The 6 Smokiest Scotch Whiskies You Can Buy

The 6 Smokiest Scotch Whiskies You Can Buy

The word “Whisky” comes from the “Gaelic” word meaning “water” or “water of life”…. Just goes to show how important it is to some people.

That’s why we decided here at to put together this useful list of the 6 most smokey whiskies on the market. These single malt scotch whiskies come from the Islay region which is a small island off the coast of Scotland. Situated on the southeastern coast of the island this region offers highly smokey whiskies due to the rich peaty soil that affects the barley and the water they use.

Scotch whisky fits into 4 distinct categories of flavor, aroma and body. Light, delicate, rich and smokey. You can get more information about this and see this unique flavor map for yourself at Today we are concentrating on single malt whiskies that fit into the smokey category. When it comes to whisky, as with anything, it’s all about personal taste. Some people just love a full bodied, smokey malt over ice while others prefer a more delicate, sweet malt.

There are only a handful of distilleries in the southeastern Islay area who make the smokey stuff. Here we are listing the top 6 with a little detail as to their unique charachter. We hope that by the time you are done reading you will know everything you ever need to know about smokey whiskies.

1 Ardbeg

A classic among Islay malts, world renowned for its heavy, smokey aroma and taste. Light gold in color Ardbeg is non chill-filtered and with an ABV of 46% packs quite a punch to the palate. Typically a ten year old malt there are older and even smokier varieties available from the Ardbeg distillery.

Aroma: Peat infused intense and fruity accompanied by citrus tones and dark chocolate.

Taste: Peaty, tangy lemon-lime juice, black pepper, cinnamon, toffee sweetness.

2 Laphroaig

Very similar in character and smell to Ardbeg this whiskey is a wonderfully rich and peaty single malt. With the main ingredients consisting of barley, yeast and water Laphroaig is considered to be one of the stronger Islay malts and the distillery has been making this delicious amber nectar since 1815.

Aroma: Heavily smoky, seaweed almost medicinal nose with slight hints of sweetness.

Taste: Seaweed-led, salty, slight vanilla taste on the palate with cardamom and chilli. Big and drying finish.

3 Caol ila

A classic among Islay malts Caol Ila has a range of fine whiskies of varying ages and strengths. The 12 year is a pale straw color and offers a much lighter, more sweet smokiness on the nose and palate. Often enjoyed with a cube of ice or a few drops of water just to open up the flavor Caol Ila is loved and enjoyed by many a whisky connoisseur.

Aroma: A fresh and subdued nose with almost no trace of smokiness. a light fruity aroma with olive oil and almonds

Taste: Sweet at first but also salty. A delicate balance of flavors which drinks well at natural strength Best summed up as a sweet smokiness with a slight sour finish.

4 Talisker

This distillery offers a wide range of whiskies from young to old. While still considered to be a smoky whisky Talisker, made on the Isle of Skye is mild, sweet and delicate. The initial flavors are fruity and sweet but the finish is smokey making it a very popular single malt whisky.

Aroma: A Strong peat-Smoke mix with sea water tones and saltiness.

Taste: Offering a very strong barley-malt flavor. A kind of dried fruit type sweetness mixed with a burst of smoke, warming and peppery to the back of the throat.

5 Lagavulin

A typical southern Islay malt. This much sought after 16 year classic is a delight for the discerning palate. Typically loved for it’s peat-smoke tones and dryness Lagavulin is a deep and complex whisky, slightly older than some of it’s counterparts and always a winner amongst whisky drinkers.

Aroma: A deep amber gold color and rich peat-smoke aroma with hints of iodine and seaweed.

Taste: Very thick and rich with a mouthful of sherry and malt. Figs, Dates and vanilla run through the notes and the finish is bold and oaky.

6 Highland Park

Known to be one of the fresher and more aromatic malts Highland Park is loved by many. A very refreshing dram that is popular as a staple in many a whisky cabinet. Sweet notes from start to finish make this a great drink for a summers day or after a long day at work.

Aroma: Floral notes blended with sweet grassiness with notes of honey, citrus and cream.

Taste: A full and deep palate with orangey flavors mixed with with green tea and jasmine. A sweet taste throughout finished with some spicy pepper.