News & Events

from Ian Macleod Distillers

Taste of Gold for Smokehead

2nd June 2010

Smokehead Bottles and Logo

Smokehead, Ian Macleod Distillers' Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, has been awarded an International Review of Spirits' Gold Medal by the highly respected Beverage Testing Institute (BTI).

Judged by an expert panel from BTI in the institution's Chicago Tasting Room, Smokehead was awarded an 'Exceptional' rating of 91/100 for its explosive, peaty flavours. With the appearance of 'bright old gold', the panel commented on the Single Malt's 'aromas of honeyed raisin scone, dried peaches and medical tinctures with a hint of cedar and mesquite-like smokiness'. The BTI also enjoyed Smokehead's 'good depth and lingering body' with 'subtly complex and earthy smoked wood, leather and a prairie grass driven finish'.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, commented; "We are delighted that Smokehead's boisterous and peaty taste has been recognised by such an internationally respected institution as the BTI. Combining its high quality and unique flavours with the product's standout designer packaging, Smokehead has enjoyed proved a success, especially in attracting the discerning and adventurous 'modern drinker'." 

BTI Gold AwardThe International Review of Spirits' Gold Medal for Smokehead's rich and complex flavours, follows two Gold Medals from BTI in the 2009 International Review of Spirits Packaging Competition. These recognised the brand's innovative, bold and modern packaging in the Creativity and Graphic Design categories. 

Since launching in 2006, Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky has won a number of awards for both its eye-catching packaging and balanced, seaweedy flavours, including the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge Gold Medal and Wine & Spirits Design Awards for Best Dark Spirit and the overall Trophy for Design of the Year.

Other products in the range include the Smokehead Extra Rare 1 litre bottle (Travel Retail Exclusive) and the premium 18 Years Old Smokehead Extra Black.

Founded in 1981, the BTI is one of the world's foremost authorities on alcoholic beverages, independently reviewing thousands of wines, beers and spirits every year. With a mission to create fair and reliable reviews for consumers, its buying guides have appeared in many publications including The New Yorker Magazine, Wine & Spirits International, CNBC, BBC Radio International and The Chicago Tribune. 

Described as being like a cannonball, Smokehead is an explosive combination 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.

Smokehead is available in the USA, Canada and worldwide. Details of some global stockists can be found on the website

Curious to discover more, visit or visit

Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky encourages responsible drinking


For high res images and further information on Smokehead contact:   

Alison Liddy / Laura Campbell              

Profile Plus

T: 0131 554 6111

E: /

Iain Weir, Director of Marketing       

Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd           

T: 01506 852205               

E:  for inquiries in the U.S

Notes to Editors


Heavy smoke and peat.   Amazing richness.   Lemon, fresh ginger, plum jam.   Salty and spicy.  


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.


Even more peat, spice, mandarin - then dries up.   When you think it's all over the peat comes back to hit you again.


A rollercoaster of peat and spice with some delicate sweetness.