Tag Archives: Bourbon Barrels

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.

Barr an Uisce 16 Year Old, Single Malt, 46%

Whiskey finished in an ever increasing array of fancy casks appears to be de rigueur right now – so it’s always refreshing to get back to basics with an ex-bourbon cask only Irish Whiskey.

Even if ex-bourbon maturation only became a ‘thing’ due to American Bourbon legislation which states new – or virgin – American oak casks must be used in the production of bourbon – resulting in all those once used casks being shipped to Ireland to be refilled to mature our whiskey.

And with Barr an Uisce 16yo it tastes damn fine.

A honeyed nose.

Rich vanilla coming through on the palate which is both clean, sharp & enticing.

The finish excites with an engaging bite on the 46% ABV presentation.

A classic ex-bourbon cask matured Irish Whiskey.

A joy to encounter!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Sailor’s Home, The Journey, 43%, Blended Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey is experiencing unprecedented growth with new bottles & brands appearing all the time.

One that caught my eye was Sailor’s Home – a Limerick based brand recalling the city’s rich maritime connections.

Welcome home! c/othewhiskeynut

It also led me down memory lane.

Some of my formative years were spent sailing the seven seas crewing ocean going vessels.

Mid Ocean c/othewhiskeynut

The ship was your home for the duration of the voyage – yet it was constantly on a journey – a never ending journey for me – seeking out new whiskeys to explore.

Detail c/othewhiskeynut

Beautifully presented in an attractive bottle with lovely detailed touches. The Journey has been matured in virgin oak, ex-bourbon & the seafarers favourite – rum barrels.

Explorer’s Spirit c/othewhiskeynut

A dark caramel front sweeps over the fresh & engaging first nosing.

Waves of warmth embrace the palate in a silky coating.

Prickly peppery spice, bright vanillas & subtle suggestions of rum funk set a course to the finish leaving a dry yet lip smacking experience.

It’s a journey I’d happily explore again!

I raise a glass of Sailor’s Home to all the seafarers that didn’t return.

MV Derbyshire c/oLiverpoolMuseums.org

In particular those aboard MV Derbyshire – a newer & larger bulk carrier sister ship to the one I happened to be on half way across the Atlantic when news of the tragedy came through.

May all your journeys lead you home.

Sláinte

Sierra Nevada, Narwhal, Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, 11.9%

Dark – very dark.

Aromas of coffee, sweet vanilla & molasses.

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Sierra Nevada Narwhal c/othewhiskeynut

Almost nitro smoothness on the palate.

For such a high strength ABV offering this is quite a light experience.

Despite it’s full year in bourbon barrels – I didn’t pick up a noticeable bourbon influence.  Truth is – I got more of a rum vibe going.

Those heavy – slightly burnt –  molasses combined with rich dark brown demerara sweetness were actually more suited to the Narwhal & pirate ship motif displayed on the eye-catching can!

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Beast of a Beer c/othewhiskeynut

A ‘beast of a beer’ indeed!

Sláinte

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Pirate’s Grog Rum, Aged Honduran v’s No 13, 37.5% & 40%.

There’s going to be a lot of ‘Sitting Round At Home’ in the next few weeks – a cue for the classic Buzzcocks tune.

It also gives me the opportunity to work through a selection of miniatures.

A pair of Pirate’s Grog Rum in attractively labelled dumpy bottles took my fancy.

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Arrgh! A mighty fine pair ‘o’ rubies! c/othewhiskeynut

The Aged Honduran Rum gave no age statement.

The No 13 states ‘Fine 13 Year Aged Rum’ – plus ‘All Natural and Organic’  &  ‘Handmade in a Single Batch’.  Very promising.

No 13 was a slightly darker shade of golden brown – while the Aged looked cloudier. Both gave good legs.

On the nose Aged had a sweet molassey note combined with an attractive funkiness. Very alluring.

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Aged Honduran Rum c/othewhiskeynut

No 13 by comparison gave more vanilla with a touch of woodiness.

Both were soft & easy on the palate with a silky mouthfeel – but took different directions thereafter.

The Aged funkiness opened up & grew into a delightfully prickly spice which teased my senses. Very enjoyable.

No 13 didn’t particularly take me on a journey. The long time in ex-bourbon barrels imbued it with attributes more akin to a single malt whiskey rather than a rum – & I was a tad deflated by the experience.

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Pirate’s Grog No 13 c/othewhiskeynut

Both were fine, easy & approachable rums – but for me the funkiness of Aged Honduran was a more characterful example of the genre.

Despite the extra fancy labelling, more refined product & reassuring marketing of No 13 – the plain old NAS pleased my palate better.

Sláinte

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Bacardi Carta Blanca, White Rum, 37.5%

I do love miniatures.

It’s a handy way of trying out spirits – in this case Bacardi’s entry level white rum – Carta Blanca.

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Bacardi Blanca c/othewhiskeynut

Now although it appears clear & transparent – this rum is aged for 1 to 3 years in bourbon barrels – the resulting colour has been extensively filtered out  – often using charcoal.

This potentially strips out some flavours too – so what did I find?

Well the nose was very soft & muted. A slight spirity element with a little fruity funk.

This followed into the palate – which had a rich mouthfeel – before it began to open up on the finish.

A pleasant prickly tingling, a touch of fruitiness, a touch of vanilla & a little spice.

Very easy drinking – nothing offensive or off here.

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Puerto Rican Rum c/othewhiskeynut

I can see why it’s the perfect blank canvas for cocktails.

Sláinte

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A Blind Whiskey Tasting

I have a few sample jars that go back & forth among some fellow whiskey fans.

It’s a handy way for all to try out unknown bottles before committing to buying – or not as the case may be!

Going blind – in this instance with samples A and C – adds to the fun.

There are no preconceived ideas based on distillery, country, whether caramel has been added or not, or even if it’s a blend, a grain or a single malt offering.

It’s simply 2 measures of whiskey – and your palate.

How much more honest can that be?

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A & C tasting notes before the reveal. c/othewhiskeynut

Sample A 

I found this nice, clean & fresh. A little paler than sample C but an inviting nose with summer fruits tempted me in.

The palate was quite light, reminiscent of sherry cask influence, with a touch of spice & an enjoyably prickly finish which lasted a long time.

A straight down the line decent dram.

Sample C

Darker. Both in terms of colour as well as nose. More stone fruits than summer orchard with a slight funkiness I couldn’t pin down.

The taste was mellower. Charred cask influence perhaps, with a dark sweetness suggestive of rum or port cask maturation.

The finish faded rather quickly. Possibly a more youthful expression.

My choice

Of the 2, Sample C was more intriguing. It suited my palate better & I was keen to find out what it was.

The reveal

Chivas Regal 18
Chivas Regal 18 c/oshopsupervalu.ie

Sample A – Chivas Regal 18 Year Old Blend, 40%

Abrachan
Abrachan Triple Oak Blended Malt c/oLidl

Sample C – Abrachan Blended Malt, 42%

The Abrachan from Lidl at €25 had me better entertained as to what was going on than the more cultured Chivas 18yo at €80!

For further info – the Chivas 18 is a blend of up to 20 different malt & grain whiskies.

The Abrachan is a blended malt aged in charred American oak barrels, sherry casks & port casks. As a non aged statement (NAS) whisky it’s undoubtedly a lot younger than 18 – but for a blind taste comparison it had me hooked.

Congratulations to Lidl!

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