Category Archives: Irish Whiskey

Irish Reserve 12 Year Old, Single Malt, 40%

Aldi continue their well received own label Irish Reserve series with a 12 year old single malt.

Tastefully packaged in a light green bottle with a thick neck & cork stopper – Irish Reserve 12 uses the same attractive label design as previous 26yo and similar 4yo offerings.

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Irish Reserve 12yo c/thewhiskeynut

At only €25 – I couldn’t resist.

A golden brown hue in the glass.

Sweet honeyed nose – delicate & restrained.

The palate was soft & warm. No real flavour explosion – just pleasant easy drinking with a gentle drying prickliness at the end.

After the richness & depth of the 26yo – or the fresh graininess of the 4yo – this 12yo left me a tad disappointed.

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Basic info, basic single malt. c/othewhiskeynut

Like a decent Speyside – it was smooth & easy.  Just lacking a certain sparkle or character to engage me.

Having said that – it’s obviously a popular style.  My bottle was the last on the shelf.

Get it while you can!

Slàinte

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Dingle Single Malt Batch 4 & Dingle Distillery Reserve, 46.5%

Attending the Irish Whiskey Awards 2019 has it’s attractions.

Like having a tour round the fabulous – and extremely shiny – copper pot stills of Dingle Distillery itself.

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Gleaming! c/othewhiskeynut

As well as tasting the latest Batch 4 release – along with a special Distillery Reserve.

Apart from the spartan label – I had limited time to ask questions. It is fully matured in port casks was all I could glean. Perhaps it’s a component of Batch 4?

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Distillery Reserve c/othewhiskeynut

The rich dark fruity nose was a delight.

Very gentle on the palate to begin with. It took a while for the wonderful port influence to make it’s presence known – but when it did – very rewarding.

Not overly complex, it’s youth hadn’t developed hidden depths. A simple yet satisfying single malt.

Batch 4 by comparison was more rounded – even cultured – with greater depth courtesy of the triple barrel ageing  – bourbon, port & sherry.

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Batch 4 at Dingle c/othewhiskeynut

The nose was gentle & light – yet the palate opened up right from the start.

Sweet warming vanilla & caramel from the ex-bourbon casks mingled with darker fruits from the port interwoven with a gentle drying spice from the sherry.

There was a lot going on and plenty to pull out from this one.

Both were highly enjoyable single malts displaying differing flavours & influences from the woods matured in.

It also demonstrated – to me at least – the art of blending different individual single malt components together to build a more layered & complex whole.

A big thank you to Dingle Distillery for the warm hospitality & conviviality displayed throughout the evenings awards.

Sláinte

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Midleton Very Rare 2019, Blend, 40%

Sonny Molloy’s in Galway certainly know how to throw a party.

This one happened to be the latest release of the revered Midleton Very Rare series – the 2019 bottle.

I missed out on John Wilson’s – the Irish Times wine guru – introduction and only arrived as Brian Nation – Head Distiller at Midleton Distillery – led out the first whiskey of the evening.

Barry Crockett Legacy, Single Pot Still, 46%

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Legacy miniature c/othewhiskeynut

Like meeting an old friend again – this single pot stills greets you with a warm embrace – cheers you with it’s complex palate and entertains you with a gorgeous oak spiciness.

Fabulous.

Next up came a special treat.

Midleton Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 56%

Drawn from a 21 year old virgin oak cask resting at Midleton – yours for a starting price of only €80,000 – this wasn’t a shy whiskey.

Rich & warm woody oak tannins with a hint of spice – I could have nosed this beauty all night long.

The palate started off flavoursome & smooth – before the strength & gradually drying tannic spice made it’s presence felt – which left my mouth reeling.

Not for the faint hearted.

And then the finale.

Midleton Very Rare, 2019, Blend, 40%

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Drinking MVR 2019 at Sonny Molloy’s c/othewhiskeynut

A blend of up to 226 barrels of grain & single pot still aged from 13 to 34 years carefully put together by Brian Nation himself.

A surprisingly fruity nose – reminded me of wine gums, the dark ones especially.

A silky smooth palate tempered by a lovely gentle sweet grain mixed in with dry oaky tannins – which didn’t overpower – allowing a cornucopia of flavour to flow around the mouth with depth & character in abundance.

A perfectly balanced blend showcasing the rich diversity & age range of the casks available at Midleton Distillery.

A joy to behold.

Sláinte

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A big thank you to all the team at Sonny Molloy’s & Midleton Distillery for the warm hospitality – fabulous whiskey – tasty canapés and highly enjoyable evening.

May the road rise with you!

Dolmen Irish Whiskey Stout, 7.6%

A few years ago you’d be hard pushed to find an Irish Craft Beer – let alone one aged in Irish Whiskey Barrels – yet this growing category continues to expand.

Western Herd – based in County Clare – recently re-released their Dolmen Irish Whiskey Stout. I was lucky enough to secure a sample.

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McHugh’s in Ennis c/othewhiskeynut

Western Herd also release a wide range of craft beers – best sampled at one of their bars – like I did at McHugh’s in Ennis – or perhaps Flanagan’s in Lahinch is more your style?

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Western Herd beers in McHugh’s c/othewhiskeynut

You can always top it off with a glass of Chapel Gate’s JJ Corry Whiskey – the source of the barrels that enhance the flavour of this stout. ‘Hon The Banner’ certainly went down well with me!

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JJ Corry at McHugh’s c/othewhiskeynut

Using the branded tasting glass provided – I poured myself a Dolmen.

A gorgeously dark stout with a lively head.

Aromas of coffee, malt & burnt molasses. Mrs Whiskey also discerned blackcurrant & chocolate. Very inviting.

I must admit to finding the stout a bit too gassy for my palate. My preference is for a creamy flatness – but there’s a good combination of flavours within. The coffee was still present, initially the sweet honey malt made itself known, then faded slowly into quite a light feeling stout which belied the 7.6% ABV.

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Flanagan’s in Lahinch c/othewhiskeynut

Now this isn’t a beer to swig down. It’s one to be savoured & sipped – which is how I approached it over the course of an hour or so.

By then the ‘fizz’  I’m not a fan of had dissipated. The stout tasted more fuller bodied with darker, treacly notes coming through – much to my satisfaction.

A worthy addition to the barrel aged beer canon.

Sláinte

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Skibbereen Eagle, Single Cask, 57%

Fly Like An Eagle,

Sang Steve Miller and his band back in the day.

Well this Skibbereen Eagle certainly made my palate fly!

At 57% it’s remarkably shy on the nose – spirity alright – yet clean & fresh.

The palate belied the high ABV offering warming vanilla & soft caramel from the bourbon cask maturation – all before a lipsmackingly enjoyable alcoholic punch made it’s presence felt.

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The Skibbereen Eagle flies free! c/othewhiskeynut

A prickly tingling sensation & gently fading flavours followed on the finish.

This is a West Cork Distillers whiskey available on the German market for €33 – prices correct as of September 2019.

Fabulous stuff indeed!

Sláinte

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Sample & header image courtesy of Irish Drams.

Erne Larder, Irish Whiskey Marmalade, 2%

What better way to enjoy breakfast than indulge yourself with Irish Whiskey Marmalade on yer toast?

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How could I resist? c/othewhiskeynut

Erne Larder is currently available in the Lidl chain of stores and I happily spread a liberal amount all over my sourdough toast earlier.

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Whiskey Marmalade! c/othewhiskeynut

The marmalade has a solid consistency – it doesn’t run over the toast – is fairly dark in colour and comes with orange peel in the mix to give added bite & texture.

The nose was rich & inviting, heavy with orange, a hint of malt & fresh zestiness too.

The taste was wholesome, bursting with flavour & full bodied.

If this was a whiskey I’d be saying it possessed character, depth & added flair.

A very satisfying way to start the day.

Sláinte

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NB – Please note the 2% refers to the percentage of Irish Whiskey – source not stated – in the recipe, not the ABV of the marmalade.

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Ingredients c/othewhiskeynut

Irish American Whiskey Trio Taste-Off

I couldn’t say goodbye to my latest selection of Irish Whiskey brands only available in America without a taste challenge.

Emptying what was left of the miniatures – and a pour from the 750 ml US size bottle – the first thing I noticed was the almost identical golden colour from all 3 whiskeys.

All 3 are NAS – non age statement – offerings at 40% ABV.

All 3 are sourced brands from unspecified Irish Distilleries and

All 3 taste remarkably different from each other.

I’ll kick off with Kilbrin.

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The attractive front of Kilbrin c/othewhiskeynut

This one immediately appealed to my palate. Fresh, lively & inviting. A gorgeous spicy kick towards the end endeared this blend to me.

Kavanagh was up next.

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Kavanagh Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

More malty – biscuity even. Hardly surprising as it’s a single malt. A smoother delivery – cultured perhaps – with a gentler spiciness adding some character.

Wolfhound rounded up the trio.

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The Gentle Giant c/othewhiskeynut

Compared to the others, I found the ‘roar’ of the hound a rather dull & muted affair. The honeyed sweetness just didn’t set my palate alight.

Without a doubt my clear winner – and rather surprisingly so – was Kilbrin Irish Whiskey.

It has character & attitude in abundance.

For me it captures the beauty of a good blend.

The balance of both malt & grain whiskeys compliment each other giving complexity to the palate.

Kudos to Kilbrin!

Sláinte

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Powers Single Cask SuperValu Releases Launch Night At NCAD, Single Pot Stills, 46%

The SuperValu grocery store chain announced a new exclusive release of Powers Single Cask, Single Pot Still Whiskeys at a recent event in the NCAD (National College of Art and Design) building in Dublin recently.

The NCAD is housed on the former site of John’s Lane Distillery – the ‘spiritual’ home of Powers Whiskey – and some of the original buildings – and pot stills – are still in situ.

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Your host for the evening! c/othewhiskeynut

Arriving a little late to the proceedings I happily entered just as Ger Garland – Irish Distillers Whiskey Ambassador – presented the 2 Single Cask releases – Cask 147620 & Cask 104072 – to the gathered audience.

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Powers Cask 147620 c/othewhiskeynut

Both are 10 year old single pot stills offered at 46% and are matured in ex-bourbon casks – both 1st fill and 2nd fill casks are used.

I found both of them classic Powers Whiskey.

Warming vanilla & caramel on the nose. A honeyed creamy palate followed by that drying peppery spice I love so much.

Very enjoyable indeed!

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It wasn’t just the whiskey – the titbits were tasty too! c/othewhiskeynut

The 2 offerings did differ – rather subtly in my estimation – although others picked out more marked divergencies than me.

The consensus seemed to be on Cask 104072 as the most popular representation of a Powers Single Pot Still.

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Powers Cask 104072 c/othewhiskeynut

I found the creamy beginning and spicy end more pronounced & better balanced than the alternative cask – although it must be said both were fine whiskeys!

Both releases come complete with an attractive presentation box and will be available in SuperValu stores nationwide in October with a price tag of around €145 each.

With only 276 bottles for Cask 147620 & 216 for Cask 104072 – I doubt they will hang around for long!

Sláinte

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Kavanagh Irish Whiskey, Single Malt, 40%

My final bottle of Irish Whiskey – from my American market only trio – is Kavanagh Irish Whiskey.

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Kavanagh Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

They release a range of attractively labelled whiskeys. Namely a Blend, a Single Malt, a Single Grain and a 16 Year Old Single Malt – all at 40% ABV – or 80 Proof in America.

This NAS (non age statement) Single Malt made it back to Ireland for me to sample.

The distillery of origin is not stated and Kavanagh seem to be a store brand for Total Wine & More – from where it was purchased.

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Kavanagh’s back! c/othewhiskeynut

The nose was soft & fruity – almost orchard like – with hints of honey.

The palate started off suitably smooth – yet gradually built up with warming vanilla & caramel leaving a welcome soft tingling spice on the finish.

A very easy & approachable single malt. Relatively simple with no great complexity or depth – but for the price point it delivers an enjoyable experience.

I’d happily go on to sample the other Kavanagh Whiskeys based on my findings.

Sláinte

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Wolfhound Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

The ‘Gentle Giant’ it says on this attractive bottle of Irish Whiskey – and when it comes to the Wolfhound – they certainly are gentle giants of the dog world.

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The Gentle Giant c/othewhiskeynut

But what of the whiskey?

Another sourced brand brought back by my better half & purchased at a Total Wine store in Baltimore.

Prestige Wine And Spirits Group are the company behind this one – or so it says on the label – but Prestige Beverage Group come up on an internet search here.

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Part of the group. c/othewhiskeynut

The nose is mild, caramelly & malt biscuit like.

The palate is soft easy drinking.

Nothing really exciting – but it slowly grows with grainy heat to a bit of a spirity bite at the end – which doesn’t last long.

The spirity bite was the part I enjoyed the most – as otherwise Wolfhound lacks character & depth.

A bargain basement blend.

Sláinte

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