Tag Archives: ABV

You can’t beat a good blend, Dunville’s 1808, 40%, Irish Whiskey

I always enjoy a blind tasting.

Stripped of any clues as to what’s before you it heightens your senses to the tastes & flavours experienced on drinking the liquid.

Presented before me were 6 samples. I duly poured them into 6 identical Túath glasses & proceeded to savour the contents.

For some reason I thought this was a rum tasting – & quickly revised this theory as No 1 ‘despite having a bit of a sour nose the lack of body on the palate & high ABV kick signalled to me a poitín! Can’t say it did much for me. Nice experience – but not an approachable spirit’.

There was no No 2 so No 3 ‘proved intriguing. The pale yellow colour, soft fruity nose, easy palate with slight hints of burnt notes on the rear drew me in. I could drink this one again!’.

With No 4I experienced a slightly musty nose, indicative of long ageing, perfectly fine palate yet lacked a bit of body & very dry on the rear. Rather nonplussed by this one’.

No 5 ‘had a sherry like influence, smooth & silky on the palate with a nice touch of dryness on the rear. Could be a low ppm peater? Not quite enough to excite me if it is’.

No 6 ‘initially blew me away! Suggestive of high ABV. On a 2nd tasting it still didn’t entice me’.

No 7 ‘kinda hooked me, if only for a more pronounced smoky influence. Elegant yet challenging all at the same time’.

So that was it! My initial thoughts are in italics.

Samples 3 & 7 stood out for me in this selection.

So what were they?

Photo courtesy Irish Drink Shop

3 – Dunville’s 1808, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

What can I say? A very pleasant easy drinker with enough depth of character to keep me coming back for more.

Photo courtesy Whisky Exchange

7 – Smögen 100 Proof, 6 Year Old, Swedish Single Malt, 57.1%

A heavy peater finished in oloroso casks at a challenging high ABV. Think I’d have enjoyed this one more at 46% without the oloroso finish myself.

And the others?

1 – Black’s Single Pot New Make, 63.5%

4 – Jamesons Black Barrel Proof, Blend, 50%

5 – High Coast, Dálvve Sherry Influence, Swedish Single Malt, 48%

A light peater with 50/50 bourbon/sherry influence. A bit of a let down from the original high peater Box Dálvve I enjoyed at Gothenberg Airport here.

6 – Bushmills Causeway Collection, 2008 Muscatel Casks, Single Malt, 56.4%

Given that Smögen is a bit of a unicorn bottle – hard to get hold of, pricey & limited edition – as are some of the other bottles – I think Dunville’s 1808 performed extremely well on my palate.

I took away a few themes from this tasting. High ABV can blow away the flavours for me & make for a challenging drinking experience. Sherry cask influence isn’t my style of choice & when it comes to enjoyable, affordable drinking – you can’t beat a good blend!

What would your palate have chosen?

Sláinte

Many thanks to fellow Whiskey Blogger S for the blind samples & bottle photo.

Ming River Sichuan Baijiu, 45%

Lacking proper glasses I was reduced to sampling out of a ceramic cup!

Didn’t deter the wonderful taste experience!

Baijiu – a clear colourless Chinese spirit mainly made with sorghum grain & possessing a centuries old distilling tradition.

Ming River is a collaboration with Luzhou Laojiao – 3rd most valuable spirit brand in the world 2022 – & renowned author Derek Sandhaus to try & bring Baijiu’s charms to a western audience.

As such it’s presented at a lower strength of 45% as opposed the the usual 52% or over of other baijiu I’ve tried.

If anything this allows those distinctive umami style flavours to shine even more as I often find high ABV spirits can sometimes numb the tastebuds.

Ming River certainly opens with a flourish of meaty BBQ notes.

On the palate it’s quite mild & mellow – allowing those gorgeous notes to fully coat the mouth.

I love the drying, slightly tingling, salty BBQ style of flavours going on in the finish.

Ming River displays all the classic attributes of Baijiu without the high strength explosion associated with stronger offerings.

Derek Sandhaus & Luzhou Laojiao have created a worthy addition to the baijiu cannon.

If you haven’t tried baijiu yet – get your hands on Ming River!

Sláinte

The Spirits Business article on the World’s Biggest Brands here.

My blog on Derek Sandhaus’ book here.

Archie Rose, White Rye, 40%

This one’s eluded me for a while.

Sitting at the back of my cupboard – possibly for a few years – is one of Archie Rose’s first offerings – a 40% White Rye.

They’ve come a long way since 2016 – when this White Rye was bottled. The matured rye can now be enjoyed!

Going back a few years however to the start of their journey is this White Rye – which I was glad to re-discover.

An earthy rye note greeted me – full of promise & flavour.

Smooth mouthfeel – touch of new make going on – but builds to a warm spiciness on the rear.

Leaves the palate tingling with a soft prickly experience.

An engaging little number that set Archie Rose out on the distilling road.

Maybe I’ll have to check out what they’re up to know!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

A Copeland Rum Triple Tasting, 40% to 57.2%, Barbados & Northern Ireland.

Irish Whiskey is often triple distilled, but this triple tasting includes rum distilled at the Copeland Distillery in Donaghadee.

I’d already purchased their Smugglers Reserve Overproof – read about it here – & found it a lively powerfully funky rum.

Their Smugglers Reserve Bordeaux Cru Rum at 42% won out over a couple of other Irish Rums also due to the funk – blog here.

Image c/o Copeland Distillery

So will the standard Smugglers Reserve at 40% hold up to scrutiny?

Well the nose certainly promised it would!

That sweet fruity funk lured me in. An engaging oily mouthfeel enveloped the senses delivering that rich funkiness & prickly enticing spice on the finish.

Lovely stuff.

Image c/o Copeland Distillery

The last remnants of my Grand Cru sample continued to delight. If anything – it delivered a more mellowed & cultured mouthfeel. Perhaps some would find this more appealing – but the straight forward bold flavours of the original still won me over.

Image c/o WhiskeyNut

The Overproof meanwhile managed to excite!

A powerful explosion of funky flavour, high ABV & an intense drinking experience is something to behold.

I must say I was mightily impressed by all 3!

That fruity funk signature note I love presents itself clearly in all variants making it hard to choose a favourite.

For ease of delivery, richness of flavour & overall accessibility & affordability however – I’m giving it to Smugglers Reserve, 40%.

Who got the funk?

Copeland Rum’s got the funk!

Sláinte

For clarity, Overproof was purchased in Donaghadee, Grand Cru was sample swapped & Original was kindly donated by Copeland Distillery.

Copeland Distillery website here.

Kinsale Spirits Co, The Triumvirate, Blend, Single Grain & Single Malt, 40% to 43%, Irish Whiskey

I previously tried this attractive trio – blog here – but now they’ve appeared in an eye-catching miniature set complete with historical stories regarding the Earls portrayed & tasting notes on the whiskeys too – I thought I’d give them another go!

Red Earl, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

Triple casked, finished in Rioja casks. This light brown blend has a gentle aroma of soft dark fruits. The palate is quite soft yet there’s a delightful fruit bomb on the finish. An added prickly spice livens up the finish.

A very pleasant offering.

Great Earl, Single Grain Irish Whiskey, 40%

Triple casked, finished in Sangiovese casks. Not come across that wine before! Slightly paler in colour. Finding the nose more expressive than the blend – richer & more redolent. A lovely sweet grainy appeal on the palate slowly develops into a punchier finish.

Liking this one!

Spanish Earl, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 43%

Triple casked, finished in Stout casks. Upping the game with a few extra ABV! A darker shade of straw. Finding the nose a tad muted – but darker & heavier when it does appear. Very smooth & silky palate. The stout cask flavours emerge with dark toffee & burnt toast notes.

Vey attractive.

Thoughts

A terrific trio!

It’s actually hard to pick a favourite from these well presented whiskeys. All lean towards a sweet wine cask finished style with the malt introducing darker stout elements. On this occasion Spanish Earl won me over. What it lost on the nose was more than compensated by a rich finish.

Olé

Kinsale Spirits Co website here.

All images authors own.

Old Horseshoe Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, 70 Proof

Well here’s one that almost got away!

I’ve taken to hosting ‘Whiskey By The Water’ tasting evenings in one of my local bars.

The water being the Shannon & the bar Sean’s.

It’s a way of sharing my growing drinks cabinet that would be folly of me to consume on my own.

Old Horseshoe is an Aldi brand from an un-named source.

The 70 Proof is a throwback to the Sikes system of alcohol strength as used in the UK until the 1980’s – they might yet go back to it after leaving Europe.

Deep brown in colour with viscous legs.

I’m getting a classic high-rye bourbon style of nose from Old Horseshoe – very reminiscent of Four Roses.

Quite a dry mouthfeel.

The dry peppery nuttiness is long lasting.

A lovely drop.

Sláinte

Sean’s Bar website here.

Discover The Shannon website here.

Old Horseshoe Aldi website here.

Sikes proof system explanation 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.

Founders Brewing, KBS Flavoured Stout, 12%

Well it sure is dark!

Flavoured – well Founders are American – with coffee & chocolate in the brewing process & then aged in ex-bourbon barrels.

The coffee comes through on the nose.

Almost treacly on the palate, with just enough carbonation to give it a surprisingly light feel for such a heavy stout.

Rather short on the finish for me & was left expecting a bit more oomph.

A bit too easy going for 12%!

All images authors own.

An Fear Grinn, Tide’s In, 13 Year Old Single Cask, Single Grain, 57.8% & Gullion, Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 46%

An Fear Grinn – Dundalk’s Own Whiskey – have released some cracking independent bottles over the last few years.

Much appreciation to them for providing this latest pair for review.

As usual I cracked them open before reading up on what they were & my initial tasting notes are in italics.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

An Fear Grinn Tide’s In, 13 Year Old, Cask Strength, Single Cask, Single Grain, 57.8%

Gentle warm caramelly nose with hints of leathery depth, lovely mouth coating experience, gorgeous complexity of flavours come through on the finish, hints of smoke, oaky wood & a prickly excitement too.

Lovely!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Gullion, Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 46%

Light, bright & fruity, gentle palate, mild mannered, easily accessible offering yet retains a depth of character & engaging attractiveness.

Nice!

Thoughts

All An Fear Grinn are presented non chill filtered & natural colour. It shows in the richness of flavours & joie-de-vivre of the delivery.

I was slightly taken aback on finding Tide’s In to be a 57.8% single grain matured in ex-bourbon & finished in oloroso. Nothing silent about this one & no need for water.

Gullion turned out to be a bourbon matured, rye finished single pot still – which explained the prickly dry spice I experienced on the finish. A novel approach to presenting a single pot still – which worked for me.

Both are delightful whiskey to sip, savour & enjoy. My palate leans towards the rather-too-easy-to-enjoy-at-cask-strength delights of Tide’s In – but yours might go the other way.

Either way – you’re in for a treat!

Sláinte

A Rum Blind Tasting – 2 Killowens & a Copeland on reveal.

Well – I assumed they were rums!

Having previously arranged sample swaps from a number of sources – by the time of arrival I’ve often forgotten what’s been chosen from whom – rather than look up past correspondence I simply pour, taste & enjoy.

This frees me from any undue bias towards particular brands or styles.

Nor do I sit with them for long.

The samples are poured – 3 in this instance – viewed to compare colour – no noticeable difference here – sniffed, swallowed & immediate tasting notes scribbled.

A few minutes later Sample C was the clear winner.

Notes in italics were written before the reveal.

Copeland Bordeaux Grand Cru Rum, 42% – Sample C

Image courtesy Master Of Malt

Super bad, super funky! Rich & smooth tasting treacly palate. Gorgeous funky finish. Bit of prickly spice.

Nice one!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Peated Dark Rum, 58.1% – Sample B

More depth & more funk – than Sample A. I tasted A to C – Smooth delivery, nice mouthfeel. Opens up on rear, prickly finish. Good depth of flavours.

Enjoyable!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Dark Rum, 55% – Sample A

Nice nose, soft, sweet, rum like, slight funk. Bit sharp. Bite on finish, prickly spice. High strength?

Bit of an experience!

Thoughts

Well that was an enjoyable tasting – 3 lovely rums with a clear winner!

The smooth delivery, rich flavours & gorgeous funkiness of Copeland’s Grand Cru instantly won me over.

The 2 Killowen’s funk just didn’t shine in comparison & sadly – I have to admit – the high strength of Dark Rum was a bigger defining feature than the subtle flavours within.

Their Peated Dark Rum however – despite being stronger at 58.1% – did excite & while I didn’t detect the peat presence it clearly influenced my choice. Nor did the high ABV deter.

Where would your palate have taken you?

Donaghadee is where I’m going to replenish my rums!