Category Archives: Blended Whiskey

Bell’s Blended Scotch Whisky, 40%, On Burn’s Night

I was gifted this 37.5cl Bell’s Decanter on my travels.

A lot were sold over the years.

Wade pottery made my decanter with production in both Stoke & Portadown to keep up with demand.

The design here was in use from 1966 to 1988 – but as my decanter sports a barcode plus 40% ABV notation it suggests a 1980’s offering.

To celebrate Burn’s Night fellow whisky fans were invited round for a grand opening & drinking of the Bell’s.

The plastic seal on the cap was intact on removal.

Trying to prise open the cork it split in half!

Undeterred a corkscrew was utilised.

Sadly it only proceeded to open up a hole as the cork disintegrated into small pieces & a tea strainer had to be used to filter the whisky!

Nonetheless pleasant sweet & fruity aromas rose from the glass.

Decent depth & a rich body on the palate suggested sherry cask influence.

A flourish of spice on the rear left us all agreeing the 35yrs or so in the decanter hadn’t harmed this lovely little drinker.

My only disappointment was not detecting any peat influence – which I was expecting – but hey – it’s not every day you crack open a slice of Scottish Blended Whisky history!

A lovely dram to toast Rabbie Burns!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

For info on Bell’s Decanters read here.

For info on barcodes read here.

For info of Proof to ABV changes read here.

The Irishman, Founder’s Reserve, Blend, 40%

At one time I had a whole box of miniatures – they’re almost all gone now.

This Irishman Founder’s Reserve is the core blend from Walsh Whiskey.

I’ve always enjoyed it – even against their single malts.

Perhaps the 30% single pot still component adds a touch of depth & spice to the remaining 70% single malt mix?

Perhaps the rich, creamy viscosity enhances the experience?

Whatever.

The old adage ‘ greater than the sum of it’s parts’ certainly holds true for Founder’s Reserve.

Worth checking out.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Bart’s Blended Irish Whiskey, 46%

My 1st encounter with Bart’s Whiskey – a core release blend for Lough Ree Distillery in advance of their own distillate – was in the comfort & warmth of Skelly’s Bar Ballymahon.

Sitting by an open turf fire I found Bart’s to be clean & fresh with a lively citrusy nose.

A smooth silky mouthfeel with touches of oiliness warmed to me.

Delightful soft kisses of smoky turf on the finish left an engaging dry spiciness melting away.

A highly entertaining & complex whiskey!

The following week found me in possession of a bottle with the chance to explore further.

Meeting Bart’s in Skelly’s had already won me over – but the additional information only confirmed this.

Complete with QR code for all the geeks out there – a lovely passage honoured the memory of Lough Ree Distillery’s founders father Bart.

A component breakdown of the blend explained my brief tasting notes.

Clean & fresh’ equates to non chill filtered & natural colour.

The high – & probably youthful – grain percentage explains ‘lively’.

The pot still ‘oiliness’ is evident.

But the crowning glory – for my palate anyway – is undoubtedly the rye cask & peated malt giving those ‘smoky kisses’ & ‘dry spice’ on the gorgeous finish.

Some demand such information on the bottle.

For me it’s an optional extra & an additional selling point.

Even if all the label stated was ‘Bart’s Irish Whiskey’ – my palate told me this is a damn fine whiskey!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Sheep Dip Islay, Blended Malt, 40%

Sheep Dip’s an old friend of mine.

The tongue-in-cheek name attracted me to this blended malt & was rewarded with an easy going honeyed experience augmented by a rich maltiness.

An Islay version caught my eye – a kind reader generously sent a sample.

The peat smoke was evident – but rather subdued.

More entertaining on the palate. Crisp, sweet & drying.

It’s on the finish that Islay Sheep Dip came alive for me. A gorgeous explosion of smokey goodness danced merrily away to a lip smacking finalé.

Nice!

Another entertaining brand from the Ian MacLeod stable.

Sláinte

Islay bottle image courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop. All others authors own.

Midleton Very Rare 2021, Blend, 40%

Midleton Very Rare – MVR – is highly collectible, highly sought after & very highly revered in Irish Whiskey.

Yet every time I sample one I ask myself, ‘ Is that it?’.

They are all very nice whiskey – but rather soft, subtle & understated.

Given the plethora of new brands & distilleries, MVR can often get lost in the excitement that’s out there.

On a blind tasting – despite acknowledging the whiskey was well balanced, cultured & aged – I gave pole position to a more affordable blend that engaged with me better.

I had the wonderful opportunity to share a few glasses of MVR 2021 with a friend who received one as a present – but in all honesty I won’t be lusting after it nor putting it on a pedestal.

A very enjoyable whiskey – if you can afford it.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Foxes Bow Irish Whiskey , 43%, Blend

There’s a bright new shiny brand of Irish Whiskey from Limerick creating a few waves.

Using artwork designed by a local illustrator Foxes Bow strikes a bold, fresh & contemporary pose – and that’s only the bottle label!

So what of the liquid?

Positively sparkles on my palate!

A light, clean & fresh nose offers up hints of peppery spice.

Smooth mouth coating palate.

Dries out towards the finish but leaves a fruity juiciness gently fading away too.

The bourbon cask maturation with Oloroso & Rye barrel finishing has created a highly entertaining blend with an engaging array of flavours to tease out.

Very enjoyable!

Sláinte

All images courtesy Foxes Bow website & social media.

The Dublin Liberties Distillery Miniature Pack, Blends, 40% to 46%

I do love miniature packs.

They’re a great way to sample a selection of whiskeys & hone down your tasting preferences.

This Dublin Liberties Distillery box has been lying round my house for a while – so long in fact the label design on The Dubliner still boasts the old – & rather outdated I must say – frontage!

So how do they stack up?

The Dubliner, Blend, 40%

A bourbon casked NAS – non age statement – blended Irish Whiskey.

Soft vanilla & caramel on the nose, pleasant easy palate, a flourish of sweet grain & richer maltiness on the finish.

A nice easy drinker.

Oak Devil, 5 Year Old, Blend, 46%

Oak Devil first appeared as an NAS.

I’ve always liked this one.

There’s a noticeable tannic spiciness which just works on my palate & the connections, connotations & playful attractiveness of the name is very engaging.

Suits me!

The Dead Rabbit, Blend, 44%

A great collaboration with the Dead Rabbit bar in New York.

At 44% & using first fill American Oak finishing Dead Rabbit is just – richer!

The vanilla aromas are boosted, a heavier mouthfeel leads into a lip smacking almost succulent finish.

Nice!

Thoughts

The Dublin Liberties Distillery are a dynamic operation.

Not afraid to rework their offerings, engage in collaborations & rebrand when required. They’ve also released an innovative beer cask range & are involved in head distiller Darryl McNally’s Limavady Single Cask outing.

Yet to release their own distillate – this entertaining trio displays careful cask choices & clever blending & maturation regimes to bring about a diversity of flavours.

The Dubliner’s new packaging is a winner for me – but it’s a close call between the richness of Dead Rabbit & clean simplicity of Oak Devil for tasting enjoyment.

It boils down to personal choice, memories, connections & joie-de-vivre.

Oak Devil has it!

Sláinte

All photos authors own

Clan Colla, 11 Year Old Blend & 19 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

Ahascragh Distillery in County Galway is beginning to take shape.

Conversion of the Old Mill – situated in the heart of the pretty village – into a modern Irish Whiskey Distillery & Visitors Centre is ongoing.

The new café is already welcoming customers & offers branded gifts alongside light refreshments.

For the harder stuff – a visit to one of the local hostelries is suggested. Nearby Katie Daly’s Bar was open the day I visited.

In advance of their own whiskey being produced Ahascragh Distillery have released a trio of sourced spirits – Xin Gin, Clan Colla 11yo Blend & Clan Colla 19yo Single Malt.

Clan Colla 11 Year Old Blend

A lovely rich, warm glow of dark vanilla & deep inviting leather notes signifies to my tastes a classic ex-bourbon cask matured whiskey.

Hints of juiciness & stone fruit succulence on the palate.

The finish gradually dries out & I was left with an attractive bite giving added character & flair to this very attractive blend.

Clan Colla 19 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

Like slipping down into the warm embrace & comforting hug of a generously padded old leather armchair!

The bourbon cask has worked it’s charms on this silky smooth yet wholesome & juicy malt.

Delightful.

Thoughts

A stupendous & stunning duo to launch the McAllister family’s adventure into the whiskey business.

For my palate the 11yo offered that extra oomph with being finished in peated casks additional to the oloroso featured across both whiskey.

I didn’t detect any smokiness but that dryness & attractive frisson of bite on the finish won me over.

Best wishes to Ahascragh Distillery!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Jatt Life, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

There are Irish Whiskey brands existing catering soley for markets outside of Ireland.

Jatt Life in Tuath

That’s Jatt Life.

I picked this bottle up on a recent UK visit.

That’s Jatt Life.

The publicity is slick, contemporary, very active on social media & appears to target a demographic & culture of bling that wouldn’t include myself.

That’s Jatt Life.

Jatt Life info

There’s little information on the bottle – but tasting & enjoying the contents is my motivation.

That’s Jatt Life.

A lovely rich nose redolent of succulent dark fruits complemented by hints of woody oak.

The mouthfeel is deep & luxurious.

More woody spice comes through leaving a dry tingling on the long finish.

That’s Jatt Life.

Often virgin oak maturation can be quite aggressive – but additional finishing with sherry oak has introduced a wonderful luscious rich fruity interplay.

That’s Jatt Life.

Enjoying Jatt Life

A very engaging & characterful blend.

Congratulations to Jatt Life – expanding the Irish Whiskey category.

Sláinte

All images courtesy Whiskey Nut

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!

Sláinte