Smokehead is a superb, cult single malt from Ian MacLeod. Just a massive, thick peat smoke rich dram. Plenty of great south Islay character.
Nose: Smoke! Lapsang souchong. Cool wood smoke. Thick and full.
Palate: Big, puckering peat. Smoky, fruity sweetness, touch of sherry, sultana. Herbal.
Finish: Herbal, tangy fruits and more peat smoke!
The nose on this scotch is Shirley Mason--smoke and fruit and caramel and spice and iodine all fighting for prominence. What tends to dominate ever so slightly is an almost cheap tequila-esque medicinal quality, not pleasant but not abhorrent.
On the palate, however, this is a great QPR islay peated scotch. In fact, I'd wager you won't find anything as good in the range other than Ardbeg or Laphroig. Smoother than it has any right to be, it is rich and caramely and heavily smoked with just a hint of fruit. Enjoyable; not quite at the Lagavulin 16 level, but let's say cousins. Close cousins. Appalachian cousins.
Someone earlier mentioned pouring it over ice in a negative review--do NOT pour this over ice. This is one of those scotches that really, really suffers from being diluted. Drink it straight and pay little heed to the nose and you will likely enjoy it.
30th April 2015
single malt scotch and more importantly , islay single malt is a luxury item . when you buy this luxury item, you get what you pay for . is smokehead amazing ? well that is completely dependent on what you compare it to . for 34$ it's pretty great , is it a ten yr brander, or a 12 yr solid , of course not . it is a young and fun inexpensive super peaty islay. I support any authentic islay , and smokehead is a budget friendly , young islay.
19th February 2015
I left a review of this scotch earlier that I want to correct. I spent some time sipping on the scotch and I gradually fell in love with it. It reminds me of a Bowmore/Ardbeg mix. It is very easy to drink and has a great fruity sweetness combined with a punch of smoke. It has moved into my top 5 scotches that are $60 and under. Do not buy this scotch if you don't like Islay scotchs. If you don't like Ardbeg or Laphroaig then don't bother buying this heavyhitter...stay home and sip on your Dewars.
18th February 2015
Not a fan
I love my peaty/smoky scotchs..I have Ardbeg 10, Lagavullin 12 (2012), Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig Triple wood, Longrow, Bowmore, Ardmore, and many others...but Smokehead is nowhere near the flavor as these. Smokehead has a sherry flavor that I wasn't anticipating. It has an ok nose and a you can tell it's a young Islay (I am guessing a 7 year). I will keep the bottle because it looks nice, but won't be buying another anytime soon.
16th February 2015
I was very excited to try this scotch. I read many reviews and I wanted to add another Islay to my collection. The nose on this scotch is not good at all. I was shocked how simple but yet rough this scotch was. This is not even in the same level as Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavullin, etc. I have read that this is a 7 year old Arbeg from several different websites. Overall this was very disappointing. Was a major letdown. I know this was a young scotch when I bought it, but I found out the hard way that "young" is not a desirable scotch characteristic.
15th February 2015
Nice container and label. Poured on chopped ice. Went to take a sip and all I got was campire burnt wood smell in my nose. Tasted like someone shoveled campfire ashes into the scotch. Awful. Undrinkable, even with a mixer. There goes $50 down the drain.