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The Smokehead Extra Rare can be found in travel retail (although quite a few retailers carry this as well) and is bottled by MacLeod Distillers. The Islay distillery is kept secret. Some say it is Lagavulin, others claim it to be Ardbeg. Might as well be Caol Ila. Who knows?
The nose is almost creamy and very peaty. Very spicy too. An exotic mix of seaweeds, lime, sherry, caramel and a smouldering hearth. But unfortunately, I also get something of blue cheese that seems out of place.
It is rather watery with a pretty weak attack and even a touch soapy. Ouch! This is a letdown. If I try hard, I can get some caramel and lime, quite a bit of ashes and even some almonds. But the level of detergent takes on disgusting proportions. This is not Extra Rare but Wacky Weirdo, if you ask me.
The finish is mercifully short, all on ashes and brine.
I cannot shake the feeling something was wrong with my sample. I will have to try this again. When tasting this at Heathrow last June, it was much better. Smokehead simply cannot be that bad. Please do not confuse this one with the excellent (but expensive) Smokehead 18 Year Old.