Category Archives: Irish Whiskey

Uisce Beatha Irish Whiskey & Celtic FC Irish Whiskey, 40%

Continuing my exploration of recent Irish Whiskey offerings that may have slipped into history are these 2 blends.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

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.

Very engaging.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

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.

Grand

Thoughts

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.

Sláinte

A Pair Of Peated Irish Whiskey From The Recent Past, Magilligan & Clonmel, 8 Year Old Peated Single Malts plus a Magilligan non peater, 40%

There’s a misconception Irish Whiskey isn’t peaty.

It has been – for a long time.

Irish Distillers released a 45 Year Old Peated Malt from the Old Midleton Distillery a while ago.

The whiskey for this tasting however came from Cooley – who have done a lot to revive the peaty category in Irish Whiskey.

Trying out a pair of 8 Year Old Peated Single Malts from the same source appealed to me – so let’s dive in!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Magilligan Single Malt, 40%

An Irish brand dating from the 1990’s using Cooley malt bottled for Ian Macleod Distillers.

Golden brown colour with decent legs. Fusty leathery nose with a sweet fruitiness & wholesome palate. An appreciative bite on the finish.

Quite a belter!

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Magilligan 8 Year Old Peated Single Malt, 40%

Pale straw with decent legs. Gorgeous coastal iodine like smoke. An almost oily mouthfeel. The fabulous peat stacks up like a cosy warming fire on the finish.

Love this one!

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Clonmel 8 Year Old Peated Single Malt, 40%

Bottled for the Celtic Whiskey Compagnie in France.

Pale straw, decent legs. Soft gentle kiss of turf. Light palate yet smoke comes through. A more balanced well stacked glowing fire gradually fades away.

Nice

Thoughts

A tough choice!

2 gorgeous peaters – the full on Mulligan or gently cultured Clonmel?

Can depend on the mood at the time – but I’m giving it to the fabulous peaty exuberance of Mulligan 8yo.

Sláinte

Barr an Uisce 16 Year Old, Single Malt, 46%

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.

And with Barr an Uisce 16yo it tastes damn fine.

A honeyed nose.

Rich vanilla coming through on the palate which is both clean, sharp & enticing.

The finish excites with an engaging bite on the 46% ABV presentation.

A classic ex-bourbon cask matured Irish Whiskey.

A joy to encounter!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

A Clan Colla Double Bill Tasting In Ballinasloe, 20 Year Old Amarone & 20 Year Old PX Finish, Single Malts, 46%

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.

Thoughts

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.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Paddy’s Share Irish Whiskey, Blend, 47%

Being a judge in the blind whiskey tastings for the Irish Whiskey Awards 2021 did reveal a few surprises.

One of them was an entrant named Paddy’s Share in the Blended Limited Release category.

Photo Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

I gave it an above average score with brief tasting notes of

very soft smoke, soft palate, drying finish, pale colour’.

Searching the internet failed to uncover what Paddy’s Share was – until now!

Sazerac -Paddy brand owners – have just unveiled Paddy’s Share to the public.

A sherry finished triple distilled blend presented at 47% offering bold & nutty flavours.

Blind Whiskey Judging courtesy Whiskey Nut

Paddy’s Share is a welcome addition to the long established brand & one that stood out for me in the blind tasting.

Looking forward to enjoying more of Paddy’s Share!

Sláinte

May Lóag Oriel & Bordeaux Smoked, Blends, 40%

The rise of Irish Whiskey continues at an unprecedented pace & anything that gets you noticed in an ever increasing marketplace is a bonus.

May Lóag Irish Whiskey’s attractively designed bottles crowned with distinctive ‘Bull Horns’ evoking tales of Táin Bó Cúailnge – Cattle Raid Of Cooley – certainly stand out from the crowd.

But what do they taste like?

A recent gathering of the Athlone Whiskey Tasting Society provided the answer.

Oriel was first up.

The core blend comprises of ‘malt and grain Irish Whiskey aged in bourbon, red wine and sherry casks’ as stated on the label.

A very expressive & engaging sweet nose enticed me in.

Quite light on the palate yet subtle notes of dark fruitiness provided welcome depth.

A gently pleasing spice rounded this very well balanced & delightful blend up.

Bordeaux Smoked – also a blend – came ‘Lightly Peated’ with a 2 cask maturation of ‘bourbon and red wine’.

The soft sweet peat on the nose was a delight.

A fresh lightness on the palate gave clarity to the interplay of vanilla, dark fruits & an enjoyable smokiness.

The smoke gently faded away on a prickly drying finish.

A gorgeous & gentle sweet peater with subtle depth.

May Lóag have released a very tasty pair of attractive blends in distinctive packaging at an extremely competitive price to boot.

Here’s hoping May Lóag gain the popularity they deserve.

Sláinte

May Lóag Irish Whiskey is a brand from Old Carrick Mill, Carrickmacross, website here.

Limavady Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 46%

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!

Lovely Limavady!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

This bottle of Limavady was provided by their PR company.

All views are – as always – my own.

Concannon Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

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.

Nice!

Sláinte

Concannon Vineyard website here.

Irish Whiskey Sales in America 2020 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.