterscotch, and the delightful smoke quality.
All the peat we use is taken (or mined), from Browns Marsh. Peat is classified as a fossil fuel because of how long it takes to form. However, as we only take a small amount, the International Mire Conservation Group determined that our operations had zero impact on the marsh. In any year, we’ll only take around two ute loads (a little over one cubic metre) and with the current state of the marsh, removing this amount means there is enough available for the next 14,000 years.
Peated whisky is often considered true to the origins of Scottish whisky. The smokey quality is often sought after by purists and is a mark of a distillery holding themselves to tradition. When whisky was first produced in Scotland, peat was used to fire the kilns. Aromatic smoke was released when the peat was burned, and this flavour was incorporated into the whisky.
In most early Scottish distilleries, peat was the most common fuel source available. It was relatively easy to obtain, and it was abundant. However, as time progressed, distilleries stopped using locally produced malts. Commercially available malts used a different fuel source, and the smokey flavour was removed from the resulting whisky. Some people thought this was good, though others were not happy. Today, you have peaty or smokey whisky as its own category.
At Lark Distillery, our aim is to produce a whisky that is faithful to the traditions of Scottish whisky while adding in a Tasmanian quality. Our peat is from a marsh in Tasmania, and it is filled with organic material that is unique to the terrain.
What is peated whisky?
Peated whisky is often seen as a premium whisky because of the additional steps and care required to add in the smokey qualities. Peat is a naturally occurring product of bogs and marshy areas, and it is caused by organic matter being collected in the area and then slowly decomposing over hundreds of years. All peat is generally considered the precursor to coal, and it will burn exceptionally well – with the aromatic smoke being unique to the organic matter found within.
When whisky was first introduced to Scotland (in the late 15th century), peat was the most common fuel source, and it was used to heat homes. It burned very well and was easy to collect. When peat was used in the kilns during whisky making, the addition of aromatic smoke was obvious, thus creating a unique variety of flavoured whisky.
Smoke has been used for many years in all types of cooking to add in more flavours. The type of smoke flavour you get is entirely reliant on the fuel source. The exact qualities of the smoke flavour in peated whisky will depend on where the peat was collected and what botanical elements are inside. Many modern peated whiskies are considered top-shelf whisky and are highly sought after by collectors and whisky enthusiasts. Now that you know the nuances behind the topic: ‘what is peated whisky’, you can venture well into what food it is best paired with.
What food goes well with peated whisky?
Matching food and whisky can be an enjoyable endeavour. In the past, people didn’t really consider that whisky should be matched with food. But all this has changed – provided you choose a good match, they will complement each other very well. A premium Australian whisky will pair very well with most roasted red meats. You can also pair an aged whisky with grilled pork ribs. The rub you place on the pork can have added spices if you want to compliment a particularly spicy whisky.
If you’re after the best match for peated whisky, then a quality selection of Tasmanian Atlantic salmon is near perfection. The smokey qualities of the salmon and the whisky can play off each other and add to the overall taste experience.
For enjoying whisky as an after-dinner drink, you can craft a charcuterie board filled with local cured meats, cheeses, fruit, and nuts. The cheese you choose can be a selection of hard aged cheese and soft nutty cheeses. If you’re after a dessert menu for your whisky, then any fruit crumble is ideal, or you can settle for a selection of dark chocolates.
Where to buy the best-peated whisky?
Uncovering the best peated whisky means you’ll need to try a wide selection. At Lark Distillery, you can buy our peated whisky in our online shop. If you’d like a good sample of the whisky we offer, then buying a whisky tasting set is an excellent solution for those who like to make notes.
A peated whisky can be included in our gift sets. These gift sets are perfect for anyone who has shown an interest in Australian single malt whisky. These can also be purchased for corporate gift bags given to clients and staff at events. If you’re looking for rare whisky, you can find these in our online shop.
If you need assistance in choosing the best-peated whisky, you can contact our staff, and they’ll offer their expert opinions. Of course, you’re always welcome to visit us directly at our cellar door. There you’ll have the chance to sample over 250 international and locally produced whiskies.