A Guide To Smoked Whiskeys

smoked bourbon whiskey

If you are looking for something smoky for a perfect  BBQ, a cozy campfire, or lush mezcal, then you will surely love smoked whiskey in your menu list. Any scotch lover will love this idea for sure.

Generally derived from peat which is a compressed form of ancient, decomposed plant matter burned in some drying processes for malted barley, this smoky flavor has evolved as a signature of Scottish whisky. The Scots do not hold the sole on smoky whiskey, though. Producers worldwide have embraced the significance of smoky notes in their bottles.

Let's look at some of the different types of whiskeys and the reasons for the immense popularity of bourbon whiskey among whiskey enthusiasts.

What are the different types of whiskeys?

Though there are many different types of whiskeys, each has its unique characteristics and flavor profile. Some of the most common types of whiskey include:

Bourbon whiskey

Made from at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years, and produced in the United States.

Scotch whiskey

It is typically made from malted barley, aged in oak barrels for at least three years, and produced in Scotland.

Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey is made in Ireland, generally from a blend of malted and unmalted barley, and aged in oak barrels for at least three years.

 Rye whiskey

Rye whiskey is created from at least 51% rye, aged in oak barrels for at least two years, and produced in the United States.

 Japanese whiskey

As the name suggests, this whiskey belongs to Japan, typically made from a blend of malted barley and other grains and aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years.

Why is smoked bourbon  whiskey so popular?

Smoked bourbon whiskey is gaining immense popularity for several reasons.

Smoky flavor

Firstly, the unique smoky flavor adds a new dimension to traditional bourbon whiskey. The pronounced smoky flavor makes it perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks.

Unique process

Secondly, the method of producing smoked bourbon whiskey is unique because it imparts a unique aroma and taste, making it stand out from other types of whiskey. This unique flavor profile is appealing to whiskey enthusiasts who are looking to boost their palate. Smoked bourbon whiskey is made by aging bourbon whiskey in barrels that have been smoked with various types of wood, such as mesquite, hickory, or applewood. The result is a whiskey with a smoky, complex flavor that is unlike any other.


Another important reason is the versatility of smoked bourbon as you can use it in various cocktails. The smoky flavor of the whiskey can complement a variety of flavors, making it perfect for mixed drinks and a popular choice among mixologists and bartenders. The aroma of smoked bourbon whiskey is also unique, with notes of smoky wood, caramel, and vanilla, making it smooth and rich, with a long finish that lingers on the tongue.

What are the top smokey whiskeys you must try?

No matter if you are a scotch lover or you are unable to resist a hint of smoke in your glass, these brands will satisfy all of those toasty flavor cravings.

Ardbeg 10 Years

When you think of smoke, there may be no scotch brand more associated than Ardbeg. This single malt from Islay delivers a significant dose of peat flavor yet finds a balance with sweet malt notes for a sip that will please any smoke lover.

Bruichladdich Octomore 11.3

Octomore is among the "super-heavily peated" whisky. Each riff plays with the rules, framing a unique bottling, with the through-line, of course, being smoked. This bottle is produced from barley grown in a single field on Islay.

Nikka Yoichi Single Malt

Japan has long grabbed strings from Scotland for its whiskey practices. This whiskey originates from Nikka's first distillery, Yoichi, built-in 1934 in Hokkaido due to the environmental conditions evoked in Scotland. It also tends to be one of the smokiest Japanese whiskies on the market, thanks to its immediate coal-fired distillation process.

Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Produced from malted barley that has been cold smoked and then dried over a peat fire, Laphroaig has shown up iconic for its unique and divisive taste. Blended in with the intense smokiness, expect to discover vaguely herbaceous, saline notes of seaweed, whereas aging in ex-bourbon barrels provides the spirit an appealing sweetness.

Hakushu 12 Year

For a softer smoke experience, this Japanese whiskey has a profile filled with nuttiness and herbaceousness that delivers a fresh flavor that will uplift even those cautious of smoky whiskey.


Finally, If you want something challenging to sip or an excellent mix for cocktails, smoked bourbon whiskey will be the best option.  These spirits are not just good bottles to take place on your shelf but also perfect manifestations to enjoy, irrespective of the occasion.

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