- Gemma D.
Peated Cinderella Smokehead Whisky
What started out with a prosecco-filled dinner during Amsterdam Cocktail Week ended with a tasting of three intense bottles of Smokehead Islay Single Malt whiskies and a chaotic race against the clock, complete with police escorts and crazy detours over de canals. Just like Cinderella... drinking peated whiskies and her carriage nearly turning into a pumpkin on the way home.
Dutch Courage Cocktails
The night started with a bang when one of our taxi's was stopped by the police and my friend ended up abandoning said taxi (with a running meter) after twenty minutes of waiting. 40 minutes late, we finally indulged in glasses of prosecco and incredible antipasti dishes, after which we made a very brief stop at a local hotel bar.
Being the cocktail ladies we are however, we ended up at the always impressive Dutch Courage on the Zeedijk. For us this cocktail bar owned by Tess Posthumus and Timo Janse always delivers, and not only because Rudi behind the bar knows how to make me a mean Penicillin. Their cocktail menu is a true sight to behold, terrifyingly good.
Seeing as we are still dealing with bars that need to close around midnight, having this deadline looming over our heads, we channeled our inner Cinderella's and ordered our cocktails at breakneck speeds, which is when I spotted three dangerous looking bottles on the bar.
Needless to say, Prince Charming could have thrown himself at me but when the bottles of Smokehead were placed before me with three empty glasses and a "help yourself" nod of approval, nothing else mattered anymore.
What a selection
I will take you through this from left to right and I'm going to start you off with the incredible Smokehead Rum Rebel.
This first dram is served at 46% ABV with a rum cask finish, which gives it these lovely sweet, fruity notes on the nose. Of course there's that dose of smoke that kicks in but there is just so much tropical fruit, I swear I felt like I was grilling a pineapple. The fruitiness was less extreme on the palate. A gentle sweetness with a little bit of caramel and maybe some orange flavours as well as some spiciness.
Second came the Smokehead High Voltage which was the winner of the night for me. This particular whisky comes at 58% ABV and is this incredible combination of smoky, herbal maybe even medicinal flavours combined with citrus. I swear the moment that I drank this whisky I just felt it all the way down to my tippy toes. I haven’t had this lovely a peated whisky ever before. Great spiciness, cloves, cinnamon, you name it, they were there on the palate, but also a bit more grassy and nutty but not overpowering. The name of this whisky may sound terrifying but the drink itself is fantastic.
The final whisky in this lineup was the Smokehead Sherry Bomb. At 48% ABV a good and drinkable whisky and the first thing I noticed was that there was a lot more wood smoke on the nose, more like a bonfire next to a cabin near the beach. At the same time you get this gentle vanilla seeping through boiled red fruit. A nice hint of spices on the palate that may even taste a little bit salty at some point. While I like this whisky, having been blown away by the previous, the Sherry Bomb was less exciting for me but nevertheless it was worth every drop.
We are all Winners!
Again, the Smokehead High Voltage was definitely the favourite of the night and I was very grateful that I got to spend my Saturday evening with a friend and three lovely bottles. My advice, if you’re going to go for a Smokehead, definitely try these three before making a decision but you will not be disappointed in either of them. My other advice? If you want a great night out and an impressive cocktail, check out Dutch Courage on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam and ask Rudi to make you one of their classics!
Hugs and Kisses from Amsterdam!