Spotting a new whisky shop in the pretty East Neuk village of Anstruther what else was I to do but go in and buy a few?
The Wee Couper Of Fife stocks a highly varied selection of whiskies and a wide array of whisky paraphernalia – from tartan hip-flasks & quirky miniatures for the tourists – which I bought – to select single malts & single casks for the purists.
One I purchased was the cheekily named & labelled Kilty Pleasure Scotch from Select Drams.
Select Drams have built up a wholesale drinks supply business specialising in ‘miniatures, gifting and specialist bottlings’ – of which Kilty Pleasure is part of a series.
They also do aged statement single malts from renowned distilleries – but this non age statement blend from unknown sources caught my eye – well – it does play up on the stereotypes – and it amused me!
So was it pleasurable?
In a word – yes!
To be honest it’s fairly standard stuff.
A soft, sweet caramelly nose.
A honeyed smooth palate – easy accessible drinking – no jarring notes – yet developing into a decent prickly heat with just a touch of oaky spice.
If you were buying this as a present – or just for the laugh as I was – Kilty Pleasure possesses enough character & style to carry the whole presentation off.
Congratulations to Select Drams for bringing some light hearted fun to the category!
Mrs Whiskey brought back a selection of Irish Whiskeys from America after a recent trip.
They aren’t available in Ireland – and I was keen to check them out.
Kilbrin is an actual place in Ireland. A parish in County Cork with a GAA club, a school and a church. But no whiskey distillery.
Kilbrin Irish Whiskey is a sourced brand – I’ve no problem with that.
A search of their website here – leads you onto Quality Spirits International here – who specialise in Own Brand and Private Label products.
Quality Spirits International are in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of ‘the largest independent Scotch Whisky Company’ – which to you and me is William Grant & Sons – owners of Tullamore DEW, Glenfiddich, Glen Grant and others.
What interested me though was how the whiskey tasted.
The nose was caramelly sweet, honeyed & slightly fruity.
This followed through on the palate – which opened up into a decent sweet grainy feel with a lovely prickly spice developing.
The finish was sadly short – but the overall effect was rather appealing.
I quite enjoyed this one.
A pleasant easy going entry level blend with a bit of character & spice towards the end.
There’s always a frisson of excitement entering a bar for the first time.
You never know what you will encounter.
The best bars you enter as strangers – and depart as friends.
But in The Bank in Anstruther – I encountered an old friend.
Art Of The Blend #4.
Eden Mill are the next generation of Scottish brewers & distillers. Prior to their own whisky being released they experimented with sourced distillate under the Art Of The Blend label to hone their skills.
I enjoyed the results.
Presented at a stonking 51% this Port Cask finished blend packed a lively punch of sweet stone fruits.
The high ABV led to an explosion of flavour on the palate – yet it didn’t overpower.
A pleasing prickly heat faded gently with warming cherry notes dancing merrily into the distance.
Limited to 1100 bottles – I was glad to encounter my old friend again.
There was an article in the Irish Times the other day about rural development & Gort happened to feature.
Picking up the paper in the town itself after an enjoyable evening topped off the experience.
The revelry started with a meal at The Gallery Cafe in the Square. A popular spot offering great food & some tasty beers to boot.
Kinnegar’s Rustbucket Rye Ale washed down my burger delightfully as we chatted outside on the terrace taking advantage of the warm evening sunshine.
A bar was selected afterwards & Cummins on Main Street suited us.
Garishly coloured on the outside & embazoned with GAA murals we entered into a trad session being played in the corner by a group of local musicians with a small gathering of drinkers happily tapping along.
The usual whiskey suspects lined the shelves, Powers, Paddys & Jameson being the standards – a Teacher’s was there too and I fancied a peat hit so went with it.
Teacher’s is a well established blend of Scotch Whisky. A bit on the rough & ready side, sweet peat & a little spirity, but you know what you’re getting.
Chatting away I scanned the shelves for something I’d not had before & spotted a couple of bottles half hidden behind others.
Highland Earl Special Reserve was duly ordered on the next round.
Now Highland Earl is an Aldi brand. An entry level one at that too – and I’d hesitated buying one after having a tad too many caramel laden blends in the past – but being in a bar is a fabulous way to sample it.
My first nosing raised a smile.
A decent waft of balanced peat greeted me.
Wasn’t expecting that!
The palate was more mellow & soothing than the Teacher’s. Yes there is added caramel & yes there is probably chill filtering – but then so has Teacher’s.
If anything Highland Earl lived up to it’s – admittedly low level – titled status by being a step up in enjoyment from the recognisable big brand.
Now the bar’s bottle seems to be an old offering. There is no age statement as with the current 3 Year Old release – and a tagline on the label proclaims it to be a 2010 IWSC Winner!
So I can’t vouch if what is on sale now matches the bottle I tried – but what I can say is the Earl entertained me for the rest of the evening!
Oh the joy of pubs & the simple pleasures of a decent peated blend!
The recently opened Dublin Liberties Distillery launched a trio of beer cask finished whiskeys at a highly enjoyable & entertaining event held in the fabulous bar at the distillery itself.
Based on the original bourbon cask matured Dubliner Whiskey the limited edition Beer Cask Series have been finished in casks formerly maturing a variety of Irish Craft Beers.
I managed a small taster of those beers.
O’Haras Leann Folláin Irish Stout at 8.1% is a full on bourbon cask matured belter of a brew. Full of heavy dark chocolate & molasses this appealed to my tastes.
5 Lamps Brewdolf at 9% is a worthy contender too. Based on an amber barley wine finished in bourbon casks there were sweet fruity notes balancing the darker & heavier elements.
Rascals Irish Coffee Stout at 4.8% has a wonderful coffee aroma on the nose that doesn’t quite follow through on the palate. Having said that – I’m not a big fan of coffee – so this offering isn’t to my palate.
A variety of cocktails were served on the evening – some tasty titbits – a compered introduction to the whiskeys (and the collaborative beers) by none other than Darryl McNally, Master Distiller of Dublin Liberties Distillery himself – as well as the folks behind the craft beers too – all seamlessly guided along by the dulcet tones of Today FM DJ Ed Smith of Ed’s Songs Of Praise fame.
Rebels, Rascals and Raconteurs indeed!
Sampling the whiskey had to wait for later as I was driving – but this is what I found.
Oh, my test bottles were kindly filled by Dublin Liberties Distillery on the evening.
Dubliner Irish Coffee Stout Whiskey
Lovely warm bourbon cask notes with a subtle depth & clean fresh grainy sweetness. Bit spirity but enjoying the clarity with underlying warmth. Soft prickly spice on a long finish.
Dubliner Irish Stout Whiskey
Deeper, darker & more malty nose. A heavier mouthfeel. The malt has been accentuated & grain mellowed. Long smooth finish.
Dubliner Irish Red Ale Whiskey
Slight sweet fruit off the nose which follows through on the palate. The malt comes through cleanly. Long lasting flavoursome finish.
Well well well!
In a reversal of my findings on the beer from which they came – I think I’d go for the Irish Coffee Stout Whiskey as my favourite!
The combination of the clear sweet grain with a nice depth on the malt & just a hint of coffee in the background proved a winning combination over the smoother & darker elements of the others.
All were very enjoyable blends & quite distinctively different in the ways they presented on the palate.
Just goes to show what a few months in wood can achieve!