I was recently invited to a whisky tasting at a fellow whiskyphile’s abode where I was introduced to a brand that was completely unknown to me. The Smokehead whisky is a relative newcomer and, combined with its obscurity, immediately aroused my interest. I assumed that the name referenced the main quality of the spirit and was eager to taste it and compare against some of my other recent peated finds. This product is bottled at 43% abv and comes with no age statement. The little research I did on the subject suggests that the whisky is aged to about 7 or 8 years by Ian Mcleod distillery.
The whisky is yellow in colour and ranges towards gold. The thick, slow running legs combine with the colour to give the impression of a very rich whisky when held against the light.
On the nose, the smoke and peat are obvious. An underlying current of sweet comes across in the form of light honey and fresh fruit.
On the palate, and explosion of pepper introduces the main event of peat complimented by faint sweet notes hinting of pear and caramel.
Adding just a bit of water in this one opens it up considerably.
The nose becomes more salty and seaweed comes through clearly.
The palate opens up and becomes more sweet. The salt and seaweed from the nose continues to be felt and fits in perfectly with the smoke and peat. I didn’t catch the seaweed without the water, but perhaps it was always there. Subsequent tastings should allow me to confirm whether I missed this the first time around.
The finish becomes more extended, the salt linking the various stages of the tasting. The wood and smoke remain strong but are joined by the unmistakeably strong sensation of iodine.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this whisky. Perfect for a cold, rainy evening. Even better sitting outside under an awning, keeping warm with the whisky in hand against a cool breeze. This is a strong, full, and intense whisky which I sipped slowly during the course of the evening. A nice find, the LCBO currently lists it at just about $60 a bottle. The SAQ does not carry it as of this writing nor could I locate it in New Hampshire.