Smoky American Whiskey Every Peat Head Should Try

If you’re fond of peaty Islay scotches, there’s a whole new world of smoke to discover in America. Distillers are using peat, mesquite, hickory and more to impart both subtle and strong smoke flavors on single malt, rye, and other styles. Stoke the flames of your enthusiasm for the smoky stuff with these whiskeys.

Peat

McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt—88 points, $55
Clear Creek Distillery, Hood River, Oregon
Made using Scottish smoked barley and aged for around 3 years. Burnt marshmallow, graham cracker, and toasted grain flavors, with a good amount of smoke.

Westland Peated Single Malt—86 points, $70
Westland Distillery, Seattle, Washington
Made using Scottish smoked barley and aged at least 2 years. A rush of deep vanilla and tapioca on the nose, with cream pie, French vanilla, cotton candy, and subtle smoke on the palate.

Balcones Peated Single Malt—92 points, $80
Balcones Distilling, Waco, Texas
Meaty, with lots of baking spice and a dark, earthy smoke. Very long finish. Special release for the distillery’s tenth anniversary; larger releases coming in the future. Made with Highland-peated barley.

Fifty Stone Single Malt—not yet reviewed, $45
Maine Craft Distilling, Portland, Maine
Smoked using Maine-sourced peat and seaweed, this is one of the only whiskeys on the market smoked with American peat. Iodine, bandages, and saline, with some seaweed notes.

Mesquite

Whiskey Del Bac Dorado Single Malt—88 points, $54
Hamilton Distillers, Tucson, Arizona
Malted and mesquite-smoked in-house, then aged for 1 to 2 years in the dry Arizona heat. Flavors of smoked brisket, dry-rubbed ribs, and dark chocolate with sea salt.

Colkegan Single Malt—87 points, $55
Santa Fe Spirits, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Made using mesquite-smoked malt and aged in full-size barrels. Dry orange zest, white chocolate, and barbecue potato chips. Good structure with a lot of complexity.

Hickory

Corsair Wildfire Single Malt—87 points, $50
Corsair Distillery, Nashville, Tennessee
Made with 100% hickory-smoked barley malted onsite at Corsair’s malt house. Juicy and sweet, with chili and charred oak flavors and lots of smoke on the palate.

Cherrywood

Sonoma Cherrywood Rye—84 points, $50
Sonoma Distilling Co., Rohnert Park, California
Made with 80% rye, 10% wheat, and 10% cherrywood-smoked barley and aged for at least 1 year. Even a little smoke makes a difference. Fresh rye grain, black cherry, toasted sesame, and light, delicate smoke.

Texas Scrub Oak

Balcones Brimstone Whiskey—88 points, $60
Balcones Distilling, Waco, Texas
Distilled from roasted blue corn, the liquid spirit is then smoked directly using Texas scrub oak in a secret process. Rich, smoky, and heavy, with blackened corn, spicy bean chili, and dark chocolate flavors.

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