Tag Archives: Celtic Whiskey Shop

2 Controversial Whiskey Blends, John L Sullivan, 40% & Celtic Nations, 46%

Both these whiskeys attracted a degree of controversy when originally released.

Most of it centred around the interpretation of ‘rules’ – but I was curious to taste the results.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey, 40%

Named after a famous Irish/American boxer of the late 1800’s – which attracted initial upset – an original bottling of John L Sullivan displayed the legend ‘Irish Bourbon’.

Image courtesy Whiskey Jug

Attempting to celebrate the Irish/American heritage with a blend of Irish & Bourbon whiskeys fell foul of labelling laws & the bottle was withdrawn.

Before me is a sample from a bottle labelled John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey – aged in bourbon casks.

Pale straw in colour, shy nose, not giving much away, smooth easy palate, gentle growing warmth with a hug of sweet vanilla & caramel, flourish of mild spice on the rear.

An easy going entry level offering.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Celtic Nations, 46%

A collaboration between the Irish Teeling Whiskey Co & Scotch Bruichladdich Distillery to create a harmonious blend of single malts to celebrate the 2 nations spirits.

Didn’t meet the approval of the SWA & was banned.

Pale straw colour, gorgeous expressive nose of gentle peat coming through, the palate displays more soft Irish notes before the embers of a peat fire warms up the finish.

An entertaining soft peater.

Thoughts

Both of these whiskeys had great potential.

The pugilist inspired John L Sullivan pre-dated the global success of Proper Twelve & there’s been subsequent Irish/American Whiskey/Bourbon collaborations on the market since.

Cross nation blends have been a staple earning for both Scotch & Irish distilleries over the years – mainly for the lower end of the market. Perhaps this high profile open & transparent offering was just too much for the SWA?

Whatever the reasons – controversy is not a tasting note I encountered in either of these blends.

Sláinte

A Rum Blind Tasting – 2 Killowens & a Copeland on reveal.

Well – I assumed they were rums!

Having previously arranged sample swaps from a number of sources – by the time of arrival I’ve often forgotten what’s been chosen from whom – rather than look up past correspondence I simply pour, taste & enjoy.

This frees me from any undue bias towards particular brands or styles.

Nor do I sit with them for long.

The samples are poured – 3 in this instance – viewed to compare colour – no noticeable difference here – sniffed, swallowed & immediate tasting notes scribbled.

A few minutes later Sample C was the clear winner.

Notes in italics were written before the reveal.

Copeland Bordeaux Grand Cru Rum, 42% – Sample C

Image courtesy Master Of Malt

Super bad, super funky! Rich & smooth tasting treacly palate. Gorgeous funky finish. Bit of prickly spice.

Nice one!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Peated Dark Rum, 58.1% – Sample B

More depth & more funk – than Sample A. I tasted A to C – Smooth delivery, nice mouthfeel. Opens up on rear, prickly finish. Good depth of flavours.

Enjoyable!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Dark Rum, 55% – Sample A

Nice nose, soft, sweet, rum like, slight funk. Bit sharp. Bite on finish, prickly spice. High strength?

Bit of an experience!

Thoughts

Well that was an enjoyable tasting – 3 lovely rums with a clear winner!

The smooth delivery, rich flavours & gorgeous funkiness of Copeland’s Grand Cru instantly won me over.

The 2 Killowen’s funk just didn’t shine in comparison & sadly – I have to admit – the high strength of Dark Rum was a bigger defining feature than the subtle flavours within.

Their Peated Dark Rum however – despite being stronger at 58.1% – did excite & while I didn’t detect the peat presence it clearly influenced my choice. Nor did the high ABV deter.

Where would your palate have taken you?

Donaghadee is where I’m going to replenish my rums!

Grace O’Malley Rum Cask, 42%, Blend

Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey burst onto the scene a few years ago with their bold imagery re-energising & modernising the Pirate Queen the whiskey is named after.

Being blenders, bonders & independent bottlers, Grace O’Malley can stock barrels from any number of Irish Whiskey Distilleries & use them to create their own unique style.

I still have remnants of their Dark Char & Rum Cask – which you can read about here – but it’s the newly released Rum Cask I’m focusing on today.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

First thing I notice is the pale colour – reassuring perhaps of no added colour?

A rich dark sweetness on the aroma – rum wine gums anyone?

Smooth, sweet & deliciously mouth coating on the palate.

A gorgeous growing frisson of warm spice – getting nutmeg & cinnamon – on the finish with just a hint of funky depth to top things off.

An engaging little number from the Grace O’Malley fleet.

Sláinte

Uisce Beatha Irish Whiskey & Celtic FC Irish Whiskey, 40%

Continuing my exploration of recent Irish Whiskey offerings that may have slipped into history are these 2 blends.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Uisce Beatha Real Irish Whiskey, 40%

Released by ROKDrinks – a large multinational company with a varied range of branded products.

Pale in colour – which I always find reassuring. Quite light & gentle nose. Surprisingly rich depth on the palate of sweet vanilla. Lovely warmth to this one with a pleasant prickly frisson on the finish.

Very engaging.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Celtic FC Irish Whiskey, 40%

Celtic Football Club have released a number of whiskeys over the years for their fans to enjoy.

Pale golden brown. A very gentle nose that grudgingly gives up soft aromas of sweet vanilla. Mild palate that sits easily in the mouth slowly warming to a fruity sweet finish.

Grand

Thoughts

Both of these blends offer easy accessible drinking. There’s no jagged edges or bold off-putting flavours to deter. For my tastes Uisce Beatha does it with more flair & would score the goals in this round.

Sláinte

Paddy’s Share Irish Whiskey, Blend, 47%

Being a judge in the blind whiskey tastings for the Irish Whiskey Awards 2021 did reveal a few surprises.

One of them was an entrant named Paddy’s Share in the Blended Limited Release category.

Photo Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

I gave it an above average score with brief tasting notes of

very soft smoke, soft palate, drying finish, pale colour’.

Searching the internet failed to uncover what Paddy’s Share was – until now!

Sazerac -Paddy brand owners – have just unveiled Paddy’s Share to the public.

A sherry finished triple distilled blend presented at 47% offering bold & nutty flavours.

Blind Whiskey Judging courtesy Whiskey Nut

Paddy’s Share is a welcome addition to the long established brand & one that stood out for me in the blind tasting.

Looking forward to enjoying more of Paddy’s Share!

Sláinte

Nardini Grappa Bianca, 50%

I do love exploring other spirit categories.

They give variety, a different suite of flavours & a contrast to the whiskey I normally consume.

With whiskey – it’s all about the wood – to borrow a popular tagline.

With the trio of clear spirits represented by rum, tequila & grappa it’s more about the interplay of the raw ingredients & distillation process used to bring about a richness of taste in the unaged spirit.

Courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop

Clear spirit does not mean silent spirit – as this lovely Nardini Grappa Bianca demonstrates.

Nardini are one of the oldest & largest grappa distilleries in Italy where the leftovers from wine production – pomace – is distilled in a combination of copper stills to produce this rich & pungent spirit.

An earthy sweetness greeted me on the nose.

Smooth, oily mouthfeel with a rich, almost agricultural style of flavour going on.

Slight prickly spice on the rear.

I didn’t guess this was presented at 50%.

Yeah – Grappa grabs me!

Nice one Nardini.

Salute

Casamigos Reposado Tequila, 40%

Bumping into George Clooney in Dungarvan was a bit of a novelty – well – his tequila at least.

Casamigos courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop

The tequila market in Ireland is dominated by a few global players with links to Irish Whiskey Distilleries.

Jose Cuervo is part of Proximo who do Bushmills & Olmeca is owned by Pernod-Ricard who do Jameson.

El Jimador – part of Brown-Forman who do Slane Whiskey – also get a look in & more rarely 1800 – also Proximo – & Don Julio – part of Diageo linked with Roe & Co – appear.

Casamigos is therefore a newcomer to the scene.

George Clooney courtesy BBC website

Originally founded in 2013 by George Clooney & friends, the brand benefitted hugely from his celebrity status attracting a lot of interest. Diageo bought the brand in 2017 and are capitalising on that celebrity link by promoting Casamigos worldwide.

The Old Bank courtesy Facebook

The Old Bank in Dungarvan have an extensive array of spirits on offer – Casamigos quickly stood out for me.

Reposado – rested in American Oak for 7 months – was my choice for this 100% Blue Agave Tequila.

Displaying a dark straw colour in the glass Casamigos Reposado enticed with rich, earthy agave notes & an additional heavy dark sweetness.

Silky smooth on the palate with more of that butterscotch like sweetness.

The signature peppery agave spice shone through on the finish with those butterscotch notes taking me back to childhood days making bowls of Instant Whip Butterscotch flavoured dessert.

Instant Whip courtesy Chronicle Live

Wasn’t expecting that in a tequila!

Good auld George – expanding the tequila scene in Ireland with some gorgeous memory inducing flavours!

Sláinte

A Nikka Whisky Trilogy – All Malt, Blended & Super Old Rare, 40% to 43%

I’m always excited tasting a trio of whisky from the same source to compare & contrast their range.

These Nikka Whisky were purchased from Drams Delivered in Killarney.

Nikka Blended, 40%

No longer listed on the Nikka Whisky website, this blend offered up soft caramel notes with hints of malty depth. A sweet fruity palate with an attractive drying bite on the finish – suggestive of some peat influence.

An attractive easy style of whisky with a touch of character.

Nikka All Malt, 40%

I’ve encountered this unusually packaged & delightful blended malt before – so how will it fare on a 2nd outing?

Hints of old leather on the nose. Soft & smooth palate dries out with a prickly kick on the rear.

Not as fresh as I remembered. Could it be my memory? – Or a fading bottle?

Nikka Super Old Rare, 43%

The bottle design enticed me, but the price – when available – deterred, so this sample is a compromise.

More leathery notes on the nose. Rich & warm palate. Definitely a more pronounced peat hit on the finish with this one!

My favourite!

Thoughts

Without a doubt Super Old Rare won out in this trio.

The freshness of the Blended also impressed – but I was a little deflated by All Malt.

All 3 are well put together & showcase the Japanese blending prowess – even if none of them comply with the latest Japanese Whisky Rules.

But then that’s never been an issue with me – it’s the taste that counts.

I’m happy to keep on drinking Nikka Whisky with this enjoyable trio!

Sláinte

Bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop – Blended & Super.

All other images authors own.

Sheep Dip Islay, Blended Malt, 40%

Sheep Dip’s an old friend of mine.

The tongue-in-cheek name attracted me to this blended malt & was rewarded with an easy going honeyed experience augmented by a rich maltiness.

An Islay version caught my eye – a kind reader generously sent a sample.

The peat smoke was evident – but rather subdued.

More entertaining on the palate. Crisp, sweet & drying.

It’s on the finish that Islay Sheep Dip came alive for me. A gorgeous explosion of smokey goodness danced merrily away to a lip smacking finalé.

Nice!

Another entertaining brand from the Ian MacLeod stable.

Sláinte

Islay bottle image courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop. All others authors own.