Category Archives: Single Pot Still

Púca Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, 40%

The mischievous spirits of Púca Irish Whiskey made a welcome return to the shelves of Aldi.

In addition to the original blend, a single pot still variety has appeared.

Light golden brown in colour, I found a sweet malt biscuity aroma greeting me.

Soft & smooth mouthfeel leading to a flourish of signature single pot still spice livening up the finish.

Very pleasant.

You’ll have to move fast to catch these elusive spirits however.

Only 2 were left on the shelf of my local Aldi!

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All images taken by Whiskey Nut in the local Aldi.

Mitchell & Sons, Blue Spot 7 Year Old, Single Pot Still, 58.7%

My first encounter with Blue Spot was after tasting the MVR 2020 & Knockrath Tree 7 offerings – the depth & complexity of which swamped any delights Blue Spot held.

Blue Spot c/othewhiskeynut

A chance sample allowed me to revisit this acclaimed single pot still.

Despite the high ABV – rich warming caramels greeted me on the nose.

The palate started off soft, mellow & mouthcoatimg – before the 58.7% strength kicked in with a powerful punch leaving me reeling with touches of spicy oak tannins.

2nd Blue Spot c/othewhiskeynut

My original appraisal still stands.

Doesn’t grab me.

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A Unicorn Whiskey Tasting, 40% to 58.7%

What is a unicorn whiskey?

To me it’s a whiskey way above my price range – I max out at €100 – which is usually rare, a collector’s item, limited edition, first release or a combination of all.

Many are never opened.

I grasp any opportunity to sample such whiskey – tastings, whiskey shows, launch parties – or in this instance – miniatures.

I approach them with the same level of respect as that of a €20 bottle from the local supermarket.

They are opened, poured into a Tuath Glass & enjoyed.

MVR 2020 c/othewhiskeynut

Midleton Very Rare 2020, Blend, 40%

The MVR series is highly collectable – especially this one – as it’s the last under Brian Nation’s tenure.

Quite a light nose, sweet grain with woody oak enticing me in. A lovely mouthfeel with those oaky tannins drying out towards the finish.

Very approachable, enjoyable & complex – yet lacks a certain oomph.

Knockrath Tree 7 c/othewhiskeynut

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, Knockrath Forest Tree 7, Single Pot Still, 56.6%

Straight into a deep, dank woody close!

The richness of this whiskey is a sheer delight to enjoy.

Gorgeous stuff!

Blue Spot c/othewhiskeynut

Blue Spot 7 Year Old, Single Pot Still, 58.7%

The much anticipated completion of the Spot series.

After the other 2 – this was a bit of a let down.

Light & spirity on the nose – lacking the depth & complexity of the MVR’s – what sherry influence appeared was quickly blown away by the high ABV.

Not for me – even if it’s the only one I could afford!

A satisfying tasting! c/othewhiskeynut

Thoughts

I don’t lust after these whiskeys – nor am I prepared the break the bank for them. They are simply expensive whiskeys appealing to a demographic beyond me,

But that Knockrath Tree 7 is a lovely tipple to lose yourself in!

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A Gelston’s Whiskey Zoom Tasting

L.Mulligan Whiskey Shop – along with other establishments – offer a variety of virtual whiskey tastings over the internet.

I’d highly recommend them.

The opportunity to try a flight of whiskeys – some possibly beyond your budget – with an introduction by the brand ambassador or owner & interactions from fellow whiskey fans.

What’s not to like?

Well – 2 things.

The vagaries of a courier system overwhelmed with demand due to COVID resulted in some folks not getting their physical tasting packs in time.

Your computer skills – or lack off – or outdated software – may need an update.

Gelston’s Tasting c/othewhiskeynut

Thankfully it all came together on the evening as I sat down to enjoy 6 samples of Gelston’s Whiskey.

Samuel Gelston first began a whisky merchants business back in an 1830’s Belfast. Later joined by HJ Neill, the company successfully bonded, blended & bottled the whisky of the day. The current Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey has been founded by direct family descendents who wish to revitalise the family tradition.

Gelston’s SPS c/oDropStore

Gelston’s Single Pot Still, 40%

Being independent bottlers, Gelston’s source their spirit from a number of sources – in this instance West Cork Distillers (WCD) using a 50/50 malted/unmalted barley mix. Displaying some nutty notes, oily mouthfeel & an enjoyable spice on the finish – this is a very easy going, accessible & engagingly pleasant introduction to the Single Pot Still category.

Gelston’s 5yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Gelston’s 5 Year Old, Single Malt, 41.2%

Again WCD supply the base malt – a combination of sherry cask & bourbon cask matured barrels that have been married together to produce this characterful 5yo which exhibits a fine degree of richness & depth for it’s young age. Very satisfying.

Gelston’s 10y c/oDropStore

Gelston’s 10 Year Old, Single Malt, 40%

A very fruity & fresh exbourbon cask matured malt signified a marked doubling in age – along with a change of supply – a triple distilled Cooley. It was also stressed acquiring these barrels can often happen at very short notice with little prospect of future supply to guarantee a core & consistent product. Makes it all the more enjoyable to taste such an engaging whiskey!

Gelston’s 15yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Gelston’s 15 Year Old Single Malt, 43%

The higher up the years we go – the flavours were enhanced – the price escalated & the availability of barrels decreases – Bushmills malt sourced via John Teeling’s Great Northern Distillery (GND). I found a rather quiet nose belied the delights within completed with a gorgeous flourish on the finish. A beauty of a malt.

Gelston’s 26yo c/oLMulligan

Gelston’s 26 Year Old, Single Malt, 54.2%

I was enveloped in the warm embrace of a joyously returning old acquaintance on tasting this one! Again – GND sourced Bushmills malt. This is probably my 3rd or 4th encounter with these venerable old barrels. Various independent blenders, bonders & bottlers have a cask or 2. Simply stunning!

Gelston’s SPS Pinot Noir c/oDropStore

Gelston’s Single Pot Still, Pinot Noir Finish, 40%

How do you top a beautiful, rare & superb single malt? How about a soon to be released SPS finished in Pinot Noir casks supplied by the Gelston/Neill family descendents vineyard? Rich dark fruits on the nose, great depth & complexity & a lovely long luscious finish. The Pinot Noir casks had added so much more to the original WCD SPS we started with at the beginning – and rather being an unicorn bottling – this one is set to become part of the core range! Fabulous!

Gelston’s Irish Whiskey

Gelston’s Whiskey are a wonderful example of the fine art of independent bottlers.

Sourcing from all and sundry – blending where needed – finishing in self sourced casks – releasing limited stock that might be deemed too small to market by the big companies.

May the current generation Gelston/Neill family be every bit as successful in the Irish Whiskey scene of today as their relatives were in the past.

A highly enjoyable & enlightening whiskey tasting!

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Drumshanbo Single Pot Still, 43%

Popping into Tesco for a spot of groceries – I couldn’t help noticing the Drumshanbo Single Pot Still on the shelves.

Handily I’d a few vouchers to use – so it made my basket – along with the usual items.

Drumshanbo SPS & Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

Elegantly presented in an opulent box with a fabulously designed chunky bottle inside – this is the slightly less powerful – 43% – version of the 46% Inaugural release I so enjoyed previously.

Lovely rich honeyed vanilla nose.

A silky sweet oily mouthfeel with malt biscuity overtones.

A gorgeously peppery single pot still spice on the finish.

Rich & extravagant c/othewhiskeynut

Having been spoilt by the intensity & ‘joie de vivre’ of Inaugural – this well balanced, easily accessible & complex Single Pot Still felt just a little less luxurious.

But then it’s not everyday you can pick up a Lovely Leitrim Whiskey doing the groceries!

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Summerton Virtual Whisky Festival, 2020.

COVID has cancelled a whole host of Whiskey Festivals this year.

I did manage to get in the excellent Fife Whisky Festival just before the lockdown – but it may prove to be the only physical show I’ll get to.

So when Summerton Whisky Club announced their online virtual festival – I had to give it a go!

Initially I was worried the festival pack wouldn’t get through the rather clogged postal situation – but it arrived in plenty of time.

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Virtual Whisky Festival! c/othewhiskeynut

My next problem was technology!

Turns out my old laptop is not up to speed – thank goodness for a loan of the wife’s modern machinery!

Bimber were up first.

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Ex-bourbon Bimber c/othewhiskeynut

This new London distillery offered an exbourbon cask at a stonking 51.8% to get things rolling!

A gorgeously rich vanilla laden single malt!

I must profess to having a soft spot for Bimber. A sample of their 1st Release came my way & impressed me very much.

After trying a London Single Malt – Dublin’s Single Pot Still was in order!

Under my table was Dublin’s 1st whiskey release in many years – Teeling Single Pot Still Batch 1.

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London & Dublin’s finest! c/othewhiskeynut

Very fresh & fruity in comparison to Bimber. Less wood influence too. Afraid to say Bimber wins out in this comparison!

Scalasaig’s Blended Malt Island Hopper sailed in next.

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Scalasaig Island Hopper c/othewhiskeynut

Soft peat & caramel with a warming smokey fire.

A back to back with The Dark Silkie blend was in order.

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Swimming with the Silkie! c/othewhiskeynut

Silkie came over cleaner, fresher & ultimately more enjoyable!

A Limited Edition 14 year old Tawny Port Finished Glen Scotia proved to be a stunner!

Ruby coloured, rich, nutty & warming with a hit of peat from the 52.8% strength. Fabulous!

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Campbeltown cracker! c/othewhiskeynut

Campletown Whisky obviously suits my palate after it came out tops in a blind tasting I did recently.

The Lakes Distillery The One Signature Blend suffered a little from the previous offering.

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Now this One! c/othewhiskeynut

The bottle appears to be redesigned & re-recipied from my 1st encounter at a Whisky Birmingham Show a few years ago. The main difference being Lakes own malt is used in the whisky.

One came across as a soft easy peater. Perhaps a sherry influence had detracted from the peat hit for me?

Hinch is the first Irish contribution to the show.

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Hinch Double Wood c/othewhiskeynut

The 5 Year Old Double Wood brings out the warm vanilla & spice of the cask maturation – although I still prefer the Peated Single Malt sampled previously.

Lambay provided the 2nd Irish selection with a cute duo of miniatures featuring their cognac finished blend & single malts.

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A Lambay duo c/othewhiskeynut

It’s fortunate I enjoyed larger samples at a tasting hosted in Sean’s Bar, Athlone. I’m still enjoying the fresher Small Batch blend over the smoother Single Malt though.

I didn’t have a cognac handy to try out the source cask – so made do with a brandy – and found those dark fruity & nutty notes along with a slight spice from the wood that enhanced the Lambay.

I do love Mackmyra’s Limited Editions. They are creative, experimental & feature part of Sweden in every bottle. My last time in Gotherburg introduced me to the range.

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Smashing Swedes c/othewhiskeynut

Efva & Fjällmark were the 2 samples. Both impressed me with their richness, depth & complexity – but Fjällmark just pipped the post for me.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to compare these 2 with a Single Cask Reserve Rök, 1st fill bourbon Mackmyra.

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Smokey Swede c/othewhiskeynut

Class smokiness!

At this stage of the evening I’d usually be on the train home – or tucking into a big feed to sober up – but Wolfburn were the finale with a duo of single malts – Morven & Northland.

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A pack of Wolves! c/othewhiskeynut

I was pleased to be reacquainted with these softly peated malts. The Morven won out in this contest.

Congratulations to all the team at Summerton Whisky Club for hosting this virtual show.

It’s been fun – but I must admit to missing the real thing.

My dram of the day?

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Campbeltown cracker! c/othewhiskeynut

Glen Scotia from the actual show

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Smokey Swede c/othewhiskeynut

& Mackmyra Reserve Cask from under my table!

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Redbreast 27 Launch Night at Sonny Molloy’s, Galway.

In what felt like the ‘last hurrah’ before impending restrictions increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Sonny Molloy’s Bar in Galway held an impressive evening celebrating the launch of the highly esteemed Redbreast Whiskey range’s latest addition – the 27 Year Old.

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Redbreast 27 c/othewhiskeynut

The numbers attending were slightly reduced from previous events – and a certain awkwardness regards hand shaking & social distancing were always in the background – yet the company, the whiskey and the gorgeous food won out!

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Whiskey & food pairing. c/othewhiskeynut

There were 3 whiskeys on offer. All introduced by the Irish Distillers Brand Ambassador – Ger Garland.

Sonny Molloy RB27
Tasty trio c/oSonnyMolloy’s

The first one was a bit of a mystery.

Very sweet on the nose – almost liqueur territory here – quite light on the palate – someone suggested cream soda – before the cask strength made it’s presence felt – leaving the pleasant softer flavours dancing away on the finish.

I was very pleased to hear it was an oat whiskey!

Oats were formerly a common ingredient in Irish Whiskey and it’s marvelous to see it’s return into offerings such as Kilbeggan SPS, Drumshanbo Inaugural – as well as experimentation at Killowen Distillery – and quite clearly at Midleton too!

Just how the results of this experimentation will end up in an actual final product are yet to be decided – but clearly exciting times indeed!

The second offering – also at cask strength – was a much more contemporary affair.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, Knockrath Wood, Tree 3, 56.6%.

The use of virgin Irish Oak casks – as well as ex-bourbon casks – had accentuated the dry tannic spiciness over and above the initial rich warming vanilla notes to the front capped off by a prickly tingling from the high ABV.

I really enjoyed this one.

The grand finalé?

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It’s in the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

Redbreast 27 Year Old, 54.6%.

Unlike other Redbreasts – the 27 has seen maturation in ruby port casks.

This has given it a darker, even richer fruitiness. I’m thinking plums, figs & raisins here. The high ABV kicked in at this point & I’d need the addition of water to calm things down a touch.

To be honest – I wasn’t bowled over.

I didn’t find it an easy whiskey to appreciate – and I’m not just talking about it’s €495 price tag. I found it a bit of a challenge.

Redbreast 27 – not for me.

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I’d like to thank all at Sonny Molloy’s for the warm hospitality on the evening.

My views – as always – are my own.

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%

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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%

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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%

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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%

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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%

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Back c/othewhiskeynut

Just lacked a certain pzazz & flair for my palate.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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A name to be reckoned with. c/othewhiskeynut

Well worth the wait!

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