Category Archives: Blended Whiskey

Slane Irish Whiskey, 40%, The Launch Party

” Slane Castle has survived on Rock ‘n’ Roll and the inspiration for Slane Irish Whiskey came from the first rock concert we staged back in 1981 with Thin Lizzy.

Phil Lynott’s lyric – Whiskey In The Jar – struck me back then and a dream was born.

Throughout the thick and thin of the intervening years Phil’s song stayed with me, nourishing that dream.

Tonight I’m proud to say that dream has become a reality.

Slane Irish Whiskey is definitely in the jar!

Enjoy the music!

Enjoy the craic!

Enjoy Slane Irish Whiskey!”

And with that – Henry & Alex Conyngham released Slane Irish Whiskey – as well as announcing their distillery – to the accompaniment of local rock band Otherkin -who happen to be supporting Guns N Roses next week at the very same Slane Castle.

Rock On!

I must say – as whiskey launches go – this was pretty damn cool!

Otherkin pumping out their own tunes, along with selected classics from bands that have played Slane over the years.

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Otherkin in action c/othewhiskeynut

Slane Irish Whiskey flowing either neat – in my case – or with fashionable cocktail suggestions.

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Neat, no ice! c/othewhiskeynut

And delightfully tasty tit-bits of food served up by the trusty Eastside Tavern crew where the launch was held.

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Eastside Tavern c/othewhiskeynut

An eclectic gathering of people came to witness this event including Phil Lynott’s mum Philomena fresh from unveiling a refurbished statue to her famous son & all enjoying the the bright sunny Dublin evening that was in it.

But what about the whiskey?

Well it’s obviously not from Slane Distillery itself – which is due to open it’s doors to the public in August.

Slane Irish Whiskey is a sourced blend of quality malt & grain spirits blended and matured together in 3 different types of casks under the watchful eye of Brown-Forman master distillers Chris Morris and Steve Hughes.

Like Otherkin – this is a young, fresh & gutsy whiskey that grabs your attention.

The soft smooth nose captures elements of both the virgin oak and oloroso casks used in a sweet sherry bouquet. There is a bit of depth to the taste with some wood notes & a welcome soft spice from the seasoned American casks too. This all develops into a friendly warmth that gently fades away.

Lovely.

This raises Slane Irish Whiskey up a notch or 2 in my book as the spirit exudes a bit more punch & flavour than standard blends. It would perform very well alongside Jameson’s Crested, Bushmills Black Bush as well as Diageo’s Roe & Co if you’re familiar with these brands.

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Slane -Rock On! c/othewhiskeynut

The bottle is also attractively designed in muscular black with contrasting white & red labeling together with the raised Slane motif on the sides.

If this is a sign of things to come from Slane Distillery I can’t wait for their own offerings of single malts & single pot stills from their 3 copper stills in the years to follow.

Slane Irish Whiskey and Slane Castle Distillery – to borrow a line from Queen who also played Slane.

Sláinte.

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The One, Blend, 40%, x 3.

My first foray into English whisky!

Well – not exactly.

The One is a blend using whisky from the 4 corners of Great Britain – as it exists at present – Scotland, England, Northern Ireland & Wales.

More of a British blend.

The standard expression – bottled at 40% as they all are – is aged in bourbon casks and delivers a perfectly fine tasting experience for a decent well rounded blended whisky.

The sherry finish adds a delicate sweetness to the mix.

Whilst the port finish delivers added body, depth & colour to my palate – as well as a more satisfying heavy mouthfeel.

The Lakes Distillery near Keswick in Cumbia have yet to release their own distillate – but I look forward to the day they do.

Sláinte

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I sampled all the above whiskies on the Living Room Whisky stall at the 2017 Whisky Birmingham show.

Sheep Dip, Blended Malt, 40%

Sheep Dip.

A liquid formulation of insecticide & fungicide used to protect sheep from parasitic infestation.

Not something you’d want to drink then.

Unless it’s a whisky.

And you’re attracted by the bold name & proud ram emblazoned on the label.

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Sheep Dip c/othewhiskeynut

Like I was.

Sheep Dip is produced for The Spencerfild Spirits Company.

It has a very satisfying rich malty feel denoting a blended malt composition – no grain content here.

Pig’s Nose is it’s stablemate.

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Pig’s Nose c/othewhiskeynut

The malty notes are tamed down on tasting by the sweet grain used in this pleasant blend.

Ian MacLeod Distillers have recently acquired The Spencerfield Spirit Company and – like all new ventures – there is a revamp.

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The new labels c/othespiritsbusiness

Sheep Dip & Pig’s Nose have shiny new labels.

As the World Whiskies Awards have a category for label design – I feel it worthy to comment – regardless if the content remains the same – which I believe it is.

The proud ram of Sheep Dip – the very emblem that sparked my initial attraction – is now more muted.

Meanwhile the pig for Pig’s Nose has taken on a rather snooty posture – very reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm character Napoleon.

There’s a current world leader that also has Napoleonic tendencies.

Doublespeak, fake news & vanity.

I’d recommend a re-read of Animal Farm – along with a bottle of Sheep Dip.

The combination of an enjoyable whisky together with a very prescient book is just what the doctor ordered.

Slàinte.

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Flaming Pig Black Cask, 40%

Every now and then the attractiveness of a whiskey bottle – the wittiness of it’s mission statement – or even the name of the expression alone – is enough to tempt me to try a bottle – or at least sample a glass or two.

Fortunately with Flaming Pig Black Cask Irish Whiskey – I managed to acquire a promotional bottle to sample. Many thanks to Flor Prendergast – the entrepreneur behind the brand.

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Spiced Irish c/oflamingpigwhiskey

I first encountered the wonderfully named Flaming Pig brand a while ago with their  Spiced Irish release.

The label looked cool.

The story was fab.

And the spirit had a wonderfully rich christmassy cinnamon & clove spice finish which despite the sweet start – well it is a 33% liqueur – had a healthy warming whiskey bite too.

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Flaming Pig story c/othewhiskeynut

The Flaming Pig Black Cask is produced at the West Cork Distillers plant down in Skibbereen who release a fine range of expressions that often break the mould of what an Irish whiskey should be. This one is no exception.

Aged in heavily charred ex-bourbon barrels, this non-aged statement blend has been imbued with the strong sweetness & flavour of bourbon – yet with an Irish twist.

You could say it’s flavoured with fire!

The rich dark golden colour would imply added caramel in my book – there is no mention of it on the label – although the charred casks would also darken the spirit & add a sweet body to the mix. At 40% strength I assume it’s chill filtered too.

The rich sweet notes build a certain depth at the start- very bourbony with vanilla & caramel – but the delightful hint of warming spices at the end lifts this whiskey for me.

Very pleasant.

Very smooth.

Very drinkable.

Flaming Pig Black Cask isn’t going to set the world on fire – but it lights up a cold winters evening by the hearth. It also opens up Irish whiskey to new flavours emboldened by the charred barrel ageing.

Long may the Flaming Pig squeal!

Sláinte.

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Stewart’s Cream Of The Barley, 40%

Something was clearly amiss when the bartender replied;

‘We don’t have that one.’

Even after I’d spotted the distinctly garish – even kitsch – labelled bottle on a shelve of whiskeys.

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Stewart’s whisky top c/othewhiskeynut

A little game of,

‘Left a bit, right a bit, down one, BINGO!’

ensued to retrieve said bottle – whereupon the same bartender proceeded to shovel loads of ice into a tall glass.

The ice was duly discarded – after I asked for my whisky neat – and a shot promptly poured in.

‘Oh dear’, I thought, before common sense prevailed and the drink was decanted into a more suitable – if not ideal – tumbler.

Forget ‘A Horse With No Name’  – this was the pub with no name!

It transpires the pub formerly known as ‘Whiskey Fair‘ – and which I’d chosen as a suitable watering hole to meet a friend whilst in Dun Laoghaire for the day – had recently changed hands. We even had trouble finding it as although the old name had been removed from the front facade – no new title proudly embellished the now empty display.

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The pub with no name c/oWhiskey Fair

With Irish Whiskey experiencing growing sales figures – I did ponder the managements decision to forgo the whiskey snug as the previous owners had obviously attempted to make a go of it. The premises were in a state of transition to something else – something not including a whiskey bar. Clearly I’d timed my visit during this change and been served by staff who obviously had no real knowledge or appreciation of the remaining whiskey stocks still evident behind the bar.

So what about Stewart’s Cream Of The Barley?

Well it’s an old standard Scottish blend dating from the 1830’s & currently owned by Pernod Ricard after their buyout of Allied Domecq back in 2005.

A rich golden brown colour smacks of added caramel – common in entry level blends.

The nose was sweet with a hint of malt.

The rich velvety malt on taste surprised me – although it soon diminished with an overly sweet overture & a short finish.

Very pleasant, very smooth, very aptly named & actually quite a decent blend for an afternoon chat.

I may not have got the pub I wanted.

But I did get a new whisky to try out!

Sláinte.

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Diggers & Ditch, Double Malt, 45%

Australian whisky doesn’t do blends – as yet.

Single malts are their speciality.

In my brief visit down under I only found one blend that contained Aussie whisky.

Diggers &Ditch could be more accurately called a blended malt.

It’s a mixture of an unnamed Tasmanian single malt with a Dunedin Distillery malt from New Zealand.

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Spirit Of The ANZAC’s c/othewhiskeynut

The collaboration is to honour the ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – who fought and died in World War 1.

The antipodean relationship with the former colonial master and royalty is still very much in evidence today. Perhaps a vote to finally break all ties would be as divisive as Brexit.

What is not divisive is the quality of this spirit – nor this lovely New Zealand songstress –  Lorde.

Bottled at 45%, Diggers &Ditch has a welcome heavier rich malt feel than the generally lighter Tasmanian whiskies I tried. It may be the ex red wine French Oak influence or simply the New Zealand style. Either way it certainly tickled my tastebuds and opened up a new country for me to explore whisky wise.

Lovely to see New Zealand re-enter whisky production.

Sláinte.

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Scots Club Blended Scotch Whisky 40%

St Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland.

November 30th is St Andrew’s Day and Scotland’s National Day.

Some say that the Scots are known for their meanness.

There are even suggestions that for an extra tuppence in the pocket they rejected independence from the UK to stay with The Queen.

Now Brexit has reared it’s head – that tuppence may have been better spent on a bottle of Scots Clan whisky.

At only 16 euro and hailing from a postcode – G2 5RG – identical to that of Jura, Dalmore and other renowned Richard Paterson whiskies – who could resist?

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Common whisky address c/othewhiskeynut

Surprisingly smooth, softly sweet & grainy there is not much going on in this non-peated blend, but at that price? I’ve paid more for worse.

A rather apt whisky to celebrate St Andrew’s Day – and the continued struggle for independence.

Slainte.

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Hugh Lynch’s Irish Whiskey

Hugh Lynch’s Limited Edition Specially Blended Irish Whiskey was officially launched last night (7th Oct) at a well attended celebration in Hugh Lynch’s bar in Tullamore.

A large gathering of friends and well wishers assembled to toast to the success of both the whiskey and the continuation of the bar under the able stewardship of Hugh’s son Emmet.

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The bar at Hugh Lynch’s c/othewhiskeynut

Music, food agus craic were in great supply  – along with plenty of the aforementioned whiskey!

The blended whiskey – bottled at 40% – is a product of West Cork Distillers in Skibbereen. Aged in bourbon casks it has a smooth taste with a hint of sherry and a slight spice on the lovely finish. A very approachable & pleasant blend that oiled the conversations throughout the enjoyable evening.

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Hugh Lynch’s Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Hugh himself was a well respected publican in the area and was well known for sharing a story or two.

Raise a glass of Hugh Lynch’s Whiskey named in his memory and share a tale or two of your own.

The whiskey is a limited release of 1,000 bottles from 3 casks. It is available from Hugh Lynch’s pub Tullamore or via their online shop here.

Slainte

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