You’d be forgiven for never hearing of Concannon Irish Whiskey before if you live in Ireland – as it’s mainly sold in the USA!
Concannon is a popular seller over the pond making it into the Top 10 of the biggest brands – appearing above Powers & Black Bush – so when an opportunity arose to purchase a miniature from the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder’s new sample service – Drams Delivered – my curiosity was piqued.
Interestingly this whiskey is finished in Petite Sirah casks from the Concannon Vineyard in California – which might partly explain it’s impressive sales!
The colour was reassuringly pale for a wine cask finish.
Sweet, fruity & honeyed on the nose. Gently inviting.
Quite a light palate with an attractive freshness.
Juicy sweet grain appears before a pleasing fruitiness topped off with a touch of prickliness gently fades away.
A very pleasant easy drinker with enough depth of flavour to keep it entertaining.
When Red Earl first appeared with it’s cartoon like imagery it was somewhat overlooked.
Now available in 4 differing styles. – with varying images too – The Flight of the Earls make for a striking posse of whiskey.
It’s about time I discovered the flavours behind the brand – so ordered up a tasting pack from Tiny Tipple.
Red Earl, 40%
A blend aged in bourbon, sherry & rioja casks.
Warm, inviting & fruity sweet nose. Juicy mouthfeel with a lip smacking finish.
A lovely well balanced flavoursome blend.
Great Earl, 40%
A single grain aged in recharred & virgin oak barrels, finished in Sangiovese casks.
A dry, clean & clear nose. The wine influence makes it’s presence felt on the palate followed by a lovely frisson of oaky spice on the rear.
Spanish Earl, 43%
A single malt matured in bourbon casks & finished in rum & stout casks.
Yum yum – a juicy depth to this one! Rich maltiness on the palate with a solid backbone of darker delights. Opens up further on the finish with a spicy prickle, soft hints of roastiness & an engaging dryness.
Red Earl, Cask Strength, 63.48%
A cask strength version of the Red Earl blend.
Despite the high ABV the nose is still inviting – with just a suggestion of high alcohol presence. The triple cask maturation notes roll over each other in a wonderful flourish of flavour – before a drying hit of alcohol kicks in with an explosion of power.
I don’t subscribe to the notion cask strength is automatically superior to 40% – but Red Earl CS wears it well.
The Flight of Earls impressed me.
Full of flavour, full of style & a hearty bunch of characters too.
The pale colour of the quartet also points to a lack of added caramel.
It’s a delight to taste them all back to back to explore both the differences – & similarities – that run through the collection.
It’s hard to pick a winner from this flight of beauties – but for me the ease of drinking, clarity of flavours & enjoyable flair on the finish – I’m giving it to Great Earl.