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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Of the 2, Sample C was more intriguing. It suited my palate better & I was keen to find out what it was.
Sample A – Chivas Regal 18 Year Old Blend, 40%
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.