Have you ever wondered just how much peat affects the flavour of Whisky?
For the most part, it is one of the more obvious flavours in a dram, but it can also be one of the most complex.
This is an idea being explored by Little Brown Dog, who goes by the name Andrew Smith, when he’s not on Twitter.
Smith’s hypothesis is that peat is not a singular flavour, but rather, is a complex and multi-faceted flavour that changes depending on the region it is from.
In order to test this hypothesis, he has enlisted the help of Twitter followers and Whisky admirers.
One of the most intriguing parts of ProjectPEAT is that Smith supplies thos taking part with actual peat, so that they get the chance to burn it for themselves and actually experience the aromas that come out of it.
This is a wonderful chance to get up close and personal with some peat and understand just how different it can be depending on region.
Smith also provides tools for burning the peat, including a blowtorch and fireproof tile. This is the perfect opportunity to compare the peats against each other and understand the different flavours that come out of each.
This knowledge can then be applied to tasting actual Whisky, as knowledge of the aromas of the original peat will inform the flavours that can be deciphered in the tasting of peated Whisky.
Smith also encourages exploration of how smoke affects Whisky and has created a controlled experiment to allow those taking part in to taste some Whisky peated with the same peat included in the first part of the experiment.
He took a finishing cask and filled it with Glenfarclas 105, an unpeated Whisky. After leaving it for a month, he allowed the casks to dry and then used a food smoker to burn the peat and put the smoke into the cask, before sealing it and leaving it for a month. After a month he filled it with more Glenfarclas 105.
He includes samples of both the smoked and unsmoked Glenfarclas in ProjectPEAT kit to give those taking part the chance to decipher for themselves whether this method of peating has worked, and if the peat smoke can be absorbed through the wood of the cask.
This is a truly remarkable experiment that educates and allows for exploration into a flavour that is all too often dismissed as being singular.
It gives you the chance to learn more about peat and the flavour that it gives off.
If you want to know more, follow Little Brown Dog or the projectPEAT hashtag on Twitter or take a look at this blog to find out how the experiments went!