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Smoke Flavour of Whiskey

May 11,/2022

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Flavour is very importance for whisky. Whether it’s the distiller or the blender, they carve out special flavours with their own unique way, making the special unique whiskey. This is what whisky making is really all about. This is the real magic of whisky. Choosing the type of grain is the start of the journey, the next stop is deciding whether to give the whisky a smoky flavour. Smokiness is not essential to whisky; it is only part of the flavour options.

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The smoky flavour of whisky emerges early in the process. When drying malted barley, the source of the smoke takes on its own flavour. At the same time, people would dig up peat buried in the ground for drying barley or malt as a substitute for coal.

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As coal was not available in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, in the days before railways passed through the Highlands, distillers had to use peat as fuel to dry their malt, so they made whisky with a smoky flavour. Smoke has since become a characteristic flavour of whisky from these regions, but it cannot be said that this smoky flavour is naturally occurring.

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The smoke produced when peat is burned carries an oil (also known as phenols), and the oil adheres to the barley seed hulls, giving them a special flavour. The more smoke produced during the burning process, the more intense the smoky flavour of the final whisky. Peat is not unique to Scotland either. Peat is also used in other whisky distilleries around the world.

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