Category Archives: Single Malt

Reflections on finishing a bottle of Tullamore DEW 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish, Single Malt, 46%

I’ve been making a concerted effort to reduce my number of bottles – hovering around 60 open with another 40 in waiting – & have taken to offering them as sample exchanges or gifts.

Cognisant also that whiskey can deteriorate if not stored properly I was taken aback at my hand scribbled date of ‘June ‘15’ on the box of this one!

Irish Whiskey – and indeed Tullamore DEW – was in a different place back then!

The number of whiskey distilleries releasing matured product in 2015 could be counted on the digits of one hand – now you’d need more than 3 pairs!

Tullamore DEW itself – after having been acquired by William Grants in 2010 – had only completed construction of it’s distillery in Tullamore in 2014.

Tullamore DEW’s success as a brand has been built entirely on sourced product – mainly from Midleton Distillery, although this 12yo Sherry Cask is reputed to be Bushmills distillate.

Today in 2022 clearly the new Tullamore Distillery’s output is mature enough to end up in it’s offerings – yet there’s been no fanfare to announce this.

Instead a seamless takeover from the previous Midleton incarnations to the new Tullamore offerings has prevailed – undoubtedly aided by the skill of the distillery team to create a perfect replica of the previous bottlings.

After all, when you’re the custodian of the 2nd most popular selling brand of Irish Whiskey in the World – why change a winning formula?

I pondered on all of these things while enjoying the last few – & thankfully very well preserved – drops of this 12yo Sherry Cask.

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All images authors own.

The Brollach, Single Malt, 46.45%

There was a highly unexpected & very pleasant surprise entry into the Irish Whiskey Awards 2021.

The Brollach.

Tasted blind in the Cask Strength category The Brollach scored well on my palate.

It shared joint 2nd – along with 2 other offerings.

Perhaps it’s 46.45% presentation gave it an advantage over higher strength whiskey where I often find the flavours blown away.

As it is the only thing that blew me away was the price – €5,500!

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All images courtesy Craft Irish Whiskey Co

Clan Colla, 11 Year Old Blend & 19 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

Ahascragh Distillery in County Galway is beginning to take shape.

Conversion of the Old Mill – situated in the heart of the pretty village – into a modern Irish Whiskey Distillery & Visitors Centre is ongoing.

The new café is already welcoming customers & offers branded gifts alongside light refreshments.

For the harder stuff – a visit to one of the local hostelries is suggested. Nearby Katie Daly’s Bar was open the day I visited.

In advance of their own whiskey being produced Ahascragh Distillery have released a trio of sourced spirits – Xin Gin, Clan Colla 11yo Blend & Clan Colla 19yo Single Malt.

Clan Colla 11 Year Old Blend

A lovely rich, warm glow of dark vanilla & deep inviting leather notes signifies to my tastes a classic ex-bourbon cask matured whiskey.

Hints of juiciness & stone fruit succulence on the palate.

The finish gradually dries out & I was left with an attractive bite giving added character & flair to this very attractive blend.

Clan Colla 19 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

Like slipping down into the warm embrace & comforting hug of a generously padded old leather armchair!

The bourbon cask has worked it’s charms on this silky smooth yet wholesome & juicy malt.

Delightful.

Thoughts

A stupendous & stunning duo to launch the McAllister family’s adventure into the whiskey business.

For my palate the 11yo offered that extra oomph with being finished in peated casks additional to the oloroso featured across both whiskey.

I didn’t detect any smokiness but that dryness & attractive frisson of bite on the finish won me over.

Best wishes to Ahascragh Distillery!

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All images authors own.

Lough Ree Distillery, The Bridge Series, Barley Harbour, Single Malt, Single Cask, 46%

Barley Harbour is the latest release from Lough Ree Distillery’s Bridge Series.

Barley Harbour c/othewhiskeynut

Named after an actual berthing point on Lough Ree itself, The Bridge Series tides the distillery over until their own whiskey is ready.

I happily encountered Barley Harbour at the wonderfully reconvened ‘live’ Midlands Craft Beer Festival at Don’s Bar in Moate.

Presented in an elegantly elongate bottle bearing the striking Lough Ree Distillery logo, Barley Harbour is offered at 46%, non chill filtered & natural colour – as are all The Bridge series.

Gone fishing c/othewhiskeynut

Sourced from a certain Northern distillery which usually presents it’s whiskey at 40%, chill filtered & added caramel – Lough Ree – as independent bottlers – provide a marvelous opportunity to taste the full potential of this ex-bourbon matured six & a half year old.

Lovely clarity of flavour.

Rich & engaging mouthfeel.

A gorgeously long lasting finish.

Chatting to one of the founders – inbetween a few tasty beers! – it appears there will be some very exciting developments from Lough Ree Distillery shortly.

As it is, Barley Harbour is an excellent single malt Irish whiskey to savour & enjoy.

Catch it while you can!

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Kinahan’s Kasc M, 45%, Single Malt

A 2021 Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) report stated 96% of the whiskey made in Ireland is destined for sales abroad.

This allows many companies to exclusively target that market – without selling in the Auld Sod!

Kinahan’s are one of them.

Kasc M c/othewhiskeynut

Proudly displaying a long heritage back to 1779 – Kinahan’s describe themselves as pioneers.

My first encounter was at The Dead Rabbit in NYC.

The Dead Rabbit NYC c/othewhiskeynut

Kinahan’s 10yo Single Malt was a pleasing fruity offering in a bourbon country that reminded me of home.

My next meeting was more pioneering.

The Kasc Project advertising caught my eye & the unconventional hybrid barrels intrigued.

Hybrid cask c/othewhiskeynut

Using casks made up of staves from various woods – Portuguese Oak, American Oak, Hungarian Oak, French Oak & Chestnut – gave the youthful Kasc B – for blend – a complexity & depth of flavour normally found in older aged whiskeys.

Very enjoyable!

A further encounter resulted in Kasc M – the latest single malt incarnation.

Kasc in a Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

Sweet honeyed nose with hints of nuttiness & deeper depth.

Very smooth & mouth coating initially – before a mélange of complex flavours danced merrily on the palate.

Builds to a prickly tingling sensation leaving a lasting dryness gently fading away.

I really enjoyed this one!

Riot c/othewhiskeynut

It may be a riot of wood – but it’s more a harmony of flavour.

The interaction of diverse woods within the hybrid cask has brought about a fabulous melting pot of notes complimenting each other in a balanced performance.

The 45% strength & non chill filtration also help to showcase the whiskey.

It’s enough to tempt me abroad!

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Lough Ree, The Bridge Series, St Mel’s No 1, Single Cask, Single Malt, 43%

The Bridge is an apt name for this series of limited release whiskey from the yet to be built Lough Ree Distillery.

St Mel’s No 1 c/othewhiskeynut

Not only does it bridge the gap for their own whiskey to mature, it also takes you on a journey of discovery.

Lough Ree are also on a journey by bridging links with local craft brewery St Mel’s for the Brown Ale casks used to finish this ex-bourbon cask matured single malt.

Back label story c/othewhiskeynut

A welcoming rich, warm & inviting nose of toffee & butterscotch pulls you in.

Silky smooth on the palate, St Mel’s has a luxurious mouthfeel with characterful depth & complexity.

A gorgeous gently drying spiciness wraps up this delightful whiskey.

The Bridge whiskey series tend to sell out – so grab one while you can.

This St Mel’s release took me on a particularly enjoyable journey.

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The Macallan, Sherry Oak Cask, 12 Year Old, 40%

I’ve never got round to buying a bottle of Macallan.

I did start off drinking easy sweet sherried whisky.

But since then a liking for punchy rye or smokey peat has grown & I’m not sure if Macallan deliver that style – so I’m not too pushed.

There’s also the hype around the brand.

High prices at auctions, glowing reviews, fantastic new distillery.

I’m always wary of hype – but my curiosity to explore overcame those inhibitions when a miniature sample came my way.

Macallan 12 c/othewhiskeynut

The Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Cask is billed as a classic – let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Well it’s certainly richly sherried – almost juicy.

Very smooth delivery – a bit too smooth for my tastes.

A tingling of dry spice on the finish wraps up this elegant & easy sipper.

Still not convinced enough to buy a bottle!

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Kingsbarns Balcomie, Single Malt, 46%

The 2nd core release from this award winning Lowland Distillery in Fife, Scotland.

Balcomie c/othewhiskeynut

Now sherry finishes aren’t normally my thing – but as it goes – Balcomie has a rich & inviting nose.

A decent bit of depth on the palate,

& a lively entertaining finish.

Lip smacking!

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High Coast Hav vs High Coast Timmer, Single Malts, 48%

My first encounter with High Coast – or Box as they were originally known – happened to be in Gothenburg Airport.

Delightful Dálvve c/othewhiskeynut

A gorgeous smokey malt indeed.

Now rebranded as High Coast – would this duo from The Origins Series deliver?

Hav c/oHighCoast

Hav, 48%

Gentle clean smoke.

Lovely mouthfeel – like sitting beside a warm open fire – followed by a gorgeously tingling spicy dry finish which just excites my palate.

Simply divine.

Timmer c/oHighCoast

Timmer, 48%

More of a mossy kind of smokiness.

There’s a depth & complexity to the mouthfeel before a delightful explosion of smoke embraces you like a long lost friend.

Hygge in a bottle.

Fabulous c/othewhiskeynut

High Coast supply a whole heap of information via their website – but information alone is no substitute for an enjoyable tasting.

This pair of Swedish Malts are simply fabulous.