Continuing my exploration of recent Irish Whiskey offerings that may have slipped into history are these 2 blends.
Uisce Beatha Real Irish Whiskey, 40%
Released by ROKDrinks – a large multinational company with a varied range of branded products.
Pale in colour – which I always find reassuring. Quite light & gentle nose. Surprisingly rich depth on the palate of sweet vanilla. Lovely warmth to this one with a pleasant prickly frisson on the finish.
Celtic FC Irish Whiskey, 40%
Celtic Football Club have released a number of whiskeys over the years for their fans to enjoy.
Pale golden brown. A very gentle nose that grudgingly gives up soft aromas of sweet vanilla. Mild palate that sits easily in the mouth slowly warming to a fruity sweet finish.
Both of these blends offer easy accessible drinking. There’s no jagged edges or bold off-putting flavours to deter. For my tastes Uisce Beatha does it with more flair & would score the goals in this round.
Whiskey finished in an ever increasing array of fancy casks appears to be de rigueur right now – so it’s always refreshing to get back to basics with an ex-bourbon cask only Irish Whiskey.
Even if ex-bourbon maturation only became a ‘thing’ due to American Bourbon legislation which states new – or virgin – American oak casks must be used in the production of bourbon – resulting in all those once used casks being shipped to Ireland to be refilled to mature our whiskey.
Ahead of St Patrick’s Day a gathering – or Clan – of Ahascragh Distillery friends met up at Brewery Lane in Ballinasloe for the revealing of the latest super premium releases by Ahascragh.
Clan Colla 20 Year Old Amarone & Clan Colla 20 Year Old PX are both single malts sourced by Ahascragh Distillery but finished & bottled by them at their own facility.
Presented at a pleasing 46% with no chill filtering & natural colour – as are almost all Ahascragh products – the Amarone additionally comes in a 55% single cask, cask strength limited edition.
Along with an 11 Year Old Blend & the UAIS – pronounced ‘oosh’ – core release – the tasting in Brewery Lane marked a 1st local ‘in-person’ event by Ahascragh.
It was an opportunity for folks to sample the diverse range of whiskey – and gin – on offer from Ahascragh & hear of their ambitious plans to be the first carbon neutral distillery in Ireland.
Having previously enjoyed both the 11yo Blend & 19yo Oloroso Single Malt in Katie Daly’s – I was interested to see what another year & different cask finishes brought to the single malt whiskey.
Clan Colla 20 Year Old Amarone, 46%
For a 20yo ex-bourbon matured single malt I found the nose rather light yet imbued by a rich fruity sweetness from the Italian Amarone cask finish.
The palate followed through with darker vanilla & hints of woodiness interplaying over summer fruits.
A nice nuttiness appeared on the finish which dried out leaving a long & pleasant prickliness dancing away.
Clan Colla 20 Year Old PX, 46%
I was greeted by a lovely malty nose augmented by a dark nuttiness.
The palate displayed more warm autumnal stone fruits rather than the lighter summer feel of the Amarone.
Again a drying finish rounded the whiskey off but with a juicier appeal.
For my tastes the 20yo PX brought a darker warmth to the proceeding which suited me better.
Both are lovely whiskeys which hopefully showcase future releases from Ahascragh Distillery’s own spirit – when ready.
The evening was a welcome return to live tastings with congenial company in the hospitable venue of Brewery Lane.
I wasn’t going to add to my growing whiskey bottles – but as a percentage of sales were being donated to the UNHCR relief fund for Ukraine – herself got the Xin Gin & in-keeping with my spending limit I went home with the UAIS whiskey.
Many thanks to the warm welcome of Ahascragh Distillery & all the team.
There’s been a lot of publicity around Limavady Whiskey.
Not too surprising really – as Whistle Pig are partners in the venture.
Having said that – any liquid I’ve tasted from the Whistle Pig stable has been top notch – so I’m expecting similar high standards from Limavady Whiskey.
The bottle certainly stands out.
Embossed with ‘1750’ – the date of the original Limavady Distillery formerly ran by master distiller Darryl McNally’s ancestors – crowned with a leaping dog logo below an unusual bulbous top & a natty glass stopper.
The label displays Barrel & Bottle Numbers too.
Bodes well – so how does it taste?
A very appealing deep golden brown colour – no mention of added caramel or chill filtering.
A dark, richly inviting aroma of stone fruits, slight nuttiness & warm maltiness.
Clean, crisp & refreshing on the palate.
The finish comes alive displaying sweet juicy fruitiness contrasting with a lively & enjoyable prickliness dancing merrily around. Leaves a lovely drying sensation slowly fading away.
Well that’s one leaping dog having leapt on my palate to great effect!
All images authors own.
This bottle of Limavady was provided by their PR company.
You’d be forgiven for never hearing of Concannon Irish Whiskey before if you live in Ireland – as it’s mainly sold in the USA!
Concannon is a popular seller over the pond making it into the Top 10 of the biggest brands – appearing above Powers & Black Bush – so when an opportunity arose to purchase a miniature from the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder’s new sample service – Drams Delivered – my curiosity was piqued.
Interestingly this whiskey is finished in Petite Sirah casks from the Concannon Vineyard in California – which might partly explain it’s impressive sales!
The colour was reassuringly pale for a wine cask finish.
Sweet, fruity & honeyed on the nose. Gently inviting.
Quite a light palate with an attractive freshness.
Juicy sweet grain appears before a pleasing fruitiness topped off with a touch of prickliness gently fades away.
A very pleasant easy drinker with enough depth of flavour to keep it entertaining.