Peat is so much more than compressed rotting plant material — it’s also a biofuel. But more importantly, peat is one of the chief reasons your scotch tastes so good. No, your booze wasn’t infused with decomposing leaves, leave that to the crazy artisans. Rather, the malted barley it was distilled from was dried over smoky fires fueled by peat, and absorbed its distinctive flavor. 

Burns Night, January 25th, is a holiday devoted to drinking scotch. Celebrated each year on the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns, Burns Night (or a Burns Supper) involves eating haggis, getting tipsy on the good stuff (save your peatiest for Burns Night — he would have wanted it that way) and reading a few of the Bard’s great works.

Use today’s Word of the Day: All Hail The Scottish Whisky Flavor Map