All posts by Whiskey Nut

Exploring the world of whiskey from Westmeath, Plus other spirits too!

Symphonia, Irish Apple Rum, 40%

It’s great to welcome new innovation into the spirits category.

Irish Apple Rum c/othewhiskeynut

The Woodlab Distillery in Co Tyrone have released this Caribbean Rum infused with Irish Jonagold Apples grown in Co Armagh to create Symphonia Irish Apple Rum.

I picked one up in my local Aldi for appraisal.

Technically I suppose it’s a spiced rum – which as the fastest growing rum category is no bad thing.

Info c/othewhiskeynut

Initial nosing is full of sweet nutmeg & assorted spices – much like a liqueur – with a hint of apple purée.

Smooth on the palate. A lovely mixture of golden apples & a warming spiciness which grows to dominate the finish leaving a soft tingling caressed with baked apple.

I may not be the target audience – but it’s certainly an entertaining tipple.

Personally I’d have preferred experiencing the apple influence on it’s own – but as the spiced category is booming it’s fabulous to see a new Irish player on the scene.

Congratulations to The Woodland Lab & their Symphonia Irish Apple Rum.

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Jose Cuervo Tequila Tasting, 38% x 6

Global drinks group Jose Cuervo’s Tequilas regularly top the best selling charts.

In Ireland they aren’t doing too badly either with Bushmills coming in at No 3 for the Irish Whiskey category.

The recent hot weather prompted me to sample some Jose Cuervo Tequila.

One positive from the pandemic is a profusion of outlets offering tasting packs to whet your appetite.

c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

This particular 6 bottle selection was ordered from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder – although other providers exist.

A zoom tasting accompanied it – I missed the date – but it didn’t deter me from enjoying the tequila!

Comprising of 3 separate ranges – all 100% blue agave & 38% ABV – I chose initially to compare within each brand starting with the Tradicional offerings.

Tradicional Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Traditional Silver

That classic earthy agave pungency greeted me with a hint of peppery spice.

Smooth & silky palate topped off with a hearty serving of signature black pepper spice on the finish.

Just what I expect from a tequila.

Traditional Reposado

The agave pungency was tempered a touch by hints of barrel ageing.

More complexity on the palate as the interplay between the raw ingredients used & wood maturation played out & added a hint of oakiness to the finish.

Very enjoyable – although the clear simplicity of the Silver won me over.

A trio of brand 1800 came next.

1800 Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

1800 Silver

Back – for me at least – to the signature agave & spice combination.

Lovely.

1800 Reposado

Once again – a lovely interplay between the distilling ingredients & wooden maturation.

1800 Anejo

I was beginning to miss the agave influence with this one!

It was there – but the barrel ageing dominated for me & detracted from what I’m looking for in tequila.

All 1800’s were enjoyable tipples – with Silver gaining my affections most.

Reserva Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Reserva de la Familia Extra Anejo

A solo offering that stood out from the others with a noticeably darker colour & clearly perceptible & pronounced wooden cask influence.

The sweet agave came through on the nose – but caramels & hints of vanilla more reminiscent of whiskey were evident.

Very smooth, very cultured & very engaging – tequila for the whiskey lover?

For a 2nd round I compared the Silver & Reposado offerings.

Silver Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Silver

Traditional’s flavour profile shone through with it’s defining features.

1800 delivered similar – but I found it a smoother, sweeter & ultimately a less exuberant offering.

Traditional for me!

Reposado Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Reposado

Tradicional was a shade lighter than 1800 – which suggests a shorter period in wood.

This played out in the tasting.

1800 had less spice, a sweeter & subdued feel to it with the wood influence a tad more forward.

The differences weren’t massive – & would be hard to pick up unless a back to back comparison was possible – but once more – Tradicional won the day.

Overall

As in all these tastings – I like to choose my favourite.

For the sheer clarity of flavours & bold display of the agave used in distillation there could only be one winner for me – Tradicional Silver.

Tradicional Silver c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

What would you have picked?

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Drunk In China, Derek Sandhaus

Everything you need to know about Baijiu – and then more – in one highly entertaining & informative publication.

Book & Baijiu c/othewhiskeynut

Derek takes you on a journey of discovery into Baijiu – the World’s most popular spirit.

A journey exploring the history, culture, politics, economics & most importantly for drinkers – the taste of this alluring white spirit.

A great read! & the Baijiu’s pretty cool too! c/othewhiskeynut

If you’ve never tried Baijiu – isn’t it about time?

Pour yourself a glass – preferably paired with this insightful book – & sit back to ponder the wonders of Baijiu.

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Killarney 8 Year Old, Imperial Stout Barrel Aged Irish Whiskey, 46% & Killarney Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Stout, 9.6%

In advance of their €24 million combined whiskey distillery & brewery coming on stream, Killarney Distilling Co have released this limited edition duo.

Killarney Whiskey & Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Comprising of an 8 year old blended whiskey finished in their own Imperial Stout casks – as well as the Imperial Stout finished in whiskey casks – they make for an exclusive pairing.

Aged in Stout c/othewhiskeynut

The 8yo wasn’t giving much away. Quite soft & shy on the nose.

More powerful on the palate. Subtle sweet grain mixed with wholesome malt augmented by the undertones of barrel finishing.

A rather lively & fresh finish rounded this agreeable blend off.

Aged in Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

The Imperial Stout had a richness & depth from the whiskey barrels – but I found the carbonation a tad too lively – which distracted my palate from the complexity within.

Leaving it to sit for a while brought out a creaminess – adding to the enjoyment.

A worthy pair to kick start the exciting journey Killarney Distilling Co are embarking on!

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Lough Ree, The Bridge Series, St Mel’s No 1, Single Cask, Single Malt, 43%

The Bridge is an apt name for this series of limited release whiskey from the yet to be built Lough Ree Distillery.

St Mel’s No 1 c/othewhiskeynut

Not only does it bridge the gap for their own whiskey to mature, it also takes you on a journey of discovery.

Lough Ree are also on a journey by bridging links with local craft brewery St Mel’s for the Brown Ale casks used to finish this ex-bourbon cask matured single malt.

Back label story c/othewhiskeynut

A welcoming rich, warm & inviting nose of toffee & butterscotch pulls you in.

Silky smooth on the palate, St Mel’s has a luxurious mouthfeel with characterful depth & complexity.

A gorgeous gently drying spiciness wraps up this delightful whiskey.

The Bridge whiskey series tend to sell out – so grab one while you can.

This St Mel’s release took me on a particularly enjoyable journey.

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Plain Packaging, Branding & Celebrity Spirits

For health reasons Plain Packaging is now enforced for tobacco products in Ireland & it could well follow for alcohol.

Plain packaging c/oPackagingNews

A recent report highlighted the issues involved – from the brands position – but It did set me wondering.

I drink whiskey to enjoy the taste.

Fancy packaging, back stories & celebrity endorsements may enhance the experience – but the liquid inside the bottle & how my palate perceives it is paramount.

As I’m currently judging this years Irish Whiskey Awards I note all the samples come in plain packaging – albeit without the health warnings.

Blind whiskey judging c/othewhiskeynut

This is to strip out any bias – conscious or unconscious – towards particular brands or distilleries & lets the whiskey speak for itself.

Branding clearly works. It’s why companies spend vast amounts of money establishing a ‘relationship’ with the customer.

Celebrity endorsements are an extension of that process & are part of the cultural fabric today.

McGregor c/oProperTwelve

From Conor McGregor to Graeme McDowell – note the different reception shown to both – George Clooney to Rita Ora – celebrities boost sales.

Prospero Tequila c/oSpiritsBusiness

Whiskey bloggers also court celebrity status promoting merchandise & image over and above actual content.

Love it or loath it – branding abounds.

Whether your whiskey comes in Plain Packaging or not, is promoted by a superstar or just recommended by a popular blogger or not, rest assured the whiskey flavour remains the same.

How your palate experiences & interprets that flavour is unique to you.

Whiskey in a Tuath glass c/othewhiskeynut

Pour yourself a measure & let the whiskey do the talking.

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Titanic, Premium Irish Whiskey, 40%, Blend

While Kilbeggan Black explores the softer side of smoke, this latest incarnation of Titanic Whiskey is a bolder offering.

Titanic Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

More pronounced smoke infused with a sweet juiciness from the sherry casks greets the nose.

Quite a clean, fresh & clear grainy palate.

Gorgeously drying spicy finish leaves with an entertaining tingling gently sailing away.

A fabulous addition to the growing peated Irish fleet.

The original Titanic Whiskey was a honeyed blend sourced from Cooley Distillery – there’s still a few bottles around – for Belfast lottery winner Peter Lavery.

Peter Lavery c/o belfastmediagroup.com

The brand was doing well before John Teeling sold to Beam in 2011 – who promptly turned off the taps to 3rd parties.

Titanic 5yo c/oCelticWhiskeyAuctions

Little did Beam know this would precipitate the biggest whiskey distillery building spree witnessed in Ireland for generations!

From Slane Distillery in Co Meath, Great Northern Distillery in Co Louth & Teeling Distillery in Dublin.

McConnells of Belfast c/othewhiskeynut

Peter Lavery attempted a distillery in Crumlin Gaol – now in new hands as McConnell’s Whisky – & has secured planning for a distillery at Titanic Docks itself!

Today’s Titanic Whiskey is sourced from GND & it’s a lovely little blend.

Titanic info c/othewhiskeynut

Who knows – in a few years time there could be a Belfast made whiskey again emanating from the same docks the Titanic ship hailed from.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful dream to achieve?

Roll on the Titanic!

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J Walsh, Woodford, Co Galway

Taking advantage of the sunny weather a few of us ventured into the East Clare, East Galway area for a scenic drive & walks by loughs & forests.

Returning via Woodford we spotted a bar offering refreshments & popped in – or rather ‘out’ to comply with COVID rules.

J Walsh c/othewhiskeynut

A busy & friendly atmosphere greeted us in the covered & open dining space at the back of J Walsh’s attractive front bar.

I did have a quick glance at the whiskey shelve for a suitable companion to the tasty light meals we enjoyed.

The usual suspects were on display.

Jameson, Powers & Bushmills representing Ireland.

Black & White, Teachers & Grouse for Scotland.

It struck me Ireland had no representation in the peated blend market.

Rather surprising as Teachers is the biggest selling brand in Ireland for the Beam/Suntory portfolio.

Perhaps the roll out of the new Kilbeggan Black will change that?

Peated Kilbeggan c/othewhiskeynut

As it was Black & White made my glass.

That lovely smokey element adding a touch of excitement & character to this easy & accessible whisky.

Kilbeggan Black had to wait till we got home.

Where we duly finished the bottle off!

A great day out.

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The Macallan, Sherry Oak Cask, 12 Year Old, 40%

I’ve never got round to buying a bottle of Macallan.

I did start off drinking easy sweet sherried whisky.

But since then a liking for punchy rye or smokey peat has grown & I’m not sure if Macallan deliver that style – so I’m not too pushed.

There’s also the hype around the brand.

High prices at auctions, glowing reviews, fantastic new distillery.

I’m always wary of hype – but my curiosity to explore overcame those inhibitions when a miniature sample came my way.

Macallan 12 c/othewhiskeynut

The Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Cask is billed as a classic – let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Well it’s certainly richly sherried – almost juicy.

Very smooth delivery – a bit too smooth for my tastes.

A tingling of dry spice on the finish wraps up this elegant & easy sipper.

Still not convinced enough to buy a bottle!

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Black’s 18 Year Old, Irish Rum Cask Finish, Single Malt, 56%

Black’s Brewery & Distillery have been satisfying thirsty drinkers for nearly a decade.

Their beers proved a hit on the growing craft beer scene with hop forward offerings – sadly not to my tastes – building a loyal following.

Black’s moonshine c/othewhiskeynut

Moving into the distilling scene Black’s excited me more with an early BlackMoon XXX release which pleased my palate.

Black’s Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Several entertaining whiskeys of sourced distillate also went down well.

Black’s Rum. c/othewhiskeynut

Black’s own wholly Irish produced Golden Rum certainly wowed my senses – as well as The World Rum Awards!

Black’s 18yo Rum Cask c/oBlacks

This latest premium 18 Year Old Single Malt has been finished in barrels used to mature that Irish Golden Rum – a world first!

Luckily a sample from Black’s of this limited edition release came my way.

Black’s 18 c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely golden hue.

Gorgeously rich aromas. Thinking rum & raisin, gentle woodiness – yet almost earthy.

Initially sweet & easy notes of soft caramel infused with stronger oakiness coat the palate before the 56% ABV kicks in with a joyful explosion of power.

A prickly tingling of gently drying spiciness faded slowly away.

A very attractive & alluring malt indeed.

Pity it’s a bit beyond my price range!

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Black’s Brewery & Distillery kindly supplied the sample.

All views – as always – are my own.