I was reading a trade magazine yesterday and there was a photo of Jimmy Page, Slash, Steven Tyler, Mick Jagger and one of the guys from ZZ Top at some Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame event with a big banner for Smokehead in the background. Somehow the guys from Ian MacLeod got Jack Daniels out of the picture and pushed their own mystery Islay malt into the frame. That must have taken some major PR work, but the reviews of the new "it" beverage - the Smoke & Coke - have been highly positive. I've yet to try one myself, either with the Smokehead or any other peated whisky, but if it's good enough for these hard-drinking rock legends, it should be good enough for me. If any of you out there have tried this flavor combination let me know. I'm not much of a soda person.
Speaking of Smokehead, some of the blog sites out there are having some very interesting debates about the origin of the whisky. I think it tastes like Ardbeg and many others seem to agree, but the new 18 year release is really fanning the flames of argument. The 18 year - which we do not yet have access to - is selling for over $100 a bottle causing many to speculate as to how MacLeod can justify that price for a nameless dram, while other 18 year malts - such as Talisker - come in at around $75-$80. I've read some retailer responses claiming that they have spoken with sales reps for MacLeod and have confrmed that the casks were indeed purchased from Ardbeg some time ago. Because of the high demand for Ardbeg, and the lack of an Ardbeg 18 year old on the market, MacLeod may indeed be justified in charging the price that he currently is - if the rumors are true, that is. I haven't tasted it, but I've heard it's pretty fantastic.