11 Best Smoky Whiskies You Need to Try

Peated whiskies seem to have a love-or-hate relationship with most whisky enthusiasts. There isn’t much room for indifference. While others describe peat as having an acrid and medicinal taste, others can’t get enough of it.

So what exactly is peat anyway? Peat is a form of soil made up of organic material that has partially decomposed. It is commonly found in wetlands and is distinguished by its rich carbon content and black or dark brown color. When used to make whisky, peat is dried and burned to create smoke, which during the drying process, gives malted barley a smoky flavor, ultimately influencing the flavor profile of smoky whiskies.

Best smoky whiskies

There are many variations and expressions of smoky whiskies in the market. With their robust features and distinctive flavor profiles, these whiskies demand a place on every enthusiast’s must-try list. If you think you don’t enjoy smoky whisky, maybe you just haven’t found the right one yet. Here is a list of outstanding smoky whiskies to elevate your palate and ignite your passion for whisky. 

1. Lagavulin 16 Year Islay Single Malt Scotch, $119.99

Lagavulin 16 Year Islay Single Malt Scotch

This Islay single malt is a great place to start your peat journey. Aged for 16 years, it features a captivating balance of peaty and smoky flavors. But that is not all. It also has hints of fruity sweetness with notes of burnt caramel, vanilla, and a healthy dash of oak. Lagavulin 16 Year Old has become a beloved choice among whisky enthusiasts seeking a complex and robust flavor profile. 

2. Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt, $69.99

Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt

Laphroaig is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated distilleries in Islay, Scotland. They offer a variety of expressions, and the Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt is a classic for a reason. This whisky is aged in smaller casks, enhancing the interaction between the wood and the spirit. The result is a smoky and rich flavor profile, with pronounced notes of brine, vanilla, butterscotch, peat, and a trace of sweetness. It should be savored on its own, with a splash of water or over ice. 

3. Ardbeg Uigeadail Islay Single Malt Scotch, $79.99

Ardbeg Uigeadail Islay Single Malt Scotch

Ardbeg is another exceptional Islay distillery known for its heavily peated whiskies. They also have several great releases, but we are going to focus on Ardbeg Uigeadail Islay Single Malt. Named after Loch Uigeadail, this expression is widely known for its depth and complexity. It combines intensely peated malt with whisky that has been aged in ex-sherry casks creating a harmonious fusion of fruity, smoky, and maritime flavors. Ardbeg Uigeadail is an excellent option for whisky lovers looking for an alluring and unforgettable Islay whisky.   

4. Compass Box Peat Monster, $69.99

Compass Box Peat Monster

Single malt lovers often sneer at blended whiskies. However, blended whisky from Compass Box has successfully won the hearts of many enthusiasts over the years. One standout expression on the peated spectrum of the flavor profile is the Compass Box Peat Monster. It is a blend of whisky from Laphroaig and Caol Ila with a splash from an unknown Highlands distillery added as well. This whisky is evidence of Compass Box’s commitment to crafting unique and distinctive blends, making it a popular choice for whisky connoisseurs. 

5. Teeling Blackpitts Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey, $79.99

Teeling Blackpitts Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Teeling Blackpitts Peated Single Malt is a distinguished spirit produced by the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin, Ireland. It pays homage to Dublin’s historical Blackpitts area, known for its classic malting establishments. This expression stands out as a unique offering in the world of Irish spirits. It undergoes a traditional malting process where the barley is dried over peat fires giving the beer a mild but recognizable smoky flavor. Teeling Blackpitts Peated Single Malt gives an innovative and captivating take on the Irish whiskey tradition with its approachable and smooth nature. 

6. Suntory Hakushu 12 Year Single Malt, $199.99

Suntory Hakushu 12 Year Single Malt

While Japanese whiskies aren’t renowned for their peatiness, there are some notable smoky expressions. One wonderful expression is the Suntory Hakushu 12 Year Single Malt. It is produced by the esteemed Hakushu Distillery, owned by Suntory, and is known for its refreshing character. This expression highlights a delightful balance of flavors, featuring notes of citrus, green apple, and subtle floral hints. 

7. Lagavulin Offerman Edition 11 Year Charred Oak Cask, $99.99

Lagavulin Offerman Edition 11 Year Charred Oak Cask

You will love this powerful dram that is both full of flavors and assertive. The Lagavulin Offerman Edition 11 Year Charred Oak Cask is a remarkable whisky that pays homage to the collaboration between Nick Offerman and Lagavulin Distillery. It is a limited-edition expression that celebrates Lagavulin’s iconic smoky character and the craft of traditional whisky making. 

One of the defining features of this expression is the interplay between charred oak and peat smoke. The charred oak casks infuse the spirit with layers of toffee, vanilla, and warm spices. Additionally, the smoky notes combine harmoniously with the wood to create a mouthwatering marriage of flavors. 

8. Benriach The Smoky Ten Single Malt, $54.99

Benriach The Smoky Ten Single Malt

Benriach may not be the most famous distillery for whisky fans, but it’s one of the interesting ones. They have so many different expressions of whisky produced and aged in almost every type of cask you can imagine. And though the distillery is in Speyside, a region not commonly known, Benriach does have a few exceptional peated expressions. These include The Smoky Ten Single Malt, which offers a harmonious blend of peat smoke and myriad flavors. Beneath the strong smoky character, you will find exquisite aromas of honeyed malt, juicy orchard fruits, and hints of toffee. 

9. Talisker 10 Year Single Malt, $69.99

Talisker 10 Year Single Malt

Talisker 10 Year Single Malt is a whisky that is often overlooked because it has constantly been present for so long. Its peat content is pretty low, and it’s not even bottled at high proof. Still, it’s definitely a great malt that belongs in the cabinet of every serious whisky enthusiast. The whisky has a tantalizing aroma of bonfire smoke and roasted malt. Talisker 10 Year is a timeless classic that perfectly captures the essence of single malts and is a must-try for connoisseurs. 

10. Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old Heavily Peated, $69.99

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old Heavily Peated

Since Bruichladdich Distillery’s reopening in 2001, the whisky has stood out among its other Islay competitors. From utilizing locally grown barley to bottling their whiskies much younger than what was deemed appropriate, Bruichladdich has stood the test of time and produced exquisite whiskies.

One expression from their lineup that is perfect for peat aficionados is the Port Charlotte 10 Year Old Heavily Peated. This whisky offers a creamy and smooth texture with sweet and smoky tones. It is an excellent choice for enthusiasts seeking a rich and peated Islay single malt. 

11. Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch 10 Year, $59.99

Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch 10 Year

Wrapping up the list is another whisky from Laphroaig. This one has intense aromas of maritime brine, peat smoke, and medicinal notes resulting in a sensory experience like no other. On the palate, it reveals a bold taste with earthy, salty, and smoky undertones complemented by hints of dried fruits and vanilla. The 10-year aging period allows the flavors to perfectly harmonize to create a memorable and complex whisky that is sure to captivate enthusiasts worldwide. The Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch 10 Year is a true embodiment of Islay’s peaty malts. 


The above list highlights the pinnacle of smoky whisky artisanship. Whether you are a seasoned whisky enthusiast or a curious explorer, this collection promises a remarkable drinking experience. Cheers to an unforgettable journey through the world of smoky whiskies. 


Are All Smoky Whiskies Crafted Through the Same Process? 

No, not all smoky whiskies are produced through the same method. While the use of peat during malting is common, some distilleries have their own variations in the production process, including variations in the intensity and duration of smoke exposure. Additionally, some distilleries may use other methods, such as incorporating smoked malted barley during fermentation or smoking the barley with different types of wood. 

Are All Scotch Whiskies Smoky? 

Contrary to popular belief, not all Scotch whiskies are smoky. Some are quite gentle, with little to no smoke in their profile. 

What are Some Pairing Suggestions for Smoky Whiskies? 

Some popular smoky whiskies pairings include smoked meats such as barbecue or bacon, dark chocolate, aged cheese, spiced nuts, and rich desserts. The distinct and strong flavors of smoky whiskies complement and enhance the flavors of these foods. 

How Should You Store Smoky Whiskies? 

Proper storage is important to maintain the flavor of smoky whiskies. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations. Seal the bottles tightly and place them upright to prevent oxidation. Additionally, avoid storing smoky whiskies near substances with strong smells, as they can potentially influence your whiskies’ flavor. 

Where to Buy Smoky Whiskies?

You can purchase smoky whiskies from various retailers, both offline and online. One excellent online option is Nestor Liquor, which offers convenience and a wide selection of spirits, including smoky whiskies. This reputable online store allows enthusiasts to explore and discover different spirits from different distilleries and regions without the limitations of local availability.

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