Peat? It ain’t necessarily so…


Angelo at “Malt Mileage” is an Australian blogger who developed an interest in Scotch whisky while doing a masters degree in law at Corpus Christie in Oxford.  Which is another way of saying that he is likely to be pretty brainy. From Scotch and single malt he has branched out into an exploration of world whiskies and other spirits, building up quite a catalogue of material since kicking off his blog at the beginning of the year.

His review of the Laddie Classic is very complimentary, and a rattling good read, and he also highlights a very good point that illustrates to us just how far we all have to go to shake off the yoke of a simplistic Islay whisky classification: the Laddie Classic is an Islay whisky through and through, but it isn’t peated.

For many people this will be an oxymoron. Among imbibers around the world, sophisticated and experienced whisky enthusiasts among them, there is still a common belief that Islay simply means peat.

It can mean peat of course.  It usually does mean peat, but it ain’t necessarily so.

We have long argued that the “Whisky Regions of Scotland”, still promoted by some, are a pointless classification when determining taste profiles. To continue to try and persuade the world that Islay malts are “strong peaty” and “unmistakeably powerful” (sic) may be useful to the simplistic marketing departments of large corporations, but it does nothing to support the complexity of Islay’s malts.

For the absence of doubt, the Islay distilleries at Bunnahabhain, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich and even Caol Ila all produce unpeated, or very lightly peated malts.  Some of the time.  Some of us produce quite a lot of them – our Bruichladdich single malts are entirely unpeated, light, delicate and floral. We all also produce peated malts including, for our part, Octomore, the most heavily peated whisky in the world.



** This is an amended version of the original article. See notes below. **

We recently published this article with a slightly different tone, one in which we challenged the sentiment behind a review of the Laddie Classic, written by Angelo, the Australian blogger behind Malt Mileage, and his seeming notion that Islay whisky is synonymous with peat, something we reject.

Angelo, quite rightly, penned his own defence – he had not meant this at all. The Australian Distant Thunder Whisky Club drummed up their troops in support. Dust rose on the horizon. War with the Antipodes looked inevitable.

We met on neutral ground. Talks ensued, the misunderstanding came to light. The offending article was edited accordingly, armageddon averted, harmony restored.

Angelo, our apologies for the misunderstanding. We have many Australian friends and would like to make more. Keep up the good work.


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