Tag Archives: Bourbon

Jim Beam, Black XA, 43% v’s Signature Craft 12, 43%.

I used to fly.

Probably won’t be doing it for a while now.

One enjoyable pastime at the airport was sampling whiskey.

JFK had a pair of Beams not previously encountered.

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2 Beams c/othewhiskeynut

The Black Extra Aged sported an attractive enough bottle.

‘Black’ is often used in whiskey circles to denote a more refined, aged or even mysterious elixir.

I was happy to explore.

It came across quite soft & sweet – but with an appreciatively appealing bite too.

Not bad!

The Signature Craft 12 Year Old displayed a more rounded & smoother feel – lacking the youthful exuberance of it’s stablemate.

Black won out.

Sláinte

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Blind Sample Tasting

Blind tasting.

You – the whiskey – your palate.

No transparency – no openness – no labels.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Ready? c/othewhiskeynut

Laid out before me were 7 whiskeys – 7 identical glasses – & some water to cleanse the palate between each sample.

Oh! They weren’t completely blind.

They were from a list I’d selected from a fellow whiskey fan as part of an exchange and it included;

1792 Single Barrel,   Ballantine’s 17,   Chita Single Grain,   Dingle 4 Single Malt,   Evan William’s Bottled In Bond,   Hellyers Road Roaring Forty,   Jack Daniel’s Bottled In Bond,   Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel 100,   Kilkerran 12,   Miltonduff 9,   Naked Grouse,   North Star Campbeltown 4,   Stagg Jr,   & a Surprise.

A Immediately impressed me. Strong spirit, good clean flavours, rich in the mouth. Nice.

B Wasn’t as enjoyable.

C A bourbon – but with a welcome spice.

D Nice easy drinker.

E Another bourbon – strong, opened up on the finish.

F Didn’t enamour me.

G Very intriguing.

I initially went through them trying to match my experiences to the expressions above. It was really guesswork – as I hadn’t encountered them before this session.

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Score sheet c/othewhiskeynut

On a second round – I scored them.

Then the reveal!

A North Star                              80                B Hellyers Rd     72

C 1792 SB                                    77                D Dingle 4           73

E Stagg Jr                                   79                 F Kilkerran 12   70

G Glenglassaugh Evolution  78

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North Star c/o@bogstandarddram

Congratulations to North Star Campbeltown 4 Year Old Blended Malt!

An independent bottle from undisclosed distilleries presented non chill filtered & with natural colour at a hefty 57% ABV.

Obviously my kinda whiskey!

There’s a clear division between the top 4 – bigger, badder, bolder – and the bottom 3 – softer, subtler, smoother.

My only surprise was the poor showing of Kilkerran 12 – normally a distillery I enjoy.

But then that’s the whole point of blind tasting.

To try and eradicate – as far as possible – any bias you may hold,

and let your palate  decide.

Sláinte

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Dawn Of The Red, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Rye, 9.4%

Did I ever mention I liked a rye?

Well it’s making a welcome appearance in the beer world too.

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Packs a punch! c/othewhiskeynut

Wicklow Wolf‘s Dawn Of The Red is one example.

The rye element is more fruity – wholesome in a saison type way – with a kind of biscuity malt note to it in a beer – in contrast to the dry peppery spice I expect in a whiskey.

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Exceptional indeed! c/othewhiskeynut

Wicklow Wolf’s  Imperial Rye is surprisingly refreshing & light in comparison to the heavier stout style normally associated with barrel aged beers.

There’s still those sweet treacly undertones – just to remind you this is a high strength ale – but with a top layer of dark fruitiness.

It went down very well with me!

Sláinte

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Dingle Single Malt Batch 4 & Dingle Distillery Reserve, 46.5%

Attending the Irish Whiskey Awards 2019 has it’s attractions.

Like having a tour round the fabulous – and extremely shiny – copper pot stills of Dingle Distillery itself.

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Gleaming! c/othewhiskeynut

As well as tasting the latest Batch 4 release – along with a special Distillery Reserve.

Apart from the spartan label – I had limited time to ask questions. It is fully matured in port casks was all I could glean. Perhaps it’s a component of Batch 4?

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Distillery Reserve c/othewhiskeynut

The rich dark fruity nose was a delight.

Very gentle on the palate to begin with. It took a while for the wonderful port influence to make it’s presence known – but when it did – very rewarding.

Not overly complex, it’s youth hadn’t developed hidden depths. A simple yet satisfying single malt.

Batch 4 by comparison was more rounded – even cultured – with greater depth courtesy of the triple barrel ageing  – bourbon, port & sherry.

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Batch 4 at Dingle c/othewhiskeynut

The nose was gentle & light – yet the palate opened up right from the start.

Sweet warming vanilla & caramel from the ex-bourbon casks mingled with darker fruits from the port interwoven with a gentle drying spice from the sherry.

There was a lot going on and plenty to pull out from this one.

Both were highly enjoyable single malts displaying differing flavours & influences from the woods matured in.

It also demonstrated – to me at least – the art of blending different individual single malt components together to build a more layered & complex whole.

A big thank you to Dingle Distillery for the warm hospitality & conviviality displayed throughout the evenings awards.

Sláinte

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Eden Mill, Oak Aged Beer, Whisky Barrel, 6.7%

On my last visit to Eden Mill – which is a combined Brewery & Distillery operation on the banks of the Eden River in Guardbridge, Scotland – the opener for the distillery tour was a bottle of their fine Whisky Barrel Aged Beer.

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Whisky Barrel Aged Beer c/othewhiskeynut

It certainly loosened up the tongues of the mixed bag of visitors on the day – and was a novel way to introduce the rich variety of drinks including beers, gins & whiskies made at the facility.

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Art Of The Blend series c/othewhiskeynut

Bottled at 6.7% the dark beer delivered a gentle aroma of malt. The carbonation wasn’t too strong – more in the style of a traditional Scottish Heavy Ale – with a great outpouring of flavour comprising of caramel, burnt molasses, a hint of dark chocolate & coffee too.

There is also a limited edition Bourbon Barrel offering – slightly sweeter & heavier if possible – with a younger 68 day age statement as opposed to the 93 of the Whisky Barrel Beer.

Whatever your poison – Eden Mill have a drink to satisfy.

These Oak Aged Beers satisfied me.

Sláinte

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Kilbeggan Single Grains, 40% & 43%

Continuing my exploration of the constant development of whiskey brands are a pair of Kilbeggan Single Grains.

Now Kilbeggan Single Grain didn’t start out with that name. It first appeared – at least in my world – as Greenore Single Grain.

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My Greenore is all gone! c/othewhiskeynut

Greenore is a port on the Carlingford Peninsular in County Louth not far from the Cooley Distillery where these spirits are distilled. The original name far more accurately represented the geographical source of the whiskey.

Greenore Single Grain came in a range of age statements. All with the same bottle design as the relabeled Kilbeggan Single Grain miniature before me. The new name brought in a commonality across the range reflecting the showcase distillery at Kilbeggan itself.

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Kilbeggan on a wet day c/othewhiskeynut

It also tasted exactly the same – if my memory serves me right.

Matured exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels the 8 year old single grain has a light nose – as expected – but a welcome amount of flavour on the palate. Soft vanillas & caramel dominate with a teasing soft spice to round off this very easy drinking offering.

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Single Grain stand off! c/othewhiskeynut

The latest incarnation sports a freshly redesigned label, a new bottle design, a boosted 43% ABV and a bit of a recipe change too!

The nose is richer!

Which reflects both the extra strength along with some sherry finishing too.

I must admit to enjoying this new offering – even if the age statement has been dropped.

It’s still quite a light whiskey – yet the sherry casks add a degree of depth & flavour to the experience without losing the core character of the single grain. The sweet vanillas & caramel have been augmented by fruity elements giving a more rounded & complex feel.

Single grains are often overlooked – which is a pity.

These are both very enjoyable easy going exemplars of this style of whiskey.

Always a pleasure to encounter them.

Sláinte

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Writers’ Tears Double Oak, Blend, 46%

I won this lovely bottle of whiskey courtesy of the Celtic Whiskey Club and Walsh Whiskey themselves – very much appreciated.

Celtic Whiskey Club is an open invite whiskey club organised by the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin. You can follow the link to their website.

Whiskey samples are sent out regularly – both Ireland & abroad – to members who are then invited to participate in tweet tastings. Drinking whiskey with others – even at the end of the internet – is far more entertaining.

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Walsh Whiskey double bill in Tuath glasses. c/othewhiskeynut

On this particular occasion – a double bill Writers’ Tears release from Walsh Whiskey – 2 participants won a bottle each. I happily obtained the Double Oak – my preferred choice.

So how was it?

A gorgeously warm ‘Bear Hug’ of a whiskey with dark sweet cherry notes contrasting with gentle prickly oaky spiceiness. Cue video!

Double Oak is a blend of single pot still & single malt whiskeys finished in a combination of ex bourbon & ex cognac casks to give it that deep dark sweet character with plenty of warmth & added spice.

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Double Oak back label c/othewhiskeynut

Along with other Writers’ Tears releases Double Oak is presented at 46% with non chill filtering allowing the full flavours to shine.

Another fabulously tasty release from Walsh Whiskey.

Sláinte

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Egan’s Centenary Irish Whiskey, Blend, 46%

It’s not very often you get to attend the launch of a whiskey in the Council Chambers of a local Town Hall.

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Egan’s Whiskey in the Chambers c/othewhiskeynut

But then this is no ordinary whiskey.

It’s a whiskey steeped with history, heritage & family.

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The man, the whiskey, the heritage. c/othewhiskeynut

A whiskey commemorating the 100th anniversary of the passing of Henry Egan.

Descendants of Henry gathered together outside his former house – now Tullamore Town Hall – not only to remember him – but also to revive the family tradition – Irish Whiskey.

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An Egan family get together. c/othewhiskeynut

The well respected Midland’s business of P&H Egan loomed large in Tullamore from the 1850’s right up to the 1960’s. Alongside whiskey blending, many other businesses were engaged in by generations of the family. A walk round the town showed the extent of the family’s influence with the current Bridge House Hotel being originally built as the main shop & head office for the Egan’s operations.

Offaly History do a blog detailing much information on the Egan family history in Tullamore here.

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Precious cargo! c/othewhiskeynut

During the walk a bottle of Egan’s Whiskey was given to the owners of barge 42B. The very same barge P&H Egan’s had owned back in the day to transport goods to and from Dublin via the Grand Canal – the motorway of it’s day.

The highlight of the proceedings was undoubtedly the unveiling of Egan’s Centenary Irish Whiskey in the Brewery Tap Bar – also previously owned by P&H Egan’s as a brewery for their Ales.

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Whiskey tasting ahead! c/othewhiskeynut

The complete collection of Egan’s Whiskeys were laid out for an eager gathering of family & friends at the bar.

To start off the tasting, Egan’s Vintage Grain.

A gorgeously warm single grain presented at 46% & non chill filtered – as all Egan’s Whiskeys are – full of vanillas & caramel from the ex-bourbon cask maturation.

Egan’s Fortitude Single Malt.

Fully matured in PX Sherry casks this non age statement – NAS – offering didn’t excite my palate as much. There were more dark fruits present – and a lovely soft spicy dryness at the end – but it just missed the mark for me.

Egan’s 10 Year Old Single Malt.

Everyone at my table enjoyed this one!

Boasting a 47% ABV this single malt was easy on the palate yet bursting with fruity juiciness & gentle spices at the end.

Egan’s 15 Year Old Legacy Reserve.

A rare treat to encounter this lovely rich whiskey again. I particularly enjoyed the depth of character with dry oaky tannins, leathery & tobacco notes from the long maturation. It didn’t suit everyone though – as I found out by chatting to my fellow imbibers. A few of them happened to be Egan descendants themselves! Although not involved with the whiskey venturing Egan’s of the present day.

And then the glorious finale!

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Egan’s First Lady of Whiskey presenting Egan’s Centenary Irish Whiskey. c/othewhiskeynut

Egan’s Centenary Irish Whiskey – poured individually out of the first bottle ever to be opened by the Intrepid Spirits founder himself – with the elegantly displayed packaging showcased by the Egan’s First Lady of Whiskey too!

The nose was initially softer, cleaner almost – before the gentle subtleness of dark fruits opened up.

The taste was attractively warming. A smooth velvety mouthfeel with dark cherry fruitiness from the ex-cognac casks used to finish this blend.

A flourish of spice rounded off this fabulous whiskey.

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Gorgeous bottle, gorgeous whiskey. c/othewhiskeynut

A fitting whiskey to commemorate one of the founding Egan family members who built a successful business empire in the past.

A fitting whiskey to be enjoyed in the present.

And a fitting whiskey to toast future generations of Egan’s a long & prosperous involvement in the spirits trade.

Sláinte

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12 Point Rogue Buck Whiskey, Single Malt,40%

The name has an American ring to it.

The taste certainly reminds me of an American bourbon.

The couple behind the whiskey are American.

Yet this is an Irish Whiskey that happened to be the first I encountered at the excellent Whiskey Live Dublin 2018 show.

‘Is there any buckwheat in the mix?’ was my opener at the stall.

‘No’ was the reply – followed by an enthusiastic & open explanation of how this whiskey came about.

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Irish Whitetail Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

It’s a 10 year old sourced Irish Single Malt Whiskey that new entrants Irish Whitetail Distillery have finished in an unusually innovative & probably controversial manner.

Rather than put the malt into wood – they have put the wood into the malt!

Chunks of heavily charred African mahogany effectively free float in a vat of single malt for a period of time.

The results definitely pleased my palate!

The soft smooth barley entry was accentuated with rich warming vanilla & caramel notes reminiscent of a good bourbon. A heavier, darker element of cherry – along with a mildly drying spice rounded up the experience.

Very nice.

Will it catch on?

I don’t know.

I wish Irish Whitetail Distillery future success with their great tasting venture – but await discord.

Slàinte

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Bushmills Steamship Bourbon Cask, Single Malt, 40%

It’s always a pleasure to fly away somewhere.

Especially when Dublin is the departing airport with it’s marvelous display of Irish Whiskey – and other countries whiskies too.

A bonus is to try out some of the latest new releases and travel retail exclusives.

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Bushmills Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

By good fortune Bushmills were showcasing their Steamship Collection – including the latest and what seems to be the last bottling of the trilogy.

Named after the SS Bushmills steamhip which supplied the thirsty American market back in the late 1800’s – the trio are all triple distilled single malts presented at 40%.

The first Sherry Cask release didn’t seem to be well received at the time. I felt it lacked a flavour punch myself – but was otherwise a decent sherry bomb style of whiskey and despite initial criticism – seems to be selling well.

The Port Cask release was much more suited to my tastes. Rich sweet dark cherry notes. Nice!

I would have predicted the Port Cask to be my favourite – but then I tried the Bourbon Cask.

The enticingly fruity warm vanilla & caramel notes associated with re-charred casks instantly won me over. There was added depth & flavour to this expression. A lovely warm glow enveloped my palate.

The results of re-charring the casks may not be to everyone’s tastes – but the boosted notes certainly work on me.

Were Bushmills saving the best till last?

Yummy.

Sláinte.

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