If you’ve never have done a mystery review, you’re missing out. And while I haven’t received a mystery dram from a swap yet, my wife decided she’d be picking a Scotch for me to drink, and didn’t share the name with me. She did share it with everyone else at the table, which only made them giggle.

Have you ever heard of Smokehead? Because honestly, I hadn’t. And when you smell smoke on your whisky, guess correctly that it’s an Islay, and then go over EVERY single distillery on the small island, while others are laughing and telling you you’re wrong, it’s a little bit of a mind fuck.

To make things even rougher, I may have been right. The distillery that makes Smokehead is anonymous, so I may have guessed them and no one will know. I’d wager it’s Caol Ila. Has anyone ever figured it out?

Price: $59.95 (CAD)

Region: Islay

Abv: 43%

Colour: White wine

Nose: Smoke, lemon, light, herbal, pepper

This is quite light. You can get the smoke, pepper, and lemon, though it takes quite a long time. At this point I could identify it as an Islay. And at first I even thought my wife had gotten me Black Bottle or a Kilchoman that I couldn’t remember the name of.

Taste: Salt, burn, lemon, moss, grape juice, malt, pear, cream

Very creamy malt, though the smoke has left. It’s mostly burn mixed with a little creaminess. At this point I’m completely stumped. I’ve been told that it’s one I’ve never reviewed, which blows my mind. What is it! Has my memory been wiped by age, the sun, and perhaps alcohol?

Finish: Cocoa, earthy, apples, smoke, bacon, cinnamon

Medium length, very earthy, and the smoke comes back in the finish. It almost reads like an “Idiots guide to Islay”, as it hits all the notes it needs to. It’s nice, though still quite light and not too complex. I could see having this as my weekly drink

Conclusion: This is one of the last Islay’s I’m planning on reviewing for awhile. Not that I don’t like Islays, I love them. I think it’s time to stretch my tastebuds a little bit beyond peat and smoke.

I’d say this is a good start for a Scotch. The website says it has fruity/sherry to it, but I don’t really get that. It’s more just an Islay Scotch. Reminds me of a slightly better Dun Bheagan 2002, as it’s a little more balanced. Try it at a bar.


Scotch reviews #42, Islay reviews #18, Whisky Network reviews #55

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