Tag Archives: Blended Whiskey

Concannon Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

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.

Nice!

Sláinte

Concannon Vineyard website here.

Irish Whiskey Sales in America 2020 here.

Micil Inverin, Blend, 46% & Micil Earl’s Island, Single Pot Still, 46%

It’s Micil time!

Micil Distillery in Galway have been distilling tasty Poitín for a few years now.

They’ve also recently laid down their own distillate for the quiet slumber in casks to turn into whiskey.

In the meantime a pair of sourced – Great Norther Distillery – offerings came my way for appraisal.

Micil Inverin, Blend, 46%

A gentle kiss of turf greets the nose.

Clean, clear & fresh palate with more smokey notes appearing.

Gorgeously drying turf on the rear with a spicy lip smacking finish.

Sweet, spicey & smokey.

Lovin’ it!

Micil Earl’s Island, Single Pot Still, 46%

A gentle even shy nose with hints of juicy depth.

Smooth silky palate.

A touch of drying on the rear with subtle sweetness & an engaging spicy kick.

Very nice!

Thoughts

Without a doubt Inverin is my whiskey of choice here.

That warm embracing hug of turf paired with juicy fruitiness is a winner on my palate.

Roll on Micil!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Northern Exposure, An Exploration Of Northern Irish Whiskey – Mainly – Via Blind Tasting.

Northern Irish Whiskey isn’t a separate category – although shifting political structures between Ireland, UK & Europe might influence that.

Presented before me were 5 sample bottles, below are 5 impressions in italics before the reveal & the 5 bottles uncovered.

Bréifne – Hinch Single Pot Still, 43%

Pale straw. Intriguing nice deep nose. Clean, fresh, spicey & sweet. Rye like finish. Nice!

The spice was so intense & lively I could’ve mistaken this for a rye whiskey! Hinch SPS is a sourced product while their own distillate matures. Really enjoyable.

Slemish – Powers Distiller’s Cut, 43.2%

Dark straw. Clean, sweet dark fruits. Shy palate. Nice depth & spice on the finish. Yeah!

Of the 3 Midleton brands, Jameson, Paddy & Powers, Powers has always been my favourite. This blind tasting only appears to confirm this with the latest UK Distiller’s Cut edition.

Iveagh – Kirker & Greer, 10 Year Old Single Grain, 43%

Golden brown. Expressive. Wine cask influence? Warm, inviting. Soft finish. Spice on rear. Interesting.

Kirker & Greer are a Belfast based independent bottling company revitalising an old tradition. An easy going single grain offering.

Donard – Bushmills American Cask Finish, 40%

Dark straw. Mild, mellow & sweet. Smooth easy palate. Touch of spice on rear. Grand.

I’d have to congratulate Bushmills on releasing some new bottles to market & updating their core range labels – even if I found this one rather ‘pedestrian’.

Oriel – Bushmills Caribbean Rum Cask Finish, 40%

Dark straw. Cookie dough. Slightly muddy. Smooth, mellow & soft. Short finish. Not exciting.

Sadly this one just wasn’t for me.

Thoughts

I had an entertaining evening picking out the flavours from this quintet of whiskey.

There was a clear winner – as well as loser – on my palate with the middle 3 being somewhat closer in experience.

In terms of trends my palate appears to favour the spicey side of things – usually non chill filtered & natural colour helps too. Which partly explains the poor showing of Bushmills here.

The tasting also shows no division regarding sourced or distillery product in enjoyment of the whiskey.

The tasting is what it’s all about at Whiskey Nut.

Sláinte

Images courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop, WhiskyExchange, @_PMcDermott & authors own.

Irish Whiskey Awards 2021, My Blind Judging Results

The Irish Whiskey Awards 2021 were held – in person – at the wonderful Powerscourt Distillery.

Limited capacity excluded my attendance – but I did contribute my blind judging results for the awards.

Blind judging is a great leveller.

Presented before you are identical vials – codes are used to identify the whiskey inside.

Blind judging c/othewhiskeynut

No logos, no back stories, no information as to distillery of origin or casks used, no fancy bottle or labelling, not even whether you’re tasting single malt, grain or blended whiskey.

Just the vials, a glass & your palate.

It’s the most transparent & honest way to explore the flavours of the whiskey before you.

For 2021 I received 3 packs of whiskey for scoring – I, L & B – & didn’t attempt to guess the category or whiskey sampled so as to concentrate on the flavours & differences between each offering.

The reveal – always after the awards evening – gives an insight into my palate preferences.

Category I – Single Malts 12 to 15 Years

Consisting of 12 entrants my average score was 72.5 with a difference of 6.

I found these to be variations of a common theme – not surprising as only 3 or 4 distilleries were producing back in 2009 or earlier – with very tight scoring.

There was a winner,

Jack Ryan Founder’s Touch

With 4 sharing 2nd spot only 1 point behind – Tullamore DEW 12, Gelson’s 12, Pearse 12 Founder’s Reserve & Lough Ree Bridge Series Elfleet Bay.

The actual Award winner was Gelston’s 15 – which came below average in my scores.

Category L – Cask Strength

8 entrants, average score 73.8, difference 6.

Again a lack of diversity with tight scoring.

My winner was,

Dark Silkie Cask Strength

I didn’t detect the peat influence yet it obviously mattered as Dark Silkie was 2 points ahead of the trio that came 2nd – Natterjack CS, Teeling Fill Your Own SPS & a surprise entrant, The Brollach.

Award winner Dunville’s PX 12 CS again was below average.

Category B – Blended, Limited Release

12 entrants, average score 75.9, difference 12.

This category pleased me no end! A more diverse & entertaining array of whiskey resulted in higher overall scores.

A clear winning podium produced,

The Whistler, Calvados Cask

As winner with stablemate Whistler Imperial Stout 2nd & Pearse Marriage Of Malts 3rd.

Award winner was Writer’s Tears Ice Wine Cask.

Thoughts

Congratulations to all the IWA 2021 winners.

They have captured the popular tasting profiles of the judges participating & are clearly crowd pleasers.

They are however not my palate choices. None of the winners broke beyond my averages scores.

By presenting my winners I’m being honest & transparent as to what tickles my tastebuds.

The blended limited release category offered me a far greater diversity & heightened enjoyment all round.

Given too that almost all my winners used sourced product it suggests to me more attention is given to the blending & maturation process over distillation techniques by the brands involved.

These scoring results are also reflected in the content of my blog.

Everyone’s palate is unique & one person’s winners might be another’s losers.

Enjoy what pleases your palate & don’t be afraid to say so.

I enjoy blended whiskey best!

Sláinte

Bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop & Sliabh Liag Distillers.

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!

Sláinte

All images taken by Whiskey Nut in the local Aldi.

Flight Of The Earls, Irish Whiskey, 40% to 63.48%

When Red Earl first appeared with it’s cartoon like imagery it was somewhat overlooked.

c/o TinyTipple

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.

c/o KinsaleSpiritCo

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.

Nice!

c/o KinsaleSpiritCo

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.

Thoughts

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.

What would you choose?

Sláinte

Images authors own unless stated.

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.

Moore’s Irish Whiskey, 40% & Moore’s Irish Cream Liqueur, 17%

The growing sales & popularity of Irish Whiskey continues to attract new entrants into the category.

Lockdown Brands – you can guess when they were formed – recently released their Moore’s range of spirits.

Moore’s miniatures c/othewhiskeynut

Launched without fanfare or fuss – I picked a miniature pack up in the excellent Celtic Whiskey Shop on my sojourn to Wetherspoons new Keavin’s Port Hotel in Dublin.

Moore’s Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Moore’s Irish Whiskey sports a proud stag on the label – with little else over and above the legal requirements.

There’s a sweet sherried depth to the nose, the usual caramel flavours & a bit of a spirity kick.

Smooth, honeyed & mouth coating, the palate gently hugs in an warming embrace.

An engaging dry tingling fades slowly away on the finish.

With ever more esoteric cask finishes & proclamations of provenance – the stripped back simplicity & no nonsense approach of Moore’s is refreshing.

Moore’s Cream Liqueur c/othewhiskeynut

Mariah Carey dominates social media with her Black Irish liqueur – but Moore’s Irish Cream Liqueur faces no legal dispute – as far as I know – and is currently available to purchase in Ireland.

Rather than sporting a golden mermaid look, Moore’s is adorned with a humble grazing cow – the source of the Irish cream used.

In the glass Moore’s Irish Cream Liqueur has the appearance & consistency of rich full-fat milk about it.

Only on nosing & tasting does a whisper of whiskey make it’s presence felt over the rich creaminess & melted milk chocolate experience.

An Irish Wolfhound graces Moore’s Irish Gin – but never having acquired an appreciation of this juniper led category – I’ll leave it to others for appraisal.

Overall I’m somewhat attracted to the laid back & simple approach offered by Moore’s.

There’s a traditional appeal to the honeyed blend style of whiskey.

The brand also puts Co Laois on the spirits map.

Best wishes to Moore Drinks & Lockdown Brands in their new venture.

Killarney 8 Year Old, Imperial Stout Barrel Aged Irish Whiskey, 46% & Killarney Whiskey Cask Aged Imperial Stout, 9.6%

In advance of their €24 million combined whiskey distillery & brewery coming on stream, Killarney Distilling Co have released this limited edition duo.

Killarney Whiskey & Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Comprising of an 8 year old blended whiskey finished in their own Imperial Stout casks – as well as the Imperial Stout finished in whiskey casks – they make for an exclusive pairing.

Aged in Stout c/othewhiskeynut

The 8yo wasn’t giving much away. Quite soft & shy on the nose.

More powerful on the palate. Subtle sweet grain mixed with wholesome malt augmented by the undertones of barrel finishing.

A rather lively & fresh finish rounded this agreeable blend off.

Aged in Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

The Imperial Stout had a richness & depth from the whiskey barrels – but I found the carbonation a tad too lively – which distracted my palate from the complexity within.

Leaving it to sit for a while brought out a creaminess – adding to the enjoyment.

A worthy pair to kick start the exciting journey Killarney Distilling Co are embarking on!

Sláinte

Black’s 18 Year Old, Irish Rum Cask Finish, Single Malt, 56%

Black’s Brewery & Distillery have been satisfying thirsty drinkers for nearly a decade.

Their beers proved a hit on the growing craft beer scene with hop forward offerings – sadly not to my tastes – building a loyal following.

Black’s moonshine c/othewhiskeynut

Moving into the distilling scene Black’s excited me more with an early BlackMoon XXX release which pleased my palate.

Black’s Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Several entertaining whiskeys of sourced distillate also went down well.

Black’s Rum. c/othewhiskeynut

Black’s own wholly Irish produced Golden Rum certainly wowed my senses – as well as The World Rum Awards!

Black’s 18yo Rum Cask c/oBlacks

This latest premium 18 Year Old Single Malt has been finished in barrels used to mature that Irish Golden Rum – a world first!

Luckily a sample from Black’s of this limited edition release came my way.

Black’s 18 c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely golden hue.

Gorgeously rich aromas. Thinking rum & raisin, gentle woodiness – yet almost earthy.

Initially sweet & easy notes of soft caramel infused with stronger oakiness coat the palate before the 56% ABV kicks in with a joyful explosion of power.

A prickly tingling of gently drying spiciness faded slowly away.

A very attractive & alluring malt indeed.

Pity it’s a bit beyond my price range!

Sláinte

Black’s Brewery & Distillery kindly supplied the sample.

All views – as always – are my own.