Smokehead launched in USA!

I've fallen a bit behind on the news recently, but I couldn't let this one pass by without comment. I can't wait to taste this one. It looks poised to fit well with the peat heavy monsters that have been coming out of Islay recently. It also took gold in its debut. More details below



December 2009; Ian Macleod Distillers is officially launching a brand new Scotch whisky into the USA aimed at the modern consumer.   

SMOKEHEAD is a contemporary, individual and exciting whisky, already available in premium bars and retailers across the UK and worldwide. 

The brand uses innovative, ‘stand-out’ designer packaging resulting in ‘wow’ factor and brand value. The main front bottle label is uniquely placed on the bottle rear reflecting a variety of adjectives such as Robust, Outrageous, Monstrous and Boisterous, (alluding to the powerful taste of the malt inside), back through the spirit itself.  

“Unlike some contemporary whisky brands that have appeared recently on the market, Smokehead is not a subtle flavour,” said Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod.  “Smokehead is a heavily peated Islay single malt scotch whisky of the highest quality!.”   

It’s like a cannonball - an explosive rollercoaster of peat, smoke and spice with some delicate sweetness. The single malt flavour is described as fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry, iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt.  The taste hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness, before exploding with peppery spice and more earthy peat.  

The launch of Smokehead in the USA follows considerable consumer research, which found that consumers either love or hate Islay malts.  Those who love them, of which there is a large market, are extremely loyal and so this new product has been launched to target these “Smokeheads”.  The launch will be supported by a full sales and marketing programme. 

Iain Weir concluded, “The initial reaction to SMOKEHEAD globally has been outstanding!  Smokehead won Design of the Year at the Wine & Spirit Design Awards 2007 (W&SDA) and a Gold Award on its debut at the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge (SFWC) 2006/7. We expect to create a very strong brand ideally suited to the new generation of adventurous malt whisky drinkers in the USA who are looking for an exciting, accesible and innovative modern brand which does not use old-fashioned Scotch whisky imagery and heritage.  We are confident that this malt whisky will prove highly successful in the USA.” 

Curious to discover more, please contact Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd on tel:

00 44 1506 852205 or see

In the U.S.A. contact:

ImpEx Beverages, Inc.


(Smokehead encourages responsible drinking) 

Tasting notes:

Nose: Heavy smoke and peat.   Amazing richness.   Lemon, fresh ginger, plum jam.   Salty and spicy.  
Body: 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.
Finish: Even more peat, spice, mandarin – then dries up.   When you think it’s all over the peat comes back to hit you again.
Impression A rollercoaster of peat and spice with some delicate sweetness.