Since I'm venturing into cold smoking, I just ordered an A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker to use in my wine barrel smoker. Most of what I'll be doing will use hickory, apple, and what have you, but one other thing I'll be doing has me scratching my head. Apologies in advance for the long set-up:
I'm a craft distiller by trade, and I'd like to do some R&D for making a peated malt whisky (Scotch style) from scratch. I've malted my own barley with good results, but now I need to figure out a way to smoke the barley grains. In a traditional malt house, the freshly-sprouted malt is piled up deeply on the perforated floor of a room-sized smoker, and the warm smoke filters up from the furnace below, through the grain, drying it and infusing it with the flavor of the peat smoke. For my purposes I'll be oven-drying the grain, and I'm thinking of Frankensteining a rotisserie into a slowly rotating screen drum for the smoking part.
I've sourced the peat from Scotland, and the AMNPS seemed like a perfect solution for delivering the goods. My plan is to smash the peat down into dust (it's nearly as hard as wood) and mix it with some other smoking dust. Now, peat has a very strong and unique smell and flavor, but I'd like to minimize any non-peat characteristics as much as possible.
So, my question is: what do you guys think would be the most mildly-charactered smoking wood available in smoking dust or pellets?
Thanks for your input!