This whisky is the latest addition to the increasingly popular Smokehead range from Ian Macleod Distillers. The Islay single malt, which is sourced from an un-named distillery on the famous whisky island, has seen a finishing period in ex-rum barrels from the Caribbean. It was launched in time to celebrate International Rum Day on August 16th. It joins the Smokehead Original, High Voltage and Sherry Bomb expressions in the core domestic range and the Extra Rare and Rum Riot in the travel retail range. All carry no age statement.
Smokehead is an Islay single malt brand that is owned and bottled by Iain Macleod Distillers. The company also own the Glengoyne, Rosebank and Tamdhu single malt distilleries. Smokehead was first released in 2006 and stirred up the whisky category at the time with its then unconventional look and contemporary packaging. This has since had a revamp a couple of years ago and continues to be innovative.
The Smokehead Rum Rebel is bottled at 46% ABV and will be available at selected UK whisky specialists and via www.smokehead.com. A bottle will cost £55/ $72 US.
Our tasting notes
The colour is a vibrant golden yellow and the nose has plenty of peat smoke and sweetness. The smoky aromas have a drying, almost ashy quality to them with an underlying malty and biscuit-like quality. These are joined by sweet golden syrup and honey aromas, along with juicy sultanas and hints of tropical fruit (especially tinned pineapple) and marshmallow.
What's the verdict?
This is an impressive addition to the Smokehead range and a whisky that certainly lives up to its punchy branding and marketing. That said, it is not just all about the peat smoke - there is plenty of depth and complexity and the rum cask finish has clearly added a juicy fruitiness and vibrancy. This compliments the ashy smoke and makes you wonder why more brands have not tried the combination. A very enjoyable single malt and a 'must try' for the peaty whisky fans out there.