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Smokehead ‘Sherry Bomb’ (2019, Ian MacLeod, 48%)

Together with some friends we set up a whisky blind tasting on Zoom (the main character of this day’s strange play): we sent each other 4 samples, each displaying the name of a city and a number, but no info about the sender nor, above all, about the content. Monday evening we faced the first session of 7 tastings: slowly, in the next few weeks, we will publish the reviews we wrote … We decided to leave the notes as we wrote them, keeping here and there some speculation on the possible content. Today we start from “Topeka”, which contained Smokehead ‘Sherry Bomb’, the ex-sherry version of the famous aggressive-looking smoky whisky from Ian MacLeod. The color is red copper.

smokehead-sherry-bomb

N: you immediately notice a sulphurous element coming from sherry barrel, and a second later a substance like grilled meat appears, especially pork: bacon, cheeseburger, sweet and sour pork… The peat is obviously there, but it remains quite integrated (grill’s embers). Young, most likely. Vinegar on the grill. It has its own citrusy side as well. Very tense, interesting, a little flirty and simple.

P: the easy promises of the nose are unfortunately confirmed. Very very sweet, with a load of peat smoke (not marine at all); however, we couldn’t find the succulent touch of meat from the nose (and it was one of the most interesting things…). There is a very sticky PX sherry sweetness, with strawberry and raspberry jam, burnt orange, big burnt sugar. Caramel chocolate – Mars bar. Baked peach with amaretto on top. A lot of licorice. Overall a little mediocre, very loaded of flavours from the cask.

F: super sweet, fairly short and balsamic, on smoke and burnt caramel.

The nose, with its charge of burnt pork fat, intrigued us, but the other sides of the malt are quite disappointing. Just one thing links the nose to the palate and the finish: they all are hypercharged from cask influence. In the end we found it a little undecided. What we mean is: it is not particularly striking, it does not show a particularly distinctive character. Overall it seemed a little dull: not bad, for heaven’s sake, but it doesn’t speak up. A drink that could be interesting for beginners or for those who are getting to understand sherry and peat… but in the long run you could get tired, a bit like with symphonic black metal in the 90s: vote 82/100.

Sottofondo musicale consigliato: Dimmu Borgir – The Insight and the Catharsys.

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