All posts by Whiskey Nut

Desperado Original, Tequila Flavoured Beer, 5.9%

Well – I had to try it.

After exploring whiskey barrel aged beers I searched for tequila equivalents  – and ended up with this.

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Desperado? c/othewhiskeynut

A tequila flavoured beer by Heineken – of all people.

Now lawsuits were threatened over the use of the word ‘Tequila’ by the Mexican Tequila Regulation Board – CRT.

Tequila is a strictly defined category of alcoholic drinks made in Mexico from the blue agave plant – which Desperado clearly is not.

The brand is readily available in Ireland.

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Desperate! c/othewhiskeynut

Golden straw in colour, lively head.

Decidedly empty on the flavour front.  A hint of sweet oranges & a chemically aftertaste.

No depth, no body & definitely no agave.

At 5.9% it’s deceptively light.

Not a pleasant drinking experience.

Desperate.

Sláinte

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Jose Cuervo, Especial Reposado, 38%

As tequila finishing is now a ‘thing’ in Irish Whiskey – see JJ Corry The Battalion & Killowen Experimental Series Tequila Cask – along with the fact tequila distillers Jose Cuervo own Bushmills – I thought an exploration of the category would be fun.

Tequila is a highly regulated spirit.

The governing body – Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) operate strict guidelines as to what is – or is not – allowed under the Official Standards of Tequila – or NOM – which are available at crt.org.mx

Jose Cuervo is the biggest selling Tequila brand in the world – stats from 2019 here.

The brands bottles are readily available in Ireland & I picked up their Especial Reposado for appraisal.

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Tequila sunshine! c/othewhiskeynut

All tequila has to be made with the blue agave plant in Mexico.

If it doesn’t state ‘100% agave’ – like this especial – it must contain a minimum of 51% agave. The remainder can be made up of permitted additives; caramel colouring, natural oak extract, glycerin & sugar syrup for example.

This obviously effects the tasting experience.

So how did I find Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado?

Well – initially that distinctive pungenty earthy agave aroma greeted me – but it was overlaid by a sweet & slightly sickly caramel I dislike in many a whiskey.

The palate was very smooth & easy – just lacking a rich powerful earthiness – which is what I’m after in a tequila.

Only on the finish did those lovely agave notes resurface as it gently dried out leaving a peppery spice.

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Mit farbstoff c/othewhiskeynut

This is mass market stuff.

Simple, sweet, easy & smooth.

And it sells well.

It’s the equivalent of many a blended whiskey & exhibits the same sweet caramelly notes that – on my palate at least – hide the purity of the agave – or subtleties of the barley – depending on your drink of choice.

Just like whiskey – to get the better stuff you usually have to pay more.

But those tequilas are harder to find in Ireland.

Sláinte

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Tullibardine Whisky Beer, 7%

Any whisky distillery that displays a row of beers proudly bearing it’s name always endears itself to me.

Tullibardine is one such distillery.

1488 Whisky Beer is a collaboration between Tullibardine Distillery – who provide the barrels – and Black Wolf Brewery – who make the beer.

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I do like a dark ale! c/othewhiskeynut

1488 is the year a young James IV ordered some beers from a local Tullibardine brewery.

This modern ale celebrates that long tradition of brewing & distilling in Tullibardine.

Alas there is no longer a brewery in the town – so nearby Black Wolf Brewery of Stirling do the honours.

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Let the wolf howl! c/othewhiskeynut

A dark brown ale colour & consistency.

A malty, bready nose.

Quite light on the palate with mild carbonation.

The whisky barrel ageing gives a heavier treacly undertow to the proceedings.

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Back story c/othewhiskeynut

An enjoyable pour that symbolises the rich history & craftship of brewing & distilling in the Central Belt of Scotland.

Sláinte

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Tequila Pedro Infante, Anejo, 38%

Before the pandemic, visiting friends at home was an everyday occurrence.

Having the opportunity to raid their drink’s cabinets for something interesting or unusual was always a treat.

A handsome, suave, almost dashing type of character emblazoned on a Tequila bottle caught my attention.

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Quién es? c/othewhiskeynut

Who is this & how does the tequila taste?

Pedro Infante was an iconic figure in the Mexican heyday of cinema – 1940’s to 50’s.

A highly popular singing career also ran concurrently before a plane crash tragically cut short his life.

What better way to celebrate his legacy to Mexican culture than having a range of Tequilas named after him?

So a glass was poured.

Now don’t let the pale straw colour put you off – this was definitely tequila.

A soft, earthy agave note greeted me for starters.

A mild & mellow palate from the oak ageing gave a gentle easy going sipping experience.

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¿puede alguien traducir? c/othewhiskeynut

No rough edges here.

Rather like the dapper gentleman on the label!

Salud

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Speyside Selection, Glenlivet v’s GlenAllachie.

Lockdown means opening & sampling my accumulated miniature collection.

A Speyside trio surfaced.

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A trio of Glens. c/othewhiskeynut

How would the old established Glenlivet fare against the newly rebranded & refurbished GlenAllachie?

Now Speyside is single malt central.

The largest concentration of distilleries, the biggest sales & market leading brands – but I’m not a fan.

If smooth honeyed sweet, subtle & soft sherry influenced malt is your thing – heaven.

My tendency is for bold & exciting whiskey – but the GlenAllachie design caught my eye and I’d not encountered it before.

So with that caveat in mind – what did I find?

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Glenlivet 12 c/othewhiskeynut

The archetypical Glenlivet 12 delivered it’s subtle sweet Speyside Malt signature statement.

Nothing here for me.

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GlenAllachie 12 c/othewhiskeynut

GlenAllachie 12 was an immediate improvement. Cleaner, fresher & more pronounced flavours. Perhaps the 46% ABV, non chill-filtered & natural colour presentation helps. A nice little bite at the end & longer lasting bourbony notes too.

This raised my hopes for the GlenAllachie 10 Cask Strength.

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GlenAllachie 10 CS c/othewhiskeynut

Oh dear!

The nose was inviting – but not overpowering.

The palate was just – well – empty!

I struggled to get anything here before the 54.8% ABV kicked in giving an alcoholic rush to the proceedings.

Even though I was disappointed with the Cask Strength – sampling this trio solidified 3 truisms of mine.

1 – Speyside doesn’t suit my palate.

2 – Anything without e150 & chill filtering is automatically more agreeable.

3 – If Cask Strength is your only character – something else is missing.

Stay safe & enjoy whatever your having.

Sláinte

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Goslings Black Seal, Bermuda Black Rum, 40%

Goslings are a long established name in Rum.

Now part of the Castle Brands portfolio – which in turn is owned by Pernod Ricard.

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Bermuda heritage, Irish distribution. c/othewhiskeynut

This Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum is a popular seller from their varied range.

A decent pungently dark molassey treacle on the nose.

Easy delivery on the palate.

Mild mannered with a touch of spice at the end.

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Distinctive labelling! c/othewhiskeynut

No rough edges & perfectly balanced.

A pleasant easy sipping rum that just lacked a little character for me.

Sláinte

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Rebel Yell, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 40%

I can’t resist humming a few lines from Billy Idol’s 1983 hit “Rebel Yell” whenever I encounter this whiskey.

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King Rocker? c/othewhiskeynut

According to rock legend – Billy wrote the song after attending a party fueled by the aforementioned beverage.

Rock ‘n’ Roll & Whiskey – the perfect mix.

Would Rebel Yell deliver?

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Ready, Steady, Go! c/othewhiskeynut

Well the nose is sweet bourbon – full of popcorn, bubblegum & a touch of spice.

The mouthfeel is smooth, easy & pleasant.

A touch of intensity on the finish as it slowly dries out.

Not raucous rock to me – more bubblegum punk – which both Billy & Rebel Yell Whiskey excel in.

A suitable pairing.

Sláinte

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Black Donkey Double Barrel, Barrel Conditioned Rye Ale, 10%

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the shocking amount of booze I’ve accumulated – as well as the opportunity to enjoy it!

Black Donkey’s Double Barrel was today’s choice.

Wow – it’s lively!

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There she blows! c/othewhiskeynut

Immediately frothing over!

I’d to wait a while before a lovely red hue settled.

Now I know rye can be a temperamental grain to work with in distilling – is it the same for brewing?

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The back page. c/othewhiskeynut

A welcome dry maltiness greeted me offering that sweet biscuity aroma I associate with rye ale.

This followed through on the palate – which wasn’t overly carbonated – before deeper, darker notes of molasses from the whiskey barrel ageing gave an earthy solidity to the lighter rye experience.

Elements of farmhouse saison – which Black Donkey excel in – were evident.

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Savage ales from Black Donkey. c/othewhiskeynut

I’m growing to love barrel aged ryes.

Black Donkey’s Double Barrel certainly hit the right notes for me!

Sláinte

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Luigi Francoli, Grappa Di Muscato E Brachetto, Barrique, 41.5%

It’s great to see the independent drinks specialist Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) launch a course in Ireland courtesy of Spirits Training.

When I completed my Spirits Level 2 module a while ago I visited the UK to sit the exam.

It shows a growing appreciation of and increasing demand for the spirits sector in Ireland.

My extra curricular training in Manchester proved to be very entertaining nonetheless! Visit my blog here.

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WSET Spirits L2 c/othewhiskeynut

The Spirits Level 2 course doesn’t just cover whiskey – all distilled spirit categories including Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Mezcal & more are explored.

Many I’d little knowledge of – let alone tasted – which is an integral part of training.

I grew to understand each sector has it’s own rules & regulations, history & customs,  as well as creative interpretations & representations of those traditions across the world.

At the end of the day however – it all came down to which spirits excited my palate.

One I’d never encountered before was Grappa.

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Long tall Luigi c/othewhiskeynut

Grappa – by definition – is an Italian based spirit distilled from grapes – the leftovers that is from wine production – or pomace as it’s known – and tends to be made by small producers.

The only grappa I could easily find in Ireland was by Luigi Francoli in my local O’Brien’s store.

Presented in an attractive bottle at 41.5%,  it stated the grape varietals used – Muscato e Brachetto – as well as ‘Barrique’ aged – in contrast to the usual unaged Grappa’s.

Oh – the distillery was founded in 1875.

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Italian Grappa c/othewhiskeynut

The grape influence was evident – but not in a sweet way – which usually puts me off – more of a nutty, earthy kind of experience.

A lovely soft mouthfeel grew in depth adding fruitiness & more of that nuttiness too – before finishing with a gentle spiciness to add character.

I’d happily enjoy one or two of these after a meal – which is the custom – and possibly explore other offerings as well.

If anything the WSET Spirits course has expanded both my knowledge of the spirits world & introduced my palate to a greater repertoire of tasting experiences.

Isn’t it about time you did the course?

Sláinte

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Rampur Select, Single Malt, 43%

With all the COVID travel restrictions – 2km from home in Ireland – it’s great to taste the world of flavour through whiskey.

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Rampur packaging c/othewhiskeynut

Rampur Select is one of a few Indian brands made to European Union rules that allow it to be marketed there.

The actual distillery – Radico Khaitan – has been making spirits since 1943 and have obviously built up a wealth of experience & knowledge.

The packaging is exquisite.

An outer tube embossed in golden lettering extolling the virtues of the Maharajas.

A luxurious inner bag proudly displaying the company logo.

And the bottle itself – replete with an attractively clean design – clearly stating non chill filtered.

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Front label c/othewhiskeynut

So far so good.

But what of the taste?

Well the nose immediately transported me to a land of exotic fruits – not that I’ve tasted many!

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Back label c/othewhiskeynut

It was certainly enticing & intriguing.

A gentle mouthfeel eased me in.

Rich dark fruits flowed over the palate – reminiscent of sultanas.

A lovely spicy hit on the finish – more peppery than curry – rounded things off on a flourish.

There’s a richness & depth to this single malt that entertained me.

I gladly roamed the Himalayan foothills drinking the delights of this exotic elixir.

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Class cork! c/othewhiskeynut

Roll on Indian Whisky.

Sláinte

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