Mile High Spirits Fireside Single Malt Peated Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

One of my favorite whiskey categories is American Single Malts. They’re far different than Scotch, Irish, or other single malt whiskeys from around the world. However, one thing saddens me; although more and more distilleries are producing it, too few tinker with peat.


If you’re unfamiliar with peat, it imparts flavors of barbeque, smoke, ash, etc.; all the things people assume make Scotch Scotch. Peat is really peat moss that is harvested from cooler marshy areas. Every peat bog is unique, formed naturally from decomposing plants. It all depends on what plants are in the immediate area.


Once harvested, the peat is burned, which isn’t unique to whiskey. The peat is used to halt the germination process from malting the barley. The “peaty” qualities in the whiskey come from the smoke in the burning process. Think of being near a campfire; your clothes still smell like a campfire after you leave. It’s the same process with the barley.


I’ve had some fantastic peated American Single Malts. Interestingly, I’ve had some terrific ones from Colorado, where today’s whiskey heralds from. It comes from Mile High Spirits in Denver. I’ve reviewed a handful of its whiskeys and have been impressed. The distillery was kind enough to send me a bottle of Fireside Single Malt Peated Whiskey in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Mile High Spirits internally refers to this whiskey as SSASM, which stands for Scottish Style American Single Malt. They took peated malted barley and married it to caramel malt, crystal 120 malt, black malt, and Melodian malt. It rested five years in oak and is packaged at 58.5% ABV (117°). This SSASM is a single barrel whiskey; my sample is from barrel 18j11.1c2. A 750ml bottle has a suggested price of $65.00.


Let’s #DrinkCurious and discover how this whiskey holds up.


Appearance: I poured this SSASM into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. It possessed a dark cherry color. A medium rim dispensed slow, syrupy tears.


Nose: When I opened the bottle, the smell of smoky peat filled my whiskey library. I allowed it to rest in my glass for about 15 minutes. By the time I was ready to sip, that had fallen off and was closer to that barbeque smell I had alluded to earlier. It was joined by brown sugar, caramel, cocoa, and plums. Drawing the air through my lips, I encountered smoky chocolate.  


Palate: The full-bodied, buttery texture filled my mouth. The front of my palate discovered salted caramel, smoke, and dark chocolate. Midway through, it turned sweet with dried cherries, dark raisins, and apricots. The back featured brioche, vanilla cream, and clove.


Finish: The finish was as if you pulled the pin from a caramel grenade and took cover. Vanilla cream, clove, oak, and chocolate remained for a long-lasting, lovely finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: With the first sip, it was warm enough to accept the stated proof. However, once that palate shock dispersed, additional sips caused me to recheck the label to ensure it was really 117°. It became surprisingly easy to sip, and the more I did, the butterier that texture became. The salted caramel notes shined brightly from start to finish. I found myself pouring a second glass. While it is a Scotch-style whiskey, it didn’t taste like any Scotch I can think of.


For fun, I took a sip of Boulder Spirits Peated American Single Malt, the winner of my 2021 Best American Single Malt, to try these side-by-side. They had two completely different peat profiles. The Boulder Spirits expression’s peat was far softer.


I’ll close this out by saying I loved everything about Mile High Spirits Fireside Single Malt Peated Whiskey. It earns every bit of my Bottle rating, and one to keep in mind come December. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.




  1. Oh nice! This sounds delicious for the peat-head!


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