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 !
Heavy smoke and peat. Amazing richness. Lemon, fresh ginger, plum jam. Salty and spicy.
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.
Even more peat, spice, mandarin - then dries up. When you think its all over the peat comes back to hit you again.
A rollercoaster of peat and spice with some delicate sweetness.
Taken direct from website shown above
However, I would still like to know who makes it. It's still a mystery. So if anyone here can figure it out...please let us know a.s.a.p.
In the meantime...Cheers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
I attented the Whisky Fair in Limburg, Germany this weekend. There it was common knowledge it seems to me.
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.
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!
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.
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 .
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...
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.
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.
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 ...
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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