Five Scotches For People Who Don’t Like Peat

Sometimes, it can feel like every bottle of Scotch whisky exists somewhere on a spectrum from unwashed ashtray to flaming Band-Aid factory. But that’s simply not the case. Even today, in our peat-obsessed time, there are plenty of Scotches that offer full flavor without the smoky tang of peated malt. Here are five Scotch whiskies that prove you don’t have to like peat to love Scotch

Glenkinchie 12-Year-Old

This Lowland single malt distillery isn’t far from Edinburgh, but its fresh, bright, nutty flavor feels like a far cry from Edinburgh’s sooty stone surfaces. Smooth and sweet, with notes of honey and caramel, this light-bodied yet flavorful malt is a great choice for people who enjoy soft bourbons like Maker’s Mark or Irish whiskeys.

Glengoyne Cask Strength

Known for its use of sherry casks, Glengoyne produces a totally unpeated malt redolent with the rich, dimensional flavors of tropical fruit, pastries, and peppercorns. Its periodic NAS cask-strength releases are a great value, bottled at full proof and not chill filtered to preserve its body and texture, making this a great option for somebody looking for full flavor without the reek.

Tomatin 12-Year-Old

Fresh off a bottle rebrand in 2014, Tomatim 12-Year-Old is a classic Highland single malt made without peated malt and finished in Oloroso sherry casks. Citrusy, floral, and grassy, it’s tasty on its own and priced to make it useful behind the bar, too.

Bruichladdich Classic Laddie

Think all Islay whiskies are peat bombs? Think again. Bruichladdich might be known for its super-peated Octomore line, but it also dabbles in the more delicate side. Its signature non-age stated Classic Laddie release is made entirely from Scottish barley and matured in used bourbon casks for an unmanipulated expression of malt flavor. Plus, its bright blue bottle has become one of the most iconic packages in the world of whisky.

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Bunnahabhain 12-Year-Old

While not technically completely unpeated—Islay’s peat-rich water contributes a ppm or two—Bunnahabhain is Islay’s most delicate whisky, made on tall stills that produce a lighter flavor profile. Yet don’t expect a pushover whisky. Sensitive sherry casking and no chill filtration gives Bunnahabhain a sweet, fruity flavor and dense, creamy texture that makes it a comforting choice for after-dinner.