Smokehead follows up last year’s ex-stout finished release with a new curiosity. The new Smokehead Terminado Tequila Cask Finish is finished in… Well, I suppose the name is self-explanatory.
My experience with ex-tequila cask finished whisky is limited. And to be fair, there haven’t been that many expressions to begin with. Maturation in tequila casks only became legal for Scotch whisky in July 2019. Technically there could be whisky that has fully matured in tequila casks (and I know brands started experimenting in anticipation of the new regulations), but I haven’t seen any yet. It’s all been finishes.
I’ve only had two tequila matured whiskies, one of which finished in ex-mezcal casks. For one of them, the Chivas Regal Extra 13 Tequila Cask, I had a quick chat with master blender Sandy Hyslop. Worth a read, if I say so myself. The other was a limited edition Lagavulin.
As for the Smokehead Terminado Tequila Cask Finish, there’s really not much insight I can share. It’s an Islay whisky, it’s peated and it was finished in tequila casks. All that’s left is to taste it.
Nose: Peat smoke with touches of sauerkraut, bandaids, conifer and grilled beef with a whiff of tinned pineapple and pomelo. Taste: Not the thickest mouthfeel, an issue I’ve had with Smokehead previously. Warming spices, wood smoke and soft medicinal notes. Somewhat ashy too. Charred lemons and hints of dark, salted caramel. Finish: Medium in length with ashy smoke, damp wood and honey.
I'm not a tequila connoisseur by any means, but I am familiar with the spirit, and I'm having trouble detecting its influence in the Smokehead Terminado Tequila Cask Finish. It has to be in there somewhere, but I wouldn't say it is very prominent. Could also just be me though. Heavily peated whisky often tends to assault my palate and doesn't leave much room for other aromas and flavours.