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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!
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I bought this whisky on a whim, mainly because I love Islay whisky and spent a most enjoyable five days at the Laphraoig View guest house in 2014. I will not hazard a guess as to the Distillery from which this whisky came. I have sampled whiskies from all of the Islay distilleries and (of course) from Jura. I thoroughly enjoy Smokehead single malt and do not find it over smoky or over peated, I believe the balance is a satisfying one. the initial nose was pleasant and moderate, the texture, whilst holding the dram in my mouth, was smooth and the trip down my throat was enjoyable. The after-taste lingered for a while but without the upper head sensation I get from laphraoig. I would certainly purchase Smokehead again, mainly for its value for money. When my budget allows, I will stick to Laphraoig, Lagavullin, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhainn, Jura etc.
28th May 2016
I like a smokey peaty background to a malt but I felt this was like drinking smoke. It was overpowered by the smoke killing the background flavours
30th March 2016
A really smooth smokie,sweet fruity malt ,
20th December 2015
Too smoky for me to have neat. Need it over rocks for the musty scotch notes to come through. I have never been a scotch and milk drinker but this is outstanding over double french vanilla bean ice cream!
24th November 2015
Tastes like sub-10 Lagavulin. Very nice brine, kipper and seaweed encircled by medicinal peat and powerful smoke. All the best flavours of Islay in one bottle rounded off somewhat bluntly but not unpleasantly with some Oloroso sherry casking. Great buy, very moreish!
9th November 2015
Saw this, went out on a whim and got it for $40 CAD So for the price you're getting what you pay for, it tastes like a watery ardbeg, i guess hence its where its from. rumored to be a 6yr old arbeg and it sure tastes like itKind of disappointed, i expected more especially its bottled at 43%, but for the price its not too bad an ardbeg 10 costs $70 so its fair that this is $40. Overall its not too bad or undrinkable. Peaty and smoke style, a lot weaker than the bottling and name suggests, very watery body and medium finish. let me put it this way, For $40 i wouldn't buy this again. I feel that this is worth $30 top end, I'd take a teachers highland cream for $25 over this
17th August 2015
Unlike the over educated editors of previous posts, I thought this dram was outstanding.
23rd July 2015
thank you to the guy who gave it one star. that is exactly why i bought it!
4th June 2015
The nose on this scotch is Shirley Mason--smoke and fruit and caramel and spice and iodine all fighting for prominence. What tends to dominate ever so slightly is an almost cheap tequila-esque medicinal quality, not pleasant but not abhorrent.On the palate, however, this is a great QPR islay peated scotch. In fact, I'd wager you won't find anything as good in the range other than Ardbeg or Laphroig. Smoother than it has any right to be, it is rich and caramely and heavily smoked with just a hint of fruit. Enjoyable; not quite at the Lagavulin 16 level, but let's say cousins. Close cousins. Appalachian cousins.Someone earlier mentioned pouring it over ice in a negative review--do NOT pour this over ice. This is one of those scotches that really, really suffers from being diluted. Drink it straight and pay little heed to the nose and you will likely enjoy it.
30th April 2015
single malt scotch and more importantly , islay single malt is a luxury item . when you buy this luxury item, you get what you pay for . is smokehead amazing ? well that is completely dependent on what you compare it to . for 34$ 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
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
10th 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.
8th February 2015
I really like it. Much like the Peaty Proposition that I had not long ago. Only thing is, I simply cannot find an age on this stuff ANYWHERE! I really wish they would publish that information! Inquiring single malty minds would like to know.
27th December 2014
11th November 2014
TO HEAVY ON THE IODINE - SMELLS TERRIBLE AND TASTES EVEN WORSE. I'D SOONER DRINK JW BLACK STRAIGHT AND THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING FOR A SINGLE MALT DRINKER
13th October 2014
A big thick peat single malt just what i,ve been after
2nd October 2014
Big iodiney peat, smoke, warming sherry and fruit influences. Youthful. Enormously fun and bold. I'd bet good money that this is a young and competitively priced Caol Ila made in the style of their sister company Lagavulin.
31st January 2014
Heavy, rough, unpretentious and very very good.
24th October 2012
Howlicky was I? When I asked our local merchant what was the `peatiest`Islay he had, he produced an opened bottle of Smokehead and made me an instant convert,
22nd March 2012
I bought this on impulse on a cross channel ferry, not knowing the product I thought it might be a bit gimmicky. I wasn't disappointed though, it's a real peat monster and best of all they also sell it here!
28th November 2010
I first tasted Smokehead when a friend bought me a bottle back from Scotland, I think this is one of the best Islay malts, superb flavour real peaty but not to sharp.
16th January 2010