Category Archives: Irish Whiskey

Method And Madness, Rye & Malt, 46%

After falling in love with Shortcross Rye And Malt I thought I’d order up a sample of Method And Madness Rye & Malt from Tiny Tipple for a comparison.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Reassuringly pale in colour.

Where’s the rye on the nose? It’s rather timid & tame.

Mild & malty mouthfeel.

It’s only on the finish a rich peppery spice develops showcasing the rye that’s in there.

After Shortcross I must admit to finding Method And Madness a bit of a letdown.

Despite a 60/40 rye/barley mix there was a distinct lack of warmth from this whiskey.

Too much of the method & not enough madness for me.

Sláinte

Method And Madness Rye & Malt website here.

My Shortcross blog here.

Tiny Tipple website here.

Johnnie Fox’s & Henry Downes & Co No 9 Irish Whiskey, Blends, 40%

Johnnie Fox’s is a well known pub which does a roaring tourist attraction trade in the mountains just outside of Dublin.

They released a whiskey a few years ago & this is my 1st time to try it.

I’d never heard of Henry Downes before – so had to look them up. Turns out they are also a bar – situated in Waterford City – but originally started out as spirits merchants.

Nice to see some traditions last with this release!

Obviously these are both sourced whiskeys from unnamed Irish distilleries – so what did I find?

Image courtesy apoma.dk

Johnnie Fox’s, Blend, 40%

Pale straw in colour, a fruity little number with hints of darker depth, clean fresh grain palate develops some pleasing spiciness towards the rear finishing with a little spirity kick.

An attractive blend to entice you into the Johnnie Fox’s establishment!

Image courtesy Whiskey.Auction

Henry Downes No 9, Blend, 40%

Whatever happened to the other 8?

A slightly darker shade of pale straw, soft malty nose with hints of wet leather, sweet biscuity palate finishing with a dry peppery spice & slight frisson of excitement.

Grand.

Thoughts

For me Johnnie Fox’s came over as a fresher & livelier style of whiskey which instantly appealed to me.

Can’t help thinking Henry Downes was beginning to suffer from being too long in the bottle & might have been more enjoyable when originally released.

Happy however to have tasted a couple of early pioneers who paved the way for the positive explosion of Irish Whiskey brands entering the market today.

Sláinte

Johnnie Fox’s website here.

Henry Downes bar information courtesy Publication website here.

Samples purchased from Drams Delivered here.

You can’t beat a good blend, Dunville’s 1808, 40%, Irish Whiskey

I always enjoy a blind tasting.

Stripped of any clues as to what’s before you it heightens your senses to the tastes & flavours experienced on drinking the liquid.

Presented before me were 6 samples. I duly poured them into 6 identical Túath glasses & proceeded to savour the contents.

For some reason I thought this was a rum tasting – & quickly revised this theory as No 1 ‘despite having a bit of a sour nose the lack of body on the palate & high ABV kick signalled to me a poitín! Can’t say it did much for me. Nice experience – but not an approachable spirit’.

There was no No 2 so No 3 ‘proved intriguing. The pale yellow colour, soft fruity nose, easy palate with slight hints of burnt notes on the rear drew me in. I could drink this one again!’.

With No 4I experienced a slightly musty nose, indicative of long ageing, perfectly fine palate yet lacked a bit of body & very dry on the rear. Rather nonplussed by this one’.

No 5 ‘had a sherry like influence, smooth & silky on the palate with a nice touch of dryness on the rear. Could be a low ppm peater? Not quite enough to excite me if it is’.

No 6 ‘initially blew me away! Suggestive of high ABV. On a 2nd tasting it still didn’t entice me’.

No 7 ‘kinda hooked me, if only for a more pronounced smoky influence. Elegant yet challenging all at the same time’.

So that was it! My initial thoughts are in italics.

Samples 3 & 7 stood out for me in this selection.

So what were they?

Photo courtesy Irish Drink Shop

3 – Dunville’s 1808, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

What can I say? A very pleasant easy drinker with enough depth of character to keep me coming back for more.

Photo courtesy Whisky Exchange

7 – Smögen 100 Proof, 6 Year Old, Swedish Single Malt, 57.1%

A heavy peater finished in oloroso casks at a challenging high ABV. Think I’d have enjoyed this one more at 46% without the oloroso finish myself.

And the others?

1 – Black’s Single Pot New Make, 63.5%

4 – Jamesons Black Barrel Proof, Blend, 50%

5 – High Coast, Dálvve Sherry Influence, Swedish Single Malt, 48%

A light peater with 50/50 bourbon/sherry influence. A bit of a let down from the original high peater Box Dálvve I enjoyed at Gothenberg Airport here.

6 – Bushmills Causeway Collection, 2008 Muscatel Casks, Single Malt, 56.4%

Given that Smögen is a bit of a unicorn bottle – hard to get hold of, pricey & limited edition – as are some of the other bottles – I think Dunville’s 1808 performed extremely well on my palate.

I took away a few themes from this tasting. High ABV can blow away the flavours for me & make for a challenging drinking experience. Sherry cask influence isn’t my style of choice & when it comes to enjoyable, affordable drinking – you can’t beat a good blend!

What would your palate have chosen?

Sláinte

Many thanks to fellow Whiskey Blogger S for the blind samples & bottle photo.

Shortcross Rye And Malt, 46%, at Thomas Connolly Bar, Sligo

Now here’s a whiskey I instantly fell in love with!

Shortcross Rye And Malt is the 2nd release from the boutique Rademon Estate Distillery in Northern Ireland.

It marks the return of rye to Irish Whiskey with a bold & unapologetic offering.

The 1909 Royal Commission into whiskey – which paved the way for the modern industry we know today – mentions Irish Whiskey usually being made with a mixed mashbill of barley, oats, wheat & rye.

I’m very pleased to see distilleries like Rademon exploring the rich flavours these grains deliver.

Being a self confessed lover of rye – Shortcross Rye And Malt displays that classic rye nose to draw me in.

Some describe it as dry sweet biscuit, my other half experienced almondy nuttiness.

A warming luscious mouthfeel.

The dryness of the rye has been balanced by a barley creaminess.

Offering both depth & complexity Rye And Malt finishes with a flourish of dry peppery spice that delights.

Love it!

Shortcross double distill Irish grown rye & barley & present the whiskey non chill filtered, natural colour at 46%.

Thomas Connolly have an extensive array of Irish Whiskey to suit all palates – especially rye heads!

Sláinte

Rademon Estate website here.

1909 Commission Report here.

Thomas Connolly website here.

Lough Ree Distillery Tasting in Dead Centre Brewing

It’s not everyday you come away from a whiskey tasting championing a vodka,

But then it’s not everyday you encounter such an innovative drinks producer like Lough Ree Distillery.

Mike Clancy from Lough Ree entertained us with a highly informative talk & introduction to 5 of the companies offerings.

We kicked off with Bart’s – the company’s core Irish Whiskey blend – which I’ve always found very attractive. Read my blog here.

The Dead Centre collaborative Single Malt Whiskey duo were equally well received – with No1 just winning it for me in this 2nd tasting. Read my original thoughts here.

The limited release Bethlehem Bridge Series Single Grain Whiskey proved to be a favourite all round with it’s rich, deep & dark flavours captivating the audience.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

The final spirit was introduced blind.

I began with fresh citrus, another added smokiness, more enjoyed the smooth yet drying mouthfeel topped off with a slight spicy tingling.

Somewhat surprised to learn this was a vodka infused with Irish peat!

Such an entertaining, easy & enjoyable tipple to round up an excellent showcase for all the exciting developments at Lough Ree Distillery.

Sláinte

Lough Ree Distillery website here.

Dead Centre website here.

The Galtee Mountain Boy Irish Whiskey, 40%

It’s a long way to Tipperary

But The Galtee Mountain Boy Irish Whiskey made the journey to Paeder’s Bar in Moate, County Westmeath.

Attractively packaged in a ceramic bottle proudly displaying an old photograph of young volunteers made it stand out on the spirits shelve.

A blend of single grain, single malt & single pot still Irish Whiskey matured in ex-bourbon casks & given a finish in extra charred casks The Galtee Mountain Boy displays a soft caramely nose with a touch of toffee.

Warm mouthfeel with sweet vanilla & darker, richer notes giving some body to the table.

Finishes with a flourish of spice.

An easy yet characterful little number imbued with a rich historical legacy.

Sláinte

Peader’s Bar facebook page here.

Three Counties Liquor website here.

Kinsale Spirits Co, The Triumvirate, Blend, Single Grain & Single Malt, 40% to 43%, Irish Whiskey

I previously tried this attractive trio – blog here – but now they’ve appeared in an eye-catching miniature set complete with historical stories regarding the Earls portrayed & tasting notes on the whiskeys too – I thought I’d give them another go!

Red Earl, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

Triple casked, finished in Rioja casks. This light brown blend has a gentle aroma of soft dark fruits. The palate is quite soft yet there’s a delightful fruit bomb on the finish. An added prickly spice livens up the finish.

A very pleasant offering.

Great Earl, Single Grain Irish Whiskey, 40%

Triple casked, finished in Sangiovese casks. Not come across that wine before! Slightly paler in colour. Finding the nose more expressive than the blend – richer & more redolent. A lovely sweet grainy appeal on the palate slowly develops into a punchier finish.

Liking this one!

Spanish Earl, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 43%

Triple casked, finished in Stout casks. Upping the game with a few extra ABV! A darker shade of straw. Finding the nose a tad muted – but darker & heavier when it does appear. Very smooth & silky palate. The stout cask flavours emerge with dark toffee & burnt toast notes.

Vey attractive.

Thoughts

A terrific trio!

It’s actually hard to pick a favourite from these well presented whiskeys. All lean towards a sweet wine cask finished style with the malt introducing darker stout elements. On this occasion Spanish Earl won me over. What it lost on the nose was more than compensated by a rich finish.

Olé

Kinsale Spirits Co website here.

All images authors own.

Musings on the Sazerac take-over of Lough Gill Distillery, Co Sligo, Ireland

Great News

Lough Gill Distillery c/oTheSpiritsBusiness

First off – Sazerac taking over Lough Gill Distillery in the wonderful scenery of County Sligo, Ireland is fantastic news for Irish Whiskey as a whole.

It shows the confidence a large international player has in the future potential of Irish Whiskey for them to lay down roots & invest in that future.

Paddy Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Celebrity Brands

I’ve read a lot of guff about Celebrity Brands – a lot of it negative – yet any company not involved in Celebrity Brands at the moment is missing out on the current zeitgeist that’s witnessing massive growth in the category.

Interestingly both Paddy & Michael Collins Irish Whiskey are Celebrity Brands.

The fact those celebrities are historic – and dead – might make them easier to market & handle over current living celebrities.

Nonetheless Sazerac have already boosted sales of Paddy Irish Whiskey since acquiring the brand from Irish Distillers & I see no reason Michael Collins Irish Whiskey cannot follow suite.

Michael Collins Blend c/othewhiskeynut

A sense of place?

Reams of marketing PR & fawning bloggers big up the idea a sense of place is integral to the quality & taste of whiskey.

Outside of a few micro distilleries practicing farm to glass single estate distilling – even then the taste differences can be miniscule – I just don’t buy it.

The original Paddy Irish Whisky was distilled in Cork for the Cork Distillery Company. CDC in turn was merged into Irish Distillers who continued to produce Paddy at New Midleton Distillery. Lough Gill Distillery will now fly the flag.

Will any of the growing band of consumers notice this?

I doubt it.

The brand changes & morphs through time. What it tasted like in 1877 may bear no resemblance to what it is now – or in the future – but it’s still Paddy Irish Whiskey. All that history & rich legacy is part of it – but history & legacy are not actual tasting notes that can be ascertained on drinking a whiskey.

Lough Gill Trio c/othewhiskeynut

Innovation

I’m not expecting much innovation at Lough Gill.

What I am expecting is building on the solidity of both Paddy & Michael Collins Irish Whiskey to expand & grow in both the local and international markets.

Athrú Irish Whiskey is a premium brand currently using sourced aged stock for their lovely product. It’s going to be a bit of a wait before any Lough Gill distillate hits the market under that brand name.

The future

The future looks bright for Irish Whiskey – even brighter for Lough Gill Distillery. Developments at the facility will be eagerly awaited.

I wish all the team at Lough Gill Distillery much future success.

Sláinte

Cork Distillery background here.

Paddy Whiskey history here.

Sazerac buys Lough Gill Distillery here.

Celebrity Brands boost sales here.

Irish Whiskey sales set to overtake Scotch here.

Sazerac Brand list here.

Lough Ree Distillery, The Bridge Series, Dead Centre No 1, 43% & No 2, 46%, Irish Whiskey

A visit to the fabulous Dead Centre Brewery in the heart of Ireland overlooking the mighty River Shannon was on my mind.

I’d heard a collaborative Irish Whiskey – whiskey barrels from Lough Ree had been loaned to Dead Centre to create a beer – Here Right Now – then given back to Lough Ree to finish a whiskey in – Dead Centre No 1 & No 2 were now available at the bar.

Known primarily for their excellent range of craft beer Dead Centre Brewing now boast a pair of Single Cask, Single Malt Irish Whiskey proudly displayed behind the bar.

A serving of each was duly ordered – & I retired to the outside decking above the Shannon to sample the results.

The Bridge Series is an apt name. For Lough Ree Distillery it denotes the journey between setting up the company using sourced whiskey – GND for Dead Centre – before their own distillate arrives.

It also marks a journey of discovery, collaboration & connection – not only with fellow drinks producers & marketeers to get the whiskey on the shelves – but also for the consumers to enjoy the variety of flavours & styles on show.

Additionally there’s the physical journey from my riverside perch overlooking Athlone town bridge at the bottom of Lough Ree itself to the bridge at Lanesborough beside Lough Ree Distillery’s site. A trip well worth doing by boat!

Today my journey however was one of taste.

Dead Centre No 1, 43%

Clean, crisp & soft aromas augmented with a touch of depth. The whiskey greats you with a warm embrace. Offers up a subtle depth complete with a long lasting slightly dry finish topped off with a sprinkling of prickly spice.

Very nice!

Dead Centre No 2, 46%

If anything – slightly cleaner & crisper. Found No 2 had a smoother delivery with a bigger embrace of warmth from those rich toffee like notes. The spice on the finish correspondingly was a little more subdued offering a rounder tasting appeal.

Equally engaging!

Thoughts

Trying to pick out the minutiae of variation between 2 single cask Irish Whiskey by the banks of the Shannon is a bit of a nerdy exercise.

Both are lovely exemplar of beer barrel finished whiskey aided by Lough Ree’s policy of presenting the liquid non chill filtered & natural colour to allow the flavours to shine.

I have to confess a certain degree of local pride in these whiskey. Knowing the players behind both of these drinks businesses & sharing their journeys as they successfully produce highly entertaining liquid as well as enjoyable destinations for visitors to the area is a joy to witness & partake in.

Why don’t you partake for yourself?

I’d recommend Dead Centre Brewing as a suitable venue – & if you message me I might be encouraged to join you savouring the liquid delights within!

Sláinte

Lough Ree Distillery website here.

Dead Centre Brewing website here.

Connacht Batch 1 Single Malt, 47%

I’ve gotta hand it to Connacht Whiskey.

Their Batch 1 Single Malt made me smile.

Given a number of releases from new distilleries – possibly due to commercial demand – were to my tastes at least offered a tad fresh – Batch 1 displayed a richness of flavour & welcome complexity in the emerging distillery category.

Presented at 47% the nose was initially a touch spirity but a lovely rich bourbony warmth of sweet vanillas & a touch of nuttiness captured me.

A silky mouth coating feel on the palate further opened up those gorgeous notes.

An entertaining bite on the finish furnished with a dry nutty prickliness – a combination of the high ABV & Oloroso finishing no doubt – danced merrily away.

An impressive debut from the Ballina based distillery.

Sláinte

Connacht Whiskey website here.