Category Archives: Single Malt

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.

A Charred Cask & 3 Stout Cask Whiskey, 40% to 46%

Continuing my exploration of the fantastically affordable Dundalgan range from Lidl is their Charred Cask Blend.

Lidl Ireland whiskey choices 2020 c/othewhiskeynut

I also happened to have Jameson’s Stout Cask Blend – so thought a comparison with Dundalgan’s Stout & what was left of Teeling’s Stout would make a lovely quartet to compare & contrast.

Not being a blind tasting does somewhat colour the experience – but this is what I found.

Dundalgan Charred Cask c/othewhiskeynut

Dundalgan Charred Cask, Blend, 40%

Such an expressive nose!

Those rich vanillas & caramels I expect from a decent bourbon cask matured whiskey were clearly evident.

Fairly mild & mellow on the palate – the vanillas giving a touch of grainy sweetness – before a hearty prickliness is experienced on the rear.

This charred cask is better than I remember it!

New vs Old c/othewhiskeynut

Perhaps it’s not only the label that’s had an update?

Jameson Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Jameson Caskmates, Stout Edition, Blend, 40%

You could say this is the original beer barrel aged whiskey – and it’s certainly been a big success – as well as spawning many others.

The colour was noticeably darker than the other 2 stouts & on par with the Charred Cask – a deep golden brown.

A honeyed rich caramel nose.

Well rounded mouthfeel – definitely smooth – with entertaining notes from the stout influence coming through towards the finish.

No sharp edges here – nice easy drinking with added flavour.

Dundalgan Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Dundalgan Stout Edition, Single Malt, 42%

As well as being lighter in colour – I found the nose cleaner & fresher.

The palate is single malt mellow – with a touch of sharpness leaving lip smacking flavours dancing off the tongue.

I believe this offering benefits from non chill filtering, natural colouring & a slightly higher ABV.

Teeling Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Teeling Galway Bay Stout Cask, Blend, 46%

The extra ABV kicks in with a spirity nose.

A lovely interaction of coffee like stout notes interplay with fresh sweet grain on the palate.

There’s a bit of a punch on the finish – but the flavours still delight.

Conclusions?

So how to pick a winner?

Tricky!

I’m gonna discount the Teeling as it’s twice the price & the extra ABV could be challenging.

‘Tis enjoyable though!

Jameson is dropped too – the richness & smoothness appeals to many – but I’m looking for a tad more oomph.

So it’s down to the Dundalgans.

For sheer affordability, simplicity of flavour & entertaining delivery – I think the Dundalgan Charred Cask wins the day!

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Blind Tasting Whisky – A Failed Marriage, Supermarket Special & Setting Sun.

Sometimes it’s the unexpected whisky selection that gets you.

A trio of samples were sent for my enjoyment.

They were tasted blind & the notes in italics were written before the reveal.

In order of preference they were:

Happy Marriage?

A Bell’s Decanter, HRH Prince Andrew & Miss Sarah Ferguson’s Wedding, 1986, Blend, 43%

The nose had a bit of fustiness – damp old leather – suggesting signs of decay. Nice & easy body with some warmth & an attractive bite. Leaves a touch of sweet spice & juiciness.

Aldi finest?

B Glen Marnoch Speyside Single Malt 12 Year Old, 40%

Soft clean & fresh. Sherry influence? Found this one sweeter with less body. Faded quickly.

Setting sun?

C Suntory Old Whisky, Blend, 43%

Not much on the nose or body – but livened up with a long finish & touch of spice.

Thoughts

I can’t say any grabbed me. All were enjoyable & relatively easy on the palate – but just lacked character & oomph.

Post Reveal

Well that was a bit of a surprise!

Is the decay within the Bell’s Decanter an allegory for Prince Andrew’s paedophilia scandal?

Celebrity whisky pairings are always fraught with the rise & fall of the individuals involved & despite coming out best in the tasting – this one has fallen pretty far.

Glen Marnoch just pipped 2nd for the initial freshness which left Suntory trailing with it’s just too soft & easy approach.

If you want to get involved in some blind tasting fun – get in touch – you never know what you may find!

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Many thanks to Sean for the samples & images.

What Price Whiskey Flavour? – 2 Dundalgans & a Teeling, Beer Barrel Aged Whiskey, 42% to 46%.

There’s been a sprinkling of articles questioning the price of whiskey.

Rant And Whisky, – Whisky And WisdomDairiesOfADramMerchant.

If cost is an issue – look around!

There are an increasing amount of attractively affordable alternatives available.

Lidl Ireland whiskey choices 2020 c/othewhiskeynut

The Dundalgan range from Lidl is one example.

Comprising of 5 bottles – none above €26 – displaying a broad array of styles & finishes, I’d suggest there’s something to suit all palates.

Having tried the entry level blend – & the entertaining IPA finished single malt – I grabbed the opportunity to sample more in a trio of beer barrel aged whiskey tasting.

Dundalgan IPA c/othewhiskeynut

Dundalgan IPA Cask Single Malt, 42%

A light, fruity & summery style of malt full of attractive flavours & a touch of character too.

Nice easy drinking.

Dundalgan Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Dundalgan Stout Cask Single Malt, 42%

A more solid, rich & heavy malt feel about this one. Very engaging – very moreish.

Lovely.

Teeling Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Teeling Galway Bay Stout Cask, Blend, 46%

The delightful bouquet of aromas from nosing were slightly diminished on drinking by the sweet grainy influence. A lighter offering with contrasting deeper notes & a prickly finish.

Very refreshing.

Thoughts

Overall – Dundalgan Stout Cask won the day.

Considering one Teeling costs around two Dundalgans – what price are you prepared to pay for flavour?

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Shanahans Original, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 40%

Hopefully by the end of 2021 we’ll be able to freely walk into bars & enjoy ourselves without any worries – as I miss the unexpected encounters within.

Back in summer ’19 herself requested a trip to the seaside on a hot sunny day in contrast to the flat Midland’s bogs we normally frequent.

Afterwards, a spot of light refreshment at Keelings Bar in Donabate rounded off the day.

Shanahans Original c/othewhiskeynut

The whiskey shelves were scanned for a suitable selection & Shanahans Original stood out for me.

Being a commissioned malt from the Cooley Distillery for the famous Dublin based steakhouse – this was in the days before the Beam/Suntory takeover turned off the taps to 3rd parties – Shanahans is a slice of Irish Whiskey’s recent history I was keen to sample.

Back label c/othewhiskeynut

That lovely fresh citrusy & fruity malt aroma greeted me.

A delightfully light & easy whiskey with a touch of malty character – as well as an entertaining back story – to enjoy on a warms summers day in the beer garden of Keelings.

Oh to be able to experience those simple & unexpected pleasures again!

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