Many peat-smoked whiskies state the phenol parts per million (ppm) of the malted barley on their label, suggesting that the higher the ppm the greater the smoke intensity. While it represents a useful indicator, remember that ppm is a measure of the raw material—not the finished liquid. The final smoke impact is further shaped by decisions made at the points of distillation, maturation, and blending. (For an insightful explanation of this process, check out our interview with Bruichladdich head distiller Adam Hannett.) Ready to explore the range of peatiness for yourself? Taste through these whiskies and accelerate your appreciation.
From 0 to 300: Find Your Perfect PPM
0 ppm—Hazelburn 10 year old
Pears, toffee, herbal tobacco, cinnamon, vanilla, and cocoa powder.
<1 ppm—Old Pulteney 12 year old
Almonds, honey, and nuts with wood spices.
0.5-2 ppm—Bunnahabhain 12 year old
Nutty, toffee, light molasses, vanilla fudge, citrus, dark berries, and a hint of brine.
12-13 ppm—Ardmore Traditional
Sweet notes of toffee and caramel, damp, earthy peat, and bourbon-like notes.
12-20 ppm—Kilchoman 100% Islay
Smoke, lemon curd, vanilla, allspice, baked apples, dark chocolate, and nutty oak.
15 ppm—Tomatin Cù Bòcan
Lemonade, coconut, malt, and honey, plus cinnamon and cloves.
15-25 ppm—Springbank 10 year old
Citrus fruit, cereal, and mildly smoky oak, as well as vanilla toffee, cedar wood, hazelnuts, and coconut.
20 ppm—Arran Machrie Moor
Peat, spicy malt, toffee, lemon, nuts, and chocolate.
20 ppm—Highland Park 12 year old
Fragrant and floral, with hints of heather and spice, as well as honey, citrus fruits, and malt.
25-30 ppm—Bowmore 15 year old
Lush fruit, raisin, pot-still rum, Heath bars, citrus, and wood spices.
30 ppm—Balvenie Peat Week 2003
Islay-like phenols, sweet floral notes, vanilla, citrus fruits, and honey.
35-45 ppm—Ledaig 10 year old
Ripe barley, honeyed vanilla, black licorice stick, espresso bean, and olive brine.
40 ppm—Port Charlotte 10 year old
Maritime notes, with sweet caramel, coconut, and orchard fruits.
40-50 ppm—Laphroaig 10 year old
Iodine, charcoal, seaweed, black pepper, fruit, vanilla, caramel, and sweet oak.
45 ppm—BenRiach 10 year old Curiositas
Earthy peat, hot road tar, honey, tropical and dried fruits, allspice, and oak.
45 ppm—Glenglassaugh Torfa
Heathery peat with dried fruits, malt, cream soda, ripe peaches, chili, and ginger.
50 ppm—Kilchoman Machir Bay
Smoke, sea-washed rock, light flowers, and hot sand; sweet and smoky, with a chalky edge.
55 ppm—Ardbeg 10 year old
Smoked haddock, citrus fruits, milk chocolate, pipe tobacco, black coffee, and licorice.
80 ppm—Longrow 18 year old
Sweet vanilla, ripe apple, chimney soot, charcuterie, licorice, coffee beans, brine, and chili.
>100 ppm—Ardbeg Supernova
Minty and sweet spice, seaweed, smoked fish, and dried grasses.
131 ppm—Octomore 1.1
Cigar smoke and ash, licorice root, bacon fat, Kalamata olive, orchard fruit, honeyed malt, brine, and soft vanilla.
258 ppm—Octomore 6.3
Coastal brine, mint, thyme, grapes, cherries, chocolate, and oak.
309 ppm—Octomore 8.3
Barbecue smokiness, citrus fruit, earthy peat, full-bodied red wine, milk chocolate, ginger, and chili.