Category Archives: Single Malt

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.

Limavady Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 46%

There’s been a lot of publicity around Limavady Whiskey.

Not too surprising really – as Whistle Pig are partners in the venture.

Having said that – any liquid I’ve tasted from the Whistle Pig stable has been top notch – so I’m expecting similar high standards from Limavady Whiskey.

The bottle certainly stands out.

Embossed with ‘1750’ – the date of the original Limavady Distillery formerly ran by master distiller Darryl McNally’s ancestors – crowned with a leaping dog logo below an unusual bulbous top & a natty glass stopper.

The label displays Barrel & Bottle Numbers too.

Bodes well – so how does it taste?

A very appealing deep golden brown colour – no mention of added caramel or chill filtering.

A dark, richly inviting aroma of stone fruits, slight nuttiness & warm maltiness.

Clean, crisp & refreshing on the palate.

The finish comes alive displaying sweet juicy fruitiness contrasting with a lively & enjoyable prickliness dancing merrily around. Leaves a lovely drying sensation slowly fading away.

Well that’s one leaping dog having leapt on my palate to great effect!

Lovely Limavady!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

This bottle of Limavady was provided by their PR company.

All views are – as always – my own.

Westward American Single Malt Whiskey Tasting, 45% to 46%

American Single Malt Whiskey is a ‘thing’ – well almost.

Proposals from the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission – AMWSC – have been forwarded to the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau – TTB – to give definition & legal framework for the category.

While the legislation catches up with evolution in the drinks industry – I’m more interested in how this American Single Malt Whiskey actually tastes!

A online tasting by the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder was too good to miss.

Sadly – after I’d decanted my samples into my favourite Túath Whiskey Glasses to breathe – the gig was rescheduled!

Undeterred – I tasted away!

Westward Single Malt, 45%

As Thomas Mooney – cofounder of ASMWC & Westward Whiskey – is behind this whiskey I’d assume it complies with the ASMWC proposals.

100% barley – grown in Oregon for a touch of terroir – distilled & matured in Portland using lightly charred oak barrels & presented at 45%

The nose was a trifle shy – clean, fresh, malty with woody vanillas.

A gentle smooth palate.

Slight oakiness towards the rear with a flourish of tannic spice to round things off.

A very pleasant easy single malt to start the show rolling.

Westward Single Malt Stout Cask 46%

Lovely rich expressive & inviting nose.

Heavy palate feel – almost chocolatey.

Oh yes! – Enjoying this one.

Lovely touch of prickly heat on the rear too!

My kinda malt!

Westward Single Malt Pinot Noir Cask 45%

Soft gentle nose with hints of sweet fruitiness.

The summer fruits come to the fore on the palate.

Clean fresh finish dries out leaving a pleasing prickly spice.

Nice!

Thoughts

Without a doubt the Stout Cask won me over. Not that the others weren’t good whiskey – just not as inviting on my palate.

Unlike other beer/whiskey cask collaborations Westward matured their whiskey for a year in locally sourced stout barrels & the results certainly shone for me.

All 3 of these malts stand up very well against anything Scotland & Ireland has to offer.

As ever the competition within the spirits sector increases constantly.

A wonderful trio of American Single Malts to launch the category.

Sláinte

All bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

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.

Sláinte

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!

Sláinte

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!

Sláinte

All images authors own.