Category Archives: Irish Whiskey

Brand Ambassador Tasting, Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder, The Afters.

This blog comes to you with the musical accompaniment of LCD Soundsystem.

I’m Losing My Edge.

Usually on encountering a wall of whiskey I’d be choosing bottles I’ve not tasted before but in this instance – an old favourite was proffered up by the Hi-Spirits rep.

Michael Collins Blend, 40%

2 (1 of 1)-2 (2)
Michael Collins Blend c/othewhiskeynut

An easy going well balanced & honeyed blend from a few years ago.

Sadly discontinued during the Beam takeover of Cooley/Kilbeggan – there are rumors new brand owners Sazerac are going to revitalize it.

I’d be pleased to welcome it’s return.

My last encounter was with the distinctive ‘baseball bat’ bottle – redesigned into the beautifully labeled one above.

DSCF5459 email
My empty Micheal Collins Blend c/othewhiskeynut

I’m Losing My Edge.

UnTamed 63.8%

2 (1 of 1) (2)
The Wild Geese UnTamed c/othewhiskeynut

Ever since giving UnTamed category winner in the Cask Strength offerings of my blind Irish Whiskey Awards 2019 judging session  – I’d yet to meet it in the wild.

It didn’t give much away on the nose.

Initially the flavours were soft, sweet & gentle before an explosion of alcohol hit the palate. Yet those gloriously tasty remnants faded slowly away on the long finish.

I’d vote for it again.

I’m Losing My Edge.

Last orders – FEW Bourbon 46.5%

2 (1 of 1)-3 (2)
FEW Bourbon c/othewhiskeynut

Searching the wall of whiskey for something suitable – FEW Bourbon caught my eye.

I’d enjoyed their FEW Rye – polished off previously.

DSCF7369 email
FEW Rye c/othewhiskeynut

I liked their ‘remembering’ of Francis Elizabeth Willard– a key campaigner in the temperance movement of America – as well as votes for women and anti-lynching.

And I liked the young & fresh combination of flavours within this bourbon.

Only when I checked my tasting list did I discover I’ve had it before!

I’m Losing My Edge – But I Was There!

And I need to get back there to the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder and enjoy a tasty trio of whiskey I’ve yet to meet!

Slàinte

Good Logo

 

A Whiskey Flight From Clonakilty Distillery

I recently had the pleasure of revisiting Clonakilty Distillery.

Unlike the building site of my previous visit – Feb 2018 blog here – this time the gleaming copper pot stills were in full working order & the rich smells of distillation were ever present during the highly informative & enjoyable tour.

DSCF4044 email
Before, after at top. c/othewhiskeynut

Clonakilty Minke Gin is already available – but it will be a while for their own whiskey to mature.

In the meantime a varied range of sourced whiskeys – with added maturation & finishing at Clonakilty Distillery’s own warehouses on the Wild Atlantic Way – are available at the distillery shop.

I bought a couple of miniatures – part of their core range – as well as taking away some extra samples – I was driving – to enjoy later.

2 (1 of 1)-3
Single Grain green, Single Batch blue. c/othewhiskeynut

Clonakilty, Single Grain, Bordeaux Cask, 43.6%

A clean, sweet & delicate fruity little number that lulls you in with gentle flavours before delivering a healthy spirity kick by way of entertainment leaving a soft fruit finish on the rear.

Nice

Clonakilty, Small Batch, Double Oak, 43.6%

Warming, more malt biscuity. There’s a fruity sweetness from the recharred ex-wine casks which give this blend a juiciness followed with a dry prickly spice from the virgin oak casks too.

Very engaging.

2 (1 of 1)-4
Cognac Cask c/othewhiskeynut

Clonakilty, Cognac Cask, 43,6%

A limited edition at the distillery.

Rich warm dark fruits with a touch of nuttiness to boot. Dries out towards the finish with a pleasant spiciness.

Very enjoyable.

2 (1 of 1)-5
Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

Clonakilty, Single Malt, Single Cask, Distillery Exclusive, 43.6%

If you ever need an excuse to visit a distillery – the chance to sample an exclusive bottling is always a bonus.

Warming vanilla enticed me in. A gentle rich maltiness tinged with dry tannic spice caressed my palate. A wonderfully balanced & elegant bourbon cask matured malt.

Class.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Clonakilty tasting flight c/othewhiskeynut

Clonakilty, Single Pot Still New Make, unknown ABV.

A rare treat indeed!

Using the traditional – as in malted & unmalted barley only mash bill – that signature oily & slightly sour new make nose was evident. A clean & fresh feel was enjoyed before the high ABV kicked in leaving a prickly heat with a touch of spice on the finish.

A well crafted spirit for the wood to work it’s magic on.

Interestingly this new make has already won awards.

All bodes well for Clonakilty Distillery.

The stunning signature building, the lovely cafe, the enjoyable tour and the increasing use of barley from their own farm in future distillations yet to come.

Isn’t it about time you called round?

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

 

Brand Ambassador Tasting, Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder, The Irish Collection

An invite to the Brand Ambassador Tasting at the fabulous Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney transpired into a highly enjoyable & eminently entertaining evening.

I’d encountered all the Irish Whiskey selection before – yet it was wonderful to enjoy them again in such engaging company.

Celtic Casks 29, Single Cask, Single Malt, 46%

CC29
First met CC29 on a Celtic Whiskey Club Tweet Tasting c/othewhiskeynut

A dignified, complex & well balanced ‘traditional’ single cask – ex-bourbon maturation & sherry finishing.

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, 43%

2 (1 of 1)-3
Picked up bottle for blog Oct 2018 c/othewhiskeynut

The return of rye to Irish Whiskey! Softly spoken and pleasant. Lacking character for my palate.

Kilbeggan Single Pot Still, 43%

2 (1 of 1)
Picked up bottle for blog December 2019 c/othewhiskeynut

A Technical File compliant SPS. The oats add a creamy smoothness contrasting with the spicy finish.

Powers 1817, 46%

DSCF0752 email
Bottle blog March 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

An underrated gem of an Single Pot Still. Always pleased to encounter this gorgeous whiskey.

Powers John’s Lane, 46%

DSCF0151 email 1
Vertical tasting blog March 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

The flagship bearer of the Powers core range. Soon to sport it’s controversial new livery!

Celtic Cask 25, 46%

2 (1 of 1)-18
Celtic Cask 25 at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019 c/othewhiskeynut

A thoroughly enjoyable young & feisty peater with additional PX Cask finishing. Loving it.

Hard to pick a winner. All excellent in their own way. For sheer exuberance I think CC25 has it!

Oh – there were 2 American offerings.

I’ll get to them later.

Slàinte

Good Logo

My thanks to all at Celtic Whiskey Bar for their warm hospitality.

Union Hall Smoked Salmon Pate infused with West Cork Irish Whiskey, 2.5%

The diversification of Irish Whiskey continues with this delightful smoked salmon pâté from unionhallsmokedfish.com.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Delightful! c/othewhiskeynut

Infused with West Cork Irish Whiskey – a venture founded by former fishermen itself – this is not an entirely unexpected food pairing.

I found it a light salmon pâté – yet bursting with flavour.

2 (1 of 1)-3
Can I have some more? c/othewhiskeynut

The fresh citrusy salmon was accentuated by a gentle soft smokiness which gave depth & complexity to the mix. Quite what the Irish Whiskey brought to the palate was hard to judge – but I found it irresistible.

2 (1 of 1)
The back label info c/othewhiskeynut

I’d have easily polished off the whole lot if it wasn’t for the other half reminding me to leave some for the guests – who also enjoyed what was left!

I’ll need to get some more!

Slàinte

Good Logo

My Irish Whiskey Release Of 2019

Irish Whiskey has had a tremendous year.

It is finally coming out of the doldrums first entered in the late 1800’s.

It’s true potential is demonstrated with exciting new Irish Whiskey expressions being released on an almost weekly basis by a growing band of blenders, bottlers, bonders & distilleries.

One market Irish Whiskey has re-entered with a bang is the ultra premium category.

It was done with aplomb, style and a certain amount of swagger.

I give you J.J. Corry’s The Chosen.

Chosen independent.ie
Louise McGuane launches The Chosen c/oindependent.ie

Now I can’t say I’ve ever tasted the whiskey, but having sampled a few of the casks maturing at J.J. Corry’s bonded warehouse in Co Clare, I can appreciate the high quality of spirits being nurtured there.

Presented in a stunning handmade cut crystal decanter – along with an ultra deluxe hand carved ash cabinet too – The Chosen set the whiskey internet buzzing.

Chosen 4
The Chosen c/o@ChapelGate

It puts Irish Whiskey centre stage – where it belongs.

Congratulations to all the team at J.J. Corry, J. Hill’s Standard and John Galvin Design for delivering this stunning package to market.

Let there be many more.

Slàinte

Good Logo

W.D. O’Connell, Bill Phil Peated Series, 47.5% vs 17 Year Old PX Series, 46%, Single Malts.

W.D. O’Connell are part of the next generation of Irish Whiskey brands/bottlers/bonders and distillers that have exploded onto the scene.

Labelling themselves as ‘Whiskey Merchants’, W.D. O’Connell source their spirit from existing distilleries – and have it finished to their own requirements.

2 (1 of 1)-3 (2)
Bill on the left, PX to right c/othewhiskeynut

Showcased for the first time at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019– where I had a quick sample – as well as a tweet tasting I missed – I did get a couple of sample bottles for my tasting pleasure.

Bill Phil, Peated Series, 47.5%

2 (1 of 1)-2 (2)
Peated Series c/othewhiskeynut

Peat – or turf in Ireland – is a flavour profile that has been absent in Irish Whiskey for too long. It’s a style I enjoy & I celebrate with open arms any newcomer’s reinterpretation of this distinctive character.

That lovely warm smokiness just captivated me straight away. Clear, crisp & slightly meaty. A joy to behold.

Delightfully young & fresh on the palate. The ashy peat smoke develops into an all embracing toastiness that wraps you heartily like a turf fueled fire.

A frisson of nutmegy spice dances merrily on the finish.

A stunner of a malt.

17 Year Old PX Series, 46%

2 (1 of 1) (3)
PX Series c/othewhiskeynut

A much more ‘traditional’ Irish style.

Cooley malt matured in ex-bourbon casks & finished in Pedro Ximenez barrels for 6 months.

A dark cherry sweetness on the nose.

Lucious fruitiness on the palate – more stone fruits than orchard apples – with a gentle spiciness to enliven the whiskey – finished off by a softly drying prickliness.

Classic stuff indeed – and very well done.

Preference?

Without a doubt – Bill Phil.

It’s young, it’s fresh, it’s exciting.

It marks the welcome return of peat to the Irish Whiskey cannon.

W.D. O’Connell sourced this one from the Great Northern Distillery. Hopefully it will be the first of many interpretations using peated malt from this distillery.

What would make it even more outstanding was if Irish turf was used to dry the barley.

But that’s for another day.

Slàinte

Good Logo

Kilbeggan, Single Pot Still, Irish Whiskey, 43%

There has been a positive explosion of Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey on the market.

It’s marvelous to witness the revival of this historic style of whiskey.

Originally created as a tax dodge – malted barley attracted duty, unmalted did not – so distillers used unmalted barley in the mix to avoid the burden and created a well loved flavour profile in the process.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Westmeath whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Distilled & matured at the old Kilbeggan Distillery itself – which has maintained a continuous licence since 1757. This whiskey marks another milestone in the long – and often chequered – history of this esteemed distillery.

Living – as I do – only half an hour away, I popped down to purchase a bottle.

2 (1 of 1)-5
In the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

Mmmmmm.

This is on the more soft, caramelly sweet, subtle & safe side of single pot still.

It didn’t reach out and grab me.

2 (1 of 1)-4
Front c/othewhiskeynut

A delicate creaminess at the start – a small percentage of oats are used in the mix – gave way to a smooth honeyed middle – followed by a lovely dry prickly spice on the finale.

It’ll probably please many.

2 (1 of 1)-3
Back c/othewhiskeynut

Just lacked a certain pzazz & flair for my palate.

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

21C Whiskey, 2nd Edition, Blend, 54.3%

Irish Whiskey continues to grow.

There are now 16 working distilleries that have matured stocks of spirit old enough to be called whiskey.

All of them contributed to create this special limited edition 21C blend unveiled at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019.

Luckily I managed a taster.

A fabulously rich & complex nose. Full bodied on the palate. A long lasting satisfying finish.

2 (1 of 1)-3
21C Whiskey 1st Edition contributors. c/othewhiskeynut

From my recollections of 21C 1st Edition – blog here – this was a vast improvement. Perhaps reflecting the growing maturity of Irish Whiskey in general – a better blend of ingredients – older stocks added – or a combination of all factors.

Whatever – it made a great whiskey.

The new additional distilleries to have matured whiskey are below – taken in left to right, top to bottom order as printed on the back label.

2 (1 of 1) (2)
21C Whiskey 2nd Edition contributors. c/othewhiskeynut

Shortcross Distillery have yet to release their 1st whiskey – a single pot still by all accounts – but have built up a strong following with their Shortcross Gins.

Connacht Distillery are also waiting for their own whiskey to age further before release. In the meantime they have some tasty & innovative sourced whiskey under the Spade & Bushel, Ballyhoo & Brothership labels.

Waterford Distillery are following the above 2 in waiting for their own stock to age before committing to market. Unlike the others – they have not sourced any whiskey prior to that release.

Royal Oak Distillery in County Carlow have not released their own whiskey. Previously called Walsh Distillery – a split with the 2 companies involved means Irishman & Writer’s Tears will remain as sourced brands.

In addition to last years 21C – some distilleries have recently entered the market with their own stock.

Shed Distillery’s wonderful Inaugural Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Whiskey is now in the shops.

2 (1 of 1)-3
105 Years waiting! c/othewhiskeynut

Tullamore Distillery’s malt is now being used as a component in their blended Tullamore DEW range.

A big congratulations to all those who contributed to this fantastic 21C Whiskey. Much credit to Celtic Whiskey Shop for bringing this fabulous project to fruition.

Already looking forward to the next installment of Irish Whiskey to mature in the coming year!

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

 

Drumshanbo, Inaugural Release, Single Pot Still, 46%

It’s been a long time coming.

105 years according to the label of this beautifully designed bottle.

2 (1 of 1)-3
105 Years waiting! c/othewhiskeynut

But whiskey distilling has returned to Connacht – legally!

The Inaugural Release from The Shed Distillery has a lot to live up to.

Their Gunpowder Gin & Sausage Tree Vodka won many awards, accolades and adoring fans.

What will their whiskey be like?

I jumped straight in!

2 (1 of 1)-5
Shedelicious! c/othewhiskeynut

Even the act of pouring a measure allowed a rich sweet warming vanilla aroma to caress my nose & tempt me in.

No chill filtration or added caramel here.

A stone fruitiness from the oloroso casks followed suit. Plenty of thick viscous legs on my favourite Túath Glass. Did I mention Irish Oats were used in the mashbill?

2 (1 of 1)-2
Curious? c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely enveloping creaminess on the palate – the flavours grew into a delightful crescendo; dark cherries, rich plums, sweet vanillas all milling around.

A satisfying dry prickly spice turned the drinking experience into an event.

The fabulous flavours continued partying away on the lovely long luscious finish.

Whiskey as it should be.

2 (1 of 1)
A name to be reckoned with. c/othewhiskeynut

Well worth the wait!

Sláinte

Good Logo

Whiskey Live Dublin 2019

This years Whiskey Live Dublin show marked a quantitative shift in the fortunes of Irish Whiskey.

The number of new releases on display for the first time was breathtaking – and a bit of a challenge to appreciate in only one session.

Not only new releases though.

New whiskey companies were also in attendance. Companies previously inhabiting websites with ‘under construction’ on the display page were now in full flow offering tangible products to taste.

My game plan was clear – try as many of them as time – and my well being – permitted.

In no particular order – this is what I found.

2 (1 of 1)-2
21C Edition 2 c/othewhiskeynut

The Celtic Whiskey Shop had again done a marvelous job collating all 16 Irish Whiskey Distilleries with mature stock into this fabulous blend. More flavoursome & complex than last years.

2 (1 of 1)-3
Hinch core range c/othewhiskeynut

I did a Hinch vertical – one of the new companies currently building their distillery. The peated piqued my palate – but the Small Batch pleased too.

2 (1 of 1)-4
Irish Proud Blend c/othewhiskeynut

Another new company – Proud Irish – had 2 offerings of a rather easy entry market style. Perhaps more for the tourists?

2 (1 of 1)-5
Killowen Rum Cask c/othewhiskeynut

Killowen impressed with this Dark Rum Cask Blend. Their new make wasn’t bad either!

2 (1 of 1)-10
A pair of Gelston’s c/othewhiskeynut

The Gelston’s range from Halewood was far too extensive for a vertical tasting so the 5yo Sherry Cask sufficed. Word of a new distillery too!

2 (1 of 1)-11
A Smokey Silkie! c/othewhiskeynut

Yes! The return of smoky dry peat to Irish Whiskey was greatly appreciated.

2 (1 of 1)-12
The Bridge c/othewhiskeynut

As was this sweet yet nuanced single grain single cask first whiskey offering from Lough Ree in Longford.

2 (1 of 1)-13
Lough Gill Trio c/othewhiskeynut

Lough Gill in Sligo displayed their trio of exquisitely aged single malts showing varying finishing styles.

2 (1 of 1)-14
Welcome to the Renaissance! c/othewhiskeynut

Irish Whiskey has moved on from simply revival – the renaissance is here – courtesy of Teeling’s new 18yo offering.

2 (1 of 1)-15
Sade & Bushell 5yo c/othewhiskeynut

Connacht’s new 5yo was a bit too sweet for my palate – but the 12yo version in the background hit the spot.

2 (1 of 1)-16
W.D.O’Connell c/othewhiskeynut

Despite the depth & complexity of the 17yo – the peat of Bill Phil won out on these fabulous whiskeys from W.D.O’Connell.

2 (1 of 1)-18
Celtic Cask 25 c/othewhiskeynut

Staying on a peated path – Celtic Cask 25 didn’t disappoint.

2 (1 of 1)-17
Egan’s Legacy c/othewhiskeynut

The latest 16yo Egan’s Legacy was more of a traditional style.

2 (1 of 1)-19
The Liberator c/othewhiskeynut

While newcomers Wayward Spirits offered their dark & brooding port cask finished Liberator Blend.

2 (1 of 1)-25
McConnells of Belfast c/othewhiskeynut 

I was pleased to hear the Crumlin Gaol Distillery is still in the mix with this very well presented blended whisky – minus the ‘e’.

It also marked my final tasting at the show. Although on the train home I did crack open a miniature & sang away to myself!

2 (1 of 1)-26
Pogues Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

 

‘I am going, I am going, Where the streams of whiskey are flowing.’

Well the streams of whiskey are certainly flowing from the stills of Irish Whiskey Distilleries!

Slàinte

Good Logo