The recently released diverse range from Dundalgan Whiskey have benefited from a fresh restyle – especially their standard blend.
Sporting a classic red topped green bottle livery – the labelling proudly displays it’s West Cork Distillers origins & establishes an attractive uniformity to the series.
After being impressed by the IPA cask finished Dundalgan Single Malt – I thought I’d get back to basics with this ex-bourbon matured blend. Well – over 95% of Irish Whiskeys are blends – so says the Irish Whiskey 2010-2020 report.
Golden brown in colour – a soft light honeyed nose greeted me.
Very easy on the palate – gentle vanillas & richer darker caramels gradually made their presence felt.
A frisson of tingly spice on the finish gave a lift to this elegantly simple sipper.
During the course of the event I gathered Kurayoshi is a range of blended malts from a variety of unnamed Japanese distilleries bottled by the Kurayoshi/Matsui Distillery. They are presented non chill filtered & natural colour.
Kurayoshi Sherry Cask 43%
An NAS – non age statement – offered at just over 3 years, matured in ex-bourbon casks & finished in sherry casks. There was no new make feel of this richly flavoured whisky. It was noted maturation times in Japan can be shorter than Scotland or Ireland due to the extremes of temperature experienced. Many tasters enjoyed fruity notes with this easy going malt, a discernible sherry influence, long lasting finish & enjoyable prickly bite.
Kurayoshi 8 Year Old, 43%
A clean & fresh ex-bourbon cask matured malt. The use of toasted barrels brought out warm vanilla & caramel notes, along with a certain depth & pleasant peppery spice on the finish – which some compared to that of Powers. Nice!
Kurayoshi 12 Year Old, 43%
More subtle, balanced & rounded with similar maturation to the 8. The peppery spice on the finish was more pronounced. A favourite of many on the tasting.
Kurayoshi 18 Year Old, 50%
A much more intriguing nose, touches of leathery wood, a slight smokiness from the barrels, greater depth & complexity. The higher ABV left a powerful impression & was a delight to enjoy.
The panel was split between the 12 & the 18 as to most well received so far. I must admit to being an 18 fan – although I did enjoy the 8 too!
The final offering was a little different!
Matsui Single Malt, Mizunara Cask, 48%
One of the first releases from the Matsui Distillery itself & aged in Japanese Mizunara Casks – this malt displays some rather unusual & attractive flavours showcasing it’s Japanese manufacture – which is what I’m after! Earthy woody notes combine with a slight sweetness. A clean & fresh palate offering orchard fruits & a lovely balanced peppery spice on the finish. The complexity of flavour belies it’s youthfulness. The Matsui quickly became the pick of the best!
The Celtic Whiskey Shop are currently running weekly whiskey tastings. The opportunity to explore bottles possibly ‘out of reach’ & to virtually chat with fellow whiskey fans in a relaxed manner makes for an enjoyable evening.
It’s always a delight to encounter a new Irish Whiskey brand on the shelves of my local SuperValu.
Wrapped in an attractive tin proudly displaying a period portrayal of O’Connell Street in Dublin, including the General Post Office from where the original proclamation was read, starting the founding of the Irish State in 1916.
Proclamation Irish Whiskey certainly stood out among the other brands sharing it’s keen price point.
‘Matured in bourbon casks & blended with a touch of sherry finished malt.’ is the information given – along with extensive tasting notes on the back – as to the contents of this bottle.
A light golden brown colour complete with viscous legs.
Aromas of soft warm caramel, a touch of sherry sweetness & a hint of nuttiness to add some depth & complexity.
Suitably smooth on the palate – but entertainingly so.
The nuttiness follows through into a softly drying sweetness with an added flourish of some oaky spice too.
The finish was rather brief – but Proclamation certainly lifted my spirits!
A very pleasant easy going sipper with a touch of character – and a long pedigree.
Even before Teeling Whiskey Distillery opened in 2015, I eagerly attended a guided tour of the nascent facility by none other than master distiller & blender Alex Chasko himself.
I’ve been avidly watching the rebuilding of Irish Whiskey – especially the role Teeling plays in that growth – ever since.
Teeling’s 5th Anniversary took place during COVID – and like many events – moved online.
So instead of a lavish party inside the fabulous distillery itself – it was me, my computer & 5 samples of Teeling Whiskey made in that very distillery.
Alex Chasko was again present – along with brand ambassador Robert Caldwell – to regale us with tales of those 5 years. From a dream to reality, a building site to a fully functioning whiskey distillery and from brewing beer in Oregon to distilling whiskey in Dublin.
To date most of the Teeling bottles on the shelves are sourced product – and very good they are too!
Alex is responsible for maturing that stock, choosing the casks, finishing, blending and releasing a wide variety of styles & flavours.
Now before me are 5 differing samples drawn from casks distilled at Teeling’s Distillery in Dublin itself.
This is the dawning of a new age in Irish Whiskey.
So what does it taste like?
A trio of Single Pot Stills started the show. All triple distilled using a 50/50 malted/unmalted mashbill presented at 46%, non chill filtered & natural colour.
SPS Bourbon Cask
The combination of rich vanillas, bourbon sweetness with a joyful youthfulness followed by an attractive prickly spice just won me over.
SPS Virgin Cask
A more tannic, sawdusty element with a sharper spice came through. Still enjoyable – if less balanced.
SPS Sherry Cask
Milder, mellower & more subtle & sweeter than the other 2. Not my favourite.
The 3 casks demonstrate the influence wood has on the whiskey. They also show the building blocks Alex uses to blend together to achieve a relatively consistent product for the Single Pot Still release which can iron out any excesses within the individual components.
A wonderful insight into the world of the blender.
Next came a duo of single malts – Crystal & Peated – which demonstrate the role raw ingredients play in developing flavour.
Crystal Single Malt
Crystal malt is commonly used in craft beer circles to boost flavour, depth & colour. A throwback to Alex’s brewing days.
Crystal malt has been roasted for longer – allowing richer, darker flavours to come through.
I found a farmhousey saison type of nose, rich vanilla on the palate with a gorgeous spice on the finish.
Peated Single Malt
Well anything with peat in it is a winner for me – and Teeling’s didn’t disappoint!
Very well balanced from start to finish.
A sheer delight!
A wonderful way to celebrate Teeling’s 5th Anniversary with such delicious whiskeys.
Having followed their growth along every step of the way it reassures me no end – the quality & diversity of whiskey being produced at Newmarket is a joy to experience.
Hats off to Teeling Whiskey – and all the team involved – Happy 5th Anniversary!