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Smokehead

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Smokehead

Postby Mr Ellen » Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:35 pm

Has anyone tried this one yet?

http://www.royalmilewhiskies.com/produc ... SZZ8KULKUD

It's supposed to be from one of the big southern Islay distilleries. All comments or tasting notes are appreciated.

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Postby kallaskander » Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:15 am

Hi there,

no, not this one but I´d venture to say it is a Talisker. Ian MacLeod has bottled Talisker before and Clan MacLeod is one of two clans from the Ilse of Skye. That speaks for good connections.

Greetings
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:27 am

Hi Kallaskander,
It's definitely an Islay (it says on the picture of the label on RMW site ) , it only states "with a big South Islay style" so i'd put money on a Caol Ila ....
a) because it can taste like the South Shore 3.
b)because there seems to be a lot of it floating around at the moment !

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Smokehead

Postby james_smith » Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:03 pm

You might be interested in this web site:

http://www.smokehead.co.uk

Cheers

James
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Postby ikendal » Mon Feb 20, 2006 7:55 pm

Nose:
Heavy smoke and peat. Amazing richness. Lemon, fresh ginger, plum jam. Salty and spicy.

Body:
Like a cannonball - hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness then explodes with peppery spice and more earthy peat. Spreads to all the areas of your mouth with more peat and light sweetness.

Finish:
Even more peat, spice, mandarin - then dries up. When you think it’s all over the peat comes back to hit you again.

Impresssion:
A rollercoaster of peat and spice with some delicate sweetness.

Taken direct from website shown above
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Postby Mr Ellen » Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:10 pm

Yes, I see that they have finally launched the website. In the meantime I have also been able to taste the whisky and IT IS indeed a very typical Islay, with all the attributes they claim on the website. It's peaty, seaweedy and all that. It's damn good whisky and I had to buy 2 bottles as soon as i had tried it.
However, I would still like to know who makes it. It's still a mystery. 8) So if anyone here can figure it out...please let us know a.s.a.p.

In the meantime...Cheers
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Postby robs42 » Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:40 pm

This whole issue prompts a puzzling question - why are bottlers/distillery owners sometimes so anally secretive about their whiskies? Maybe it's because they know that if people can buy the young verision of their whisky they wont bother spending excessive amounts of money on the 16yo (oops).
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Postby karlejnar » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:10 am

They don't have a 16yo Caol Ila - at least not an OB. I'd agree with Gordon here, that it's most likely a Caol Ila. I've also had quite a few CI's with a south Islay style in the nose and tasting.

A friend of mine has just tasted it, and he too is sure it's a Caol Ila.

Bear in mind that CI and Lagavulin uses the same malted barley (35ppm phenol level) so they should be able to achieve the same peatiness. It's maybe just a matter of adjusting the middle-cut and filling the stills a bit more.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:43 am

robs42 wrote:This whole issue prompts a puzzling question - why are bottlers/distillery owners sometimes so anally secretive about their whiskies? Maybe it's because they know that if people can buy the young verision of their whisky they wont bother spending excessive amounts of money on the 16yo (oops).


In many cases, it's because the actual malt used may be subject to change. In others, it's probably a condition the distillery puts on the sale of the goods, to prevent undercutting the OB (as you surmise). And in the case of many of these "south coast style" Islays, it's because they want you to think it's Lagavulin, which has a big reputation, rather than Caol Ila, which until recently had no reputation at all. Seems to work, too.
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:21 am

[quote="MrTattieHeid:
In many cases, it's because the actual malt used may be subject to change. In others, it's probably a condition the distillery puts on the sale of the goods, to prevent undercutting the OB (as you surmise). And in the case of many of these "south coast style" Islays, it's because they want you to think it's Lagavulin, which has a big reputation, rather than Caol Ila, which until recently had no reputation at all. Seems to work, too.[/quote]

Is it any wonder when Lagavulin is so consistantly exempliary and Caol Ila it's equal in character, yet not consistancy. Alas hit or miss quality of bottlings still bear the same heavy price-tag. :(
Don't get me wrong even their "off-bottlings" are are darn fine whiskys.
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Postby robs42 » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:45 pm

OK guys, you didn't quite get my point when I hinted at the Lagavulin earlier - I actually have it from a very good source in the industry that it actually is young Lagavulin. You have to bear in mind that there is much more whisky being produced at Lagavulin now than there was 16 years ago and why shouldn't young lagavulin taste similar to Caol Ila, especially if its been in bourbon casks?
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:09 pm

robs42 wrote:OK guys, you didn't quite get my point when I hinted at the Lagavulin earlier - I actually have it from a very good source in the industry that it actually is young Lagavulin. You have to bear in mind that there is much more whisky being produced at Lagavulin now than there was 16 years ago and why shouldn't young lagavulin taste similar to Caol Ila, especially if its been in bourbon casks?


After having a bottle of Laga CS and C.I. CS opened at the same time i must agree with you, the difference would be close to negligable if any.
It is however a more culpable scenario that the "Bigsmoke" originated from C.I., but your source may be right.
After having read more about the Bigsmoke it is unlikely that this info is going to surface anytime soon, and i am chagrinned that this whisky will be added to the long list of good bottlings that are not available at the LCBO. :cry:
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Postby MGillespie » Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:23 am

Guys...have an interview on this with one of the folks from Ian Macleod in WhiskyCast episode 24...in case you're interested!

Mark
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Postby Skauge » Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:35 pm

I've tried it now, and this is so heavily smoked that it's got to be an Ardbeg. But of course, I could be wrong. :)

It's very full-bodied and oily.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:56 pm

:) Welcome to the forum Bjørn. I can't wait to taste it myself as I've heard a lot of good things about it. And why not Ardbeg - after all one would think the new owners need to capitalise on the new stocks after purchasing Glenmorangie plc.

Btw, great site you run!

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Postby MGillespie » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:22 am

Welcome, Bjorn...I can't wait until this makes it to the States to give it a try!

If I could read Norwegian, I'd second Christian's thoughts about your web site! I'll do the next best thing and add a link from the WhiskyCast web site...

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Postby Mr Ellen » Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:29 pm

Regarding the Smokehead I just received these news from a german onlinedealer...quite interesting, specially for all you Ardbeg fans out there.. :D

http://www.maltsandmore.de/catalog/prod ... cts_id=889

I have also seen they state that it's an Ardbeg on several eBay auctions.
Now, buy it...it's an excellent whisky!! :wink:

Cheers
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Postby SpiritofShetland » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:38 pm

A friend of mine who's close with some Islay-whiskypeople (can't name names I'm afraid) claims that Smokehead is sources from Bruichladdich (Port Cahrlotte-make).
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Postby Di Blasi » Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:17 am

Nice to see more discussions on the Smokehead! It's good! Definitely smoky, and sweet too. Easy drinking for a regular "smokehead," which is what Iain Weir from Ian Macleod respectfully calls us big fans of smoky Islays. And for new drinkers of whisky and smoky ones as well, it appeals perhaps with the sweetness. Do be careful, or not, cause it does go down easy! For a few days I thought definitely Very Young Ardbeg, of course brought down to 43%, because of the fresh fruitiness. Then I thought perhaps Caol Ila, cause they've been discussing doing smoky stuff. And perhaps Bunnahabbain for the same reason. Then I too thought for sure, new Bruichladdich Port Charlotte, or Octomore??! Must be! And that's exactly what Ian Macleod wants us to do!!! Get excited! Smell it, taste it, drink it! Discuss it! But most of all, enjoy it damnit! If we know what it is, our preconceived notions may allow us to not enjoy it completely. Try it!
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Postby kallaskander » Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:19 am

Hi there,

it is a 7 year old Ardbeg. My suggestion of it being a Talisker must have come from overreading the word Islay. Now, that makes me wonder ...

Greetings
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Postby Di Blasi » Mon Apr 10, 2006 10:00 am

I'm surprised at your knowing this, as NO ONE except for just merely a few on the inside know it. Or has it gotten out what it is, which of course has to at some time? Where did you get the information from??
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Postby kallaskander » Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:54 am

Hi there,

I attented the Whisky Fair in Limburg, Germany this weekend. There it was common knowledge it seems to me.

Greetings
kallaskander

PS The Whisky Fair was a whisky lovers paradise. The Whisky Exchange was represented by Sukinder Singh himself. I saw Serge Valentine and other maltmaniacs. In a way the two days were a bit overwhelming.
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Postby Di Blasi » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:06 am

Who else attended the whisky fair in Limburg?? Is it truly common knowledge in Germany now that it is Ardbeg??
I figured the word would get out about what distillery Smokehead is, but I thought it would be when we stopped asking, and sort of gave up, and decided to just enjoy it.
But I still wanna know!
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Postby SpiritofShetland » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:21 am

Problem is of course - since the name isn't stated. It could contain Caol Ila in a month or two, Bruichladdich (PC og Octomore) after that and Ardbeg after that again.
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Postby Jan » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:39 am

But is it actually confirmed by anyone in the know?

Or could it just be a rumour that has been repeated often enough to become accepted as fact ?

As far as I can decipher the text on the german website, they think it's an Ardbeg, based on it being good and tasting somewhat like ardbeg....

Cheers
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Smokehead

Postby Andy C » Sat May 06, 2006 11:23 am

After numerous tasting and conversation with the makers I can confirm it is Ardbeg. Ian Macleod also make Isle of Syke blend which contains lagavulin and I had assumed that this relationship would have meant that smokehead was Lagavulin.

My contact with the company would not confirm the age but I suspect it is a vatting of 7 / 8 year old with a good splash of 10+.

The marketing stratergy is to be able to move stock at a reasonable price without harming the Ardbeg brand.
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Sat May 06, 2006 2:15 pm

Andy C wrote:The marketing stratergy is to be able to move stock at a reasonable price without harming the Ardbeg brand.


Being the eternal Sceptic / Doubting Thomas, the marketing stratergy might be to say it's Ardbeg to be able to move reasonable Stock off the shelf !
(It certainly didn't taste like Ardbeg when i tried it at LFW....) .
This is another one to add to the Finlaggan / Ileach / Other un-named Islay Malts line of threads imo .

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Postby BruceCrichton » Sat May 06, 2006 7:30 pm

Skauge wrote:I've tried it now, and this is so heavily smoked that it's got to be an Ardbeg. But of course, I could be wrong. :)

It's very full-bodied and oily.


My good friend, A Source, tells me it's Ardbeg.

My friend owns a whisky shop in the highlands and took a tasting session with Smokehead in it.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun May 07, 2006 7:12 pm

That's very interesting! When SpiritofShetland asked me to smell what he had in his glass I immediatly suggested an Ardbeg........ (But then I've never trusted my sensoric skills - or lack of them when tasting blind) .

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Inside Line...

Postby suth100 » Sun May 28, 2006 2:21 pm

Ok folks, I am the bar manager of Cargo bar (see the smokehead website) i do all the cocktials for Smokehead, with my mixologists. When we were trying to invent the drinks we only had a very limited supply of the Smokehead as it had not been released...

Anyway we used a lauguvalin 16yr old as we were told they were very similar.

As for tasting notes, i would say the smokehead is signicantly younger and has less body to it than the above...

As for our cocktails try the Burnt Cherry Manhattan that Sarah invented its great...
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Postby Di Blasi » Sun May 28, 2006 4:41 pm

Hey suth100, nice to hear about Cargo Bar, and the drinks you and your staff are creating with Smokehead! Are you in the center of Edinburgh? I'll be over visiting the week of August 28. to September 3, and looking forward to visiting you and your place, and tasting some of those drinks! Do you have many other single malts to choose from?
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Postby suth100 » Mon May 29, 2006 12:01 pm

Hi

Unfortunalty Our friends at Smokehead missed the boat with our new cocktail list, We just did the stuff for them as a favour as we liked them!!! Anyway we do have the burnt cherry manhattan on our list, it just uses Johnny Walker as it is a smoother taste which appeals to more customers. If you want just as at the bar and say you want it with smokehead as you have seen the site and i'm sure the staff will sort you out!

We are located just of lothian Rd at fountainbridge. Its only about 5minutes walk from Princes Street, but if your unsure just jump in a cab.

James
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Postby TomG » Fri Nov 24, 2006 11:18 am

My local store claims it to be an Ardbeg.......
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:09 pm

I have seen many people claim it to be from various different distilleries, but as yet, I haven't tried it myself.

However, next Tuesday (28th Nov.) I have a rather unusual whisky tasting. I will line up just over 20 different whiskies, covering all styles, regions, tastes and attiributes for a mind-blowing tasting.
Each attendee will be able to design their own tasting with the 6 malts of their own choice.

Smokehead will be one of those on offer!
It will sit alongside other Islays such as Ardbeg Very Young, Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig QC, a Bunnahabhain, two different Caol Ilas and four Bruichladdichs (including the very new 3D3 !!!).

I will let you know what people say after the event.
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Postby corbuso » Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:13 pm

kallaskander wrote:Hi there,

it is a 7 year old Ardbeg. My suggestion of it being a Talisker must have come from overreading the word Islay. Now, that makes me wonder ...

Greetings
kallaskander


I only knew that it was Ardbeg, but didn't know it was a 7 YO. I haven't tried it, but would like to see how it differs from Big Smoke (a young Caol Ila).

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