Scotch is the broadest category of whiskey in terms of process, material, and region-based variations. Fun fact next time you’re drinking, Scotland alone has more distilleries than any other country in the world.
The assumption that Scotch is "smoky" is true generally true but not always. This smoky profile is a residue from the malt-making process where smoke from burnt peat is used to dry barley that has developed into a signature flavor enhancer.
Peaty vs. smoky whiskey. One of the most frequently asked questions about Scotch is the difference between peat and smoke. These are often used interchangeably, and often (wrongly) assume that one guesses the other. It is more refined to describe Scotch whiskey in terms of nose, palate, and finish.