When Red Earl first appeared with it’s cartoon like imagery it was somewhat overlooked.
Now available in 4 differing styles. – with varying images too – The Flight of the Earls make for a striking posse of whiskey.
It’s about time I discovered the flavours behind the brand – so ordered up a tasting pack from Tiny Tipple.
Red Earl, 40%
A blend aged in bourbon, sherry & rioja casks.
Warm, inviting & fruity sweet nose. Juicy mouthfeel with a lip smacking finish.
A lovely well balanced flavoursome blend.
Great Earl, 40%
A single grain aged in recharred & virgin oak barrels, finished in Sangiovese casks.
A dry, clean & clear nose. The wine influence makes it’s presence felt on the palate followed by a lovely frisson of oaky spice on the rear.
Spanish Earl, 43%
A single malt matured in bourbon casks & finished in rum & stout casks.
Yum yum – a juicy depth to this one! Rich maltiness on the palate with a solid backbone of darker delights. Opens up further on the finish with a spicy prickle, soft hints of roastiness & an engaging dryness.
Red Earl, Cask Strength, 63.48%
A cask strength version of the Red Earl blend.
Despite the high ABV the nose is still inviting – with just a suggestion of high alcohol presence. The triple cask maturation notes roll over each other in a wonderful flourish of flavour – before a drying hit of alcohol kicks in with an explosion of power.
I don’t subscribe to the notion cask strength is automatically superior to 40% – but Red Earl CS wears it well.
The Flight of Earls impressed me.
Full of flavour, full of style & a hearty bunch of characters too.
The pale colour of the quartet also points to a lack of added caramel.
It’s a delight to taste them all back to back to explore both the differences – & similarities – that run through the collection.
It’s hard to pick a winner from this flight of beauties – but for me the ease of drinking, clarity of flavours & enjoyable flair on the finish – I’m giving it to Great Earl.
There’s a noticeable tannic spiciness which just works on my palate & the connections, connotations & playful attractiveness of the name is very engaging.
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.
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.
I used to have a bottle ceiling price of 100 – euro or sterling – but with escalating costs & criticism of rising bottle prices I’m revising that down to 50.
Rather than simply moan about the situation – I’ll take action.
At first you might think my choices would be limited – but when you begin to look – there’s a surprising amount of highly entertaining & enjoyable spirits to be had.
In the sub €20 white rum category I found surprising variety. Liberté from Lidl won out here. Press on the highlighted links to be diverted to my reviews.
Dunnes do a highly engaging sub €20 whisky by the name of JG Kinsey.
All of Royal Oak Distillery’s output – blend, single grain, single malt & single pot still – is below €50 & thoroughly decent they are too.
However – most of the above attract little attention & appear to be looked down on by the blogging community.
Budget doesn’t mean a lack of taste, flair or character. It might mean a lack of bragging rights & exclusivity and it certainly involves a degree of exploration to find the one that suits your palate – which is part of the fun.
But looking down on such offerings & the folks that drink them is nothing but snobbery – which is never attractive.
To me this is evident in the almost total rejection of Conor McGregor’s Proper Twelve brand within Ireland – despite it becoming the 4th biggest selling Irish Whiskey in the world after only a few years.
It’s also behind the lack of reviews for the correctly labelled Kyasuku World Whisky.
For €30 you get an attractively presented Mizunara casked whisky blended & matured in Japan.
Only fools would turn their noses up at such an opportunity given the clamour over inflated prices for similar product.
The companies – as far as my basic economics goes – are after all doing what they’re meant to – boosting profits for the shareholders.
And no – I won’t be missing out on high end stuff.
There’s been a positive explosion of on-line tastings, bottle swaps & exchanges, clubs & societies as well as good old fashioned pubs & whiskey shows where opportunities arise to taste the delights – or disappointments – beyond reach.
My nearly 120 bottle selection is always open for exchange – Irish based only – so get in touch to try out something new.
For me, tasting & exploring is far more important than owning.