I’m not ashamed to admit it. I don’t like peated whiskies. I know exactly what you’re thinking. I don’t like them…YET. When I first started my whisky journey, people would constantly tell me that I’d eventually acquire a taste for it. I’ve tried over and over and over again through the years but when all is said and done, I still find myself highly sensitive to peated expressions.
I’ve tried offerings from many Islay distilleries and I have the same issue every time. The “iodine campfire Band-aid” smell and taste that comes from the phenol TCP is a huge turnoff to me. A bit of smoke isn’t a problem. In fact, I actually like some Highland Parks, Bruichladdichs, and OB Bunnahabhains. However, anything over a trace of peat is usually too much for me to handle. Some lightly peated expressions are tolerable, but I’d never reach for them over something unpeated.
Even expressions like Bruichladdich’s The Laddie Ten which claim to be “unpeated” seem to mess with my senses. Luckily, there are a ton of truly unpeated expressions out there. I actually think my love of unpeated expressions allows me to appreciate the details of “softer” whiskies that others might not notice. I love Speyside, Lowland, and most Highland whiskies so I’ll gladly leave the Ardbegs, Lagavulins, and Laphroaigs on the shelves for someone else to enjoy.