Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SMOKEHEAD SKULL! Oh yeah that's actually what it's called...


These are words written in bone on a human skull with plumes of smoke pouring off of it.  Oh yeah, that's some serious beastly marketing madness right there.  We dig it.

What is it?

Smokehead is an independent Islay bottling from Ian Macleod Distillers.  Despite the name, Ian Macleod is not a distillery, rather an importer who supplies a range of spirits to European supermarkets.  There's not a lot of information given, such as no age statement on the bottle, and no clue as to the actual distillery except that it's Islay.  Most people seem to think it's a young Ardbeg which sounds about right.

Tasting Notes

Nose:  Good & smoky. Nice coastal smoke like a young and fiery Ardbeg or Laphroaig. A lot of salt. Some little chocolates, chocolate covered peanuts maybe. Little bit of wood and tiny bit of leather.

Palate: Smoky, but overall pretty light with a thin mouthfeel.

Finish:  Drifting, light to medium smoke, no burn, generally a nice finish.

Also makes a pretty sweet Les Paul...


Great bottle, good whisky. We share a soft spot for smoke heads.  This one comes in around $50 which may be a little high considering that Ardbeg 10 is around the same price, and it's... well... ten years old.  But hey this is a fun little whiskey that comes in a bad-ass bottle in a sweet tube and will impress your friends.  Like for example, if someone gave Mr. & Mrs. SmokyBeast a bottle of this, or better yet a bottle of their "extra black" 18 Year, we'd be very happy.  The more smoking skulls on the shelf at our place the better.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Single Cask Nation Catoctin Creek Rye

Our friends at The Jewish Whisky Company have been dropping single cask releases left and right (their whiskey club is called "Single Cask Nation" after all!), so when they put out an original American rye whiskey, we figured we'd do a review.  

Catoctin Creek

Catoctin Creek appears to be a legitimate craft distiller.  In other words, they're not bottling factory-produced whiskey and putting a fancy label on it.  (There's nothing wrong with that as long as you're honest about it, which many so called "craft distillers" are not.)  They have built their own distillery in Northern Virginia and have chosen to produce organic spirits, an expensive and risky proposition. But all that being said, it's all about the taste isn't it?  So let's try it!

Catoctin Creek 2-Year Single Barrel Rye

Nose: Luden's Cherry Cough Drops, some tree bark, orange peel, and cinnamon.  Pretty impressive nose, we'd never guess this was a 2-year rye...

Palate: Nice rich mouthfeel, some little pops of sweetness.  A nice spicy rye base with some interesting notes from the whine finish of green grapes and sweet lemon.  We'd say that this was a good palate "for a two year", but you know what? It's just good, period!

Finish: The sweetness from the wine plays off against the hot cask strength rye nicely.  We normally don't care for fancy finished on rye, since they tend to get rubbery and overly sweet.  But this one is a really nice little package.  We'll say that the youth of this barrel shows up in the finish, but it's still impressive and very drinkable.  This one's a winner.


Very nice job from Catoctin Creek & a great pick from Single Cask Nation.  We'd never guess this was such a young rye, and it really holds up to many older whiskies.  We're looking forward to seeing what comes out of this interesting distillery over the years.  We hope they're saving a good bit of product for older releases down the road!