Initially described to me as Diageo’s answer to the fabulous Monkey Shoulder, Smoky Goat is part of Diageo’s Whiskey Union project to create “weird and wonderful whiskies.”
The first two products are being tested in Germany and Austria are Smoky Goat, described as ‘smoky sweet,’ and Boxing Hares, a spirit drink made from Scotch whisky infused with hops.
They say the name Smoky Goat comes from the tough yet playful wild goats that roam Islay’s most rugged and remote lands.
Our Whisky Ladies host picked up the bottle in Vienna as part of an evening unabashedly celebrating “I like the label!” We were naturally all curious to see what it would reveal!
- Nose – Hello?! Did we just accidentally stumble into a campfire? Think of matches being struck in quick succession with the acrid sulfer edge. Once we pushed past this, found hints of caramel and sweet incense
- Palate – Silence. I swear not a single comment or sensible observation other than it clearly not appealing. After being immersed in a bonfire, we expected something. Anything. Honestly don’t recall one specific comment.
- Finish – A sting of bitter oak, not much else
- Water – Mellowed it down to bring out a little sugar to top the smoke
One remarked “This whisky is like your mother is scolding you – behave or else you are going to get a spanking!”
We struggled with this one. Perhaps it is because it followed the delightful surprise of Australia’s Starward, but this one just didn’t strike a chord with us at all.
First off, this is no Monkey Shoulder! William Grant’s vatted malt of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie is an example where the sum becomes more than its parts. It is a well balanced affordable whisky that hits all the ‘tick’ boxes for an enjoyable dram.
The other strange thing is that on the peat scale, it isn’t off the charts. It is simply that there’s not enough other good stuff going on beyond the campfire burn to capture attention or even things out.
While a step ahead of the ashtray Smokehead’s Rock edition, it doesn’t come close to the remarkably balanced Compass Box Peat Monster or even spitting distance of the killer (in a good way) Bruichladdich Octomore.
In fairness, it is intended to be an experiment. And the great thing about pushing the boundaries is such innovation can lead to something truly remarkable. In this case? Nah… but heck, why not keep trying!
Here is what Whiskey Union folks have to say about Smoky Goat:
Smoky Goat is a Blended Scotch artfully combining Whisky of three styles; Sweet Grain, Highland Malt creating the body and character of the blend, and Islay whisky providing the Smoke.
Craig Wallace the man who made Smoky Goat had a passion to make the smokiest of blends yet unusually to balance this smoke with an irresistible sweetness. His passion paid off, as Smoky Goat was awarded the Best Whiskey Innovation 2015* and Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2016.
The flavour is sweet and soulful, full bodied with honey vanilla and toffee brought together in a BBQ smoky blend. Best served as “Goat on the rocks”, the ice slowly unleashing the smoky flavour.
You won’t find many reviews out there yet, mostly marketing spins, except Whisky.com’s Horst Lenin vlog – spot on.
Other whiskies sampled in our ‘I like the label!‘ session:
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