I picked up this bargain basement blend working my way through all the whiskeys available in my local Dunnes Stores.
JG Kinsey also comes with gin & vodka options & I had it down as a store brand.
Jacob G Kinsey was an american gentleman who founded the Linfield Distillery in 1892. Pennsylvania was – and still is – associated with rye whiskey. A successful business flourished, floundered, merged & was subsumed into the giant International Beverage Holdings Group.
Kinsey’s name lives on with this current offering – plus numerous blogs & posts about the now abandoned plant at Linfield.
Fine whiskey, great company & mighty craic ensued.
I came away with a nugget of Irish Whiskey sales information however.
The biggest selling whisky in Ireland from the eclectic & well represented Beam-Suntory brand portfolio is by a long shot – Teacher’s Highland Cream.
So I bought a bottle.
It’s yer standard Scotch Blend product.
It’s chill filtered & has added caramel. It’s non age statmented and gives no list of the 30 or so distilleries that have contributed their malt and grain whisky to construct this historic blend – yet it sells bucket loads.
It’s a straight forward no nonsense attractively peated whisky that outsells all others on the Beam-Suntory portfolio.
The colour is ‘The Light Of Scotland’ – according to the label.
A decent hit of peat on the nose is mellowed by a sweet honeyed palate. A slightly drying peaty bite leaves toffee notes to finish on.
Plain, simple peated whisky.
Clearly what the market wants.
Yet ever since the demise of the gorgeous Inishowen – Irish Whiskey has no peated blend currently for sale.
There are now 16 working distilleries that have matured stocks of spirit old enough to be called whiskey.
All of them contributed to create this special limited edition 21C blend unveiled at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019.
Luckily I managed a taster.
A fabulously rich & complex nose. Full bodied on the palate. A long lasting satisfying finish.
From my recollections of 21C 1st Edition – blog here – this was a vast improvement. Perhaps reflecting the growing maturity of Irish Whiskey in general – a better blend of ingredients – older stocks added – or a combination of all factors.
Whatever – it made a great whiskey.
The new additional distilleries to have matured whiskey are below – taken in left to right, top to bottom order as printed on the back label.
Shortcross Distillery have yet to release their 1st whiskey – a single pot still by all accounts – but have built up a strong following with their Shortcross Gins.
Connacht Distillery are also waiting for their own whiskey to age further before release. In the meantime they have some tasty & innovative sourced whiskey under the Spade & Bushel, Ballyhoo & Brothership labels.
Waterford Distillery are following the above 2 in waiting for their own stock to age before committing to market. Unlike the others – they have not sourced any whiskey prior to that release.
Royal Oak Distillery in County Carlow have not released their own whiskey. Previously called Walsh Distillery – a split with the 2 companies involved means Irishman & Writer’s Tears will remain as sourced brands.
In addition to last years 21C – some distilleries have recently entered the market with their own stock.
I got chatting with some American tourists – as you do – and they asked a pertinent question.
‘If you’ve heard a lot of good news regarding a whiskey – does that raise your expectations?’
‘Certainly’ I replied ‘But the proof is in the drinking.’
So I gave Three Ships a good nosing – and beamed a broad smile.
There was a richness & depth to this whisky that captivated me.
Notes of dark cherries – a juicy fruitiness – the warmth from years in wood and a touch of oaky spice. It reminded me of a good port finish – yet this was a South African Pinotage Wine cask. Works for my palate!
Those dark – almost heavy notes – followed through into the taste. My mouth burst with flavours before a pleasing punchy alcohol kick set them alight.
The finish had those flavours gently falling back into orbit with a gorgeous warm oaky spice tinged with prickly juiciness.
I was so impressed I insisted my American friends took a swig.
They likened the punchy quality to a good rye – no bad thing in my book – although the luscious fruit juiciness of Three Ships was in contradiction to the dry peppery spice of a rye.
Even after tasting the Irish Whiskey Awards winners – this Three Ships 15yo certainly won me over!
Many thanks to the kindly American tourists for sharing their time & displaying the whisky for my snaps. Hope you had a great time in Ireland.