Category Archives: Single Malt

Ardbeg Wee Beastie, 5 Year Old Single Malt, 47.4%

With Ardbeg Committee Releases well beyond my price range I’ll settle for one of their core bottlings – Wee Beastie – and in a naggin bottle too!

Simply pouring this whisky results in strong aromas of coastal peat smoke wafting around.

It’s surprisingly delicate on the palate – before that gorgeous smokiness gradually takes over.

Wee Beastie leaves with a very dry prickliness immediately making you want more!

A Monster Of A Dram indeed!

Sláinte

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Teeling, The Revival Vol V, 12 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

A special whiskey require a suitable time to be opened.

The festive season provided an opportune occasion to crack open & share the contents of this splendid bottle.

Teeling Whiskey Company were at the forefront of bringing whiskey distilling back to the heart of Dublin when they opened up in 2015.

They have successfully leveraged that position by releasing a series of limited edition whiskeys under The Revival series label.

As much care & thought has gone into the presentation packaging of this whiskey as to the actual contents.

The elegant oversized black & gold box swings open to reveal an opulent looking bottle. The Phoenix seal of approval officially declares the contents.

The bottle itself is suitably heavy & chunky while the gold topped cork stopper is also of solid weight.

All of this screams ‘Premium Product’ to me – as well as added expense.

I’ve a feeling a lot of these bottles are destined to never being opened.

Some may end up on prominent display to boost the credibility & bragging rights of the owner.

Others may be hidden in vaults to accrue added value & emerge at a future date for sale to eager collectors.

I’m into whiskey however for the taste & flavour so a glass – or two – was poured!

Now I must admit to being fond of Teeling Whiskey.

They generally release at 46% or above which usually denotes non chill filtering & natural colour. The crispness, clarity & richness of flavour attest to this.

Revival V is no exception.

For me the ex-cognac cask have added a sumptuous nuttiness to the mix – which has me hooked.

Being a 12 year old the original whiskey clearly wasn’t distilled by Teeling.

They acquired a large inventory of sourced stock from an unnamed Irish Distillery – or distilleries – from which they’ve further matured, finished, mixed & blended under the expert guidance of Master Distiller Alex Chasko.

What may have originally been destined as the malt content in a blend, a 40% chill filtered & coloured supermarket whiskey – or even a single cask distillery offering – has ended up as a splendidly presented limited release whiskey.

This is not core release Teeling.

This is unicorn bottling.

A one off chance to grab some quality Irish Whiskey while it lasts.

I’m glad someone grabbed it for me.

This kind of product is no longer within my reach!

Sláinte

Teeling Whiskey Distillery website here.

Dalmore Valour, Single Malt, 40%

This whisky has been quietly sitting at the back of my spirits stash for too long.

Worried that it could be getting past it’s ‘best before’ date a few drams were deemed in order.

Dalmore is a popular brand represented by the highly entertaining master blender Richard Paterson.

Valour is a Travel Retail Exclusive NAS (Non Age Statement) matured in ex-bourbon casks & aged in oloroso & port barrels. Presented at 40% it contains added caramel & is likely chill filtered too.

I found it an easy going single malt with a soft kiss of tobacco smoke, dark fruits & a touch of prickly frisson on the finish.

I’d describe the flavours as dirty, muddy & muted – but they are warming, welcoming & accessible.

The whole range benefits from a visually distinctive bottle replete with a deer’s antler motif.

A rather ‘safe’ whisky.

Sláinte

Dalmore webpage here.

An interview with Richard Paterson here.

Does a Whiskey with added caramel deteriorate quicker than one without?

I asked myself this question while drinking from an old bottle of Glen Marnoch Speyside Single Malt.

Back in 2018 I reviewed this whisky.

It didn’t particularly suit my palate – I found the added caramel a bit heavy & ‘muddied’ any potential flavours the Speysider possessed.

4 years down the road – long past the 2 years maximum storage recommendations for an opened bottle – I dug it out from the back of my spirits shelf.

This time round I experienced a subtle hint of what I can only describe as ‘burnt’ coming through.

Could this be the caramel degrading?

If anything – age has improved this Glen Marnoch!

I found this ‘burntness’ a far more attractive quality than the rather sweet & sticky caramel experienced with the fresh bottle.

Still wouldn’t rate it however.

Sláinte

Web article on storing your open spirits bottles here.

Original Glen Marnoch blog here.

Armorik Classic, Single Malt, 46% in An Púcán, Galway

Herself was going to a play at the fabulous Galway International Arts Festival then on to meet mutual friends for a meal – so I tagged along.

Not being a thespian buff I thought I’d visit Mars – a sculpture on show at the former Persse Distillery – only to discover it had moved!

Ah well – time for a drink.

An Púcán provided the refreshments & as I scanned their extensive whiskey list for something I’d not tried before – Armorik Classic Single Malt fitted the bill.

It took sometime to locate the bottle as it was on show in one of the numerous display cabinets around the bar – but it did arrive.

The bottle read ‘non chill filtered, 46%‘ which is a good start. ‘caramel added’ is stated on the back – although according to Warenghem Distilley’s website they have since moved to ‘natural colour’ for their offerings.

The nose proved clean, fresh & inviting with hits of old leather.

Decent body, smooth mouthfeel displaying notes on the savoury, umami spectrum.

Finishes with a frisson of spice.

Armorik Classic comes over as a grounded whiskey showing it’s earthy agricultural roots – perhaps even a smidgen of terroir using French barley?

Very nice indeed.

Sláinte

Warenghem Distillery website here.

An Púcán website here.

Mars sculpture at Galway International Arts Festival here.

Persse Distillery info 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.

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

A Flight Of 4 French Whiskies, Rozelieures Origine, Rare, Tourbé & Fumé, Single Malts, 40% to 46%

Continuing my exploration of the whisky world are these 4 single malts from grain to glass French Whisky distillery Rozelieures.

I sampled them before looking up anything on the web – it helps to eliminate any undue bias – & found them mainly on the light & easy side of the flavour spectrum.

Origine Single Malt 40%

Distilled from grain grown on the Rozelieures farm places this whisky in a select club of producers claiming terroir credentials.

Origine didn’t particularly shine for me however.

The flavours were soft, muted & mild – a touch of honeyed malt, hints of rustique agriculture, an easy going palate with an appreciative bite on the finish displaying woody spices & sweet vanilla.

Grand.

Rare Single Malt 40%

A fresher & cleaner style of malt.

Easy & smooth – almost to the point of being laidback – trés tranquille – perhaps deliberately so.

I’ve been told by distillers exporting into France the market shys away from bold flavours – so Rare is probably playing up to that.

Tourbé Single Malt 46%

Tourbé means peaty – yet I had a hard job picking this up from the very light straw coloured whisky.

There was a gorgeously dry & tingly spiciness on the finish however with subtle hints of smoke.

A 2nd tasting drew out more & Tourbé proved to be an enticing soft smoker.

Fumé Single Malt 46%

A more ‘traditional’ style of smokiness was evident with Fumé.

Old leather & cigar smoke on the nose.

The mild & easy palate gave way to a delightful crescendo of smokiness which dried out leaving a tingling spice finish.

Nice!

Thoughts

French whisky is growing fast.

A Federation has been formed to further the category of which Rozelieures – with their engaging & entertaining single malts – is part of.

Being a fan of bigger, badder & bolder flavours Fumé was the one for me – but I did find the subtlety of Tourbé enticing.

Perhaps with the opening up of travel restrictions after COVID a distillery tour trip of French Distilleries is in order!

Santé

Bottle images courtesy Whisky Rozelieures.

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.