There’s hard sell – & then there’s soft sell.
A duo of distilleries in Ulster have recently released their first whiskeys to market.
Being small concerns they lack the advertising might, supply chain connections & brand recognition of established players to garnish much attention.
My Northern correspondent obtained a trio – added a pair of wild cards – & presented 5 blind samples for my tasting pleasure.
In order of preference – this is what I found.
1st place, Sample 5, Mourne DEW Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%
‘Soft vanilla, mellow soft & slightly smokey, dry smoke on finish.’
I knew some of the releases had a peaty element – which I like – & I found it in sample 5. It wasn’t overpowering – gently balanced, easy & attractive. A delightful blend.
2nd place, Sample 1, May-Lóag, Peated, Blend, 40%
‘Sweet fresh & honeyed, complex rich flavours, lovely spice on finish.’
I was immediately taken by this one. The reveal surprised me being peated – as I didn’t detect it on tasting! I did get a very enjoyable & characterful whiskey!
The above two captivated me – I’d happily purchase both – leaving the rest somewhat in the shadows.
3rd place, Sample 4, Bushmills 10 Year Old Single Malt, 40%
‘Clean & fresh ex-bourbon cask, soft & mellow, prickliness on rear, drying, hint of smoke?’
A standard of Irish Whiskey. It just didn’t shine against the new entrants.
4th place, Sample 2, May-Lóag Small Batch, Single Malt, 40%
‘More mellowed, sweet & earthy, flatter on palate, nice spice on long lasting finish.’
Lacked a certain ‘oomph & character’ of it’s peated sister. Pleasant easy sipper.
5th place, Sample 3, West Cork, Virgin Oak Cask, Single Malt, 43%
‘Honeyed hint of smoke?, soft mellow & earthy palate, prickliness on rear.’
The reveal surprised me again. I’d have expected richer vanilla & caramel with some peppery spice from the virgin oak casks. Obviously being ‘finished’ rather than ‘matured’ hadn’t brought out enough flavour for my liking.
So there we go.
A very enjoyable tasting session where 2 of the newest entrants to the Irish Whiskey scene excited me.
I look forward to many more!