Tag Archives: Celtic Whiskey Shop

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.

Galway Irish Whiskey, 40%

A range of miniature Irish Whiskey labelled up in Irish County colours make for an entertaining gift.

I picked mine up at the Celtic Whiskey Shop.

Galway is pale straw in colour.

Has a soft honeyed aroma.

Smooth & mellow in the mouth.

With an engaging hint of spice on the finish.

No mention regards source – but reminds me of the best blended Cooley used to offer.

An easy drinking Irish Whskey.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

An Fear Grinn, Móinteach, Single Malt, 46%

Having moved house during the pandemic this generous sample from the good people at An Fear Grinn almost went missing.

Móinteach time! c/othewhiskeynut

Luckily the new owners of my old abode kindly informed me of the package & it duly graced my happy hands.

What a delight it proved to be!

Móinteach – roughly translates as peaty – exhibited those lovely rich smokey aromas I adore.

Clean & clear – yet not overpowering.

The palate was milder & sweeter than nosing suggested.

Móinteach came alive on the finish for me.

A gorgeous drying out, tingling sensation – reminding me of the warm glow from the fading embers of a hearty fire wrapping me in it’s comforting embrace.

c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Móinteach – my kinda whiskey!

Jose Cuervo Tequila Tasting, 38% x 6

Global drinks group Jose Cuervo’s Tequilas regularly top the best selling charts.

In Ireland they aren’t doing too badly either with Bushmills coming in at No 3 for the Irish Whiskey category.

The recent hot weather prompted me to sample some Jose Cuervo Tequila.

One positive from the pandemic is a profusion of outlets offering tasting packs to whet your appetite.

c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

This particular 6 bottle selection was ordered from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder – although other providers exist.

A zoom tasting accompanied it – I missed the date – but it didn’t deter me from enjoying the tequila!

Comprising of 3 separate ranges – all 100% blue agave & 38% ABV – I chose initially to compare within each brand starting with the Tradicional offerings.

Tradicional Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Traditional Silver

That classic earthy agave pungency greeted me with a hint of peppery spice.

Smooth & silky palate topped off with a hearty serving of signature black pepper spice on the finish.

Just what I expect from a tequila.

Traditional Reposado

The agave pungency was tempered a touch by hints of barrel ageing.

More complexity on the palate as the interplay between the raw ingredients used & wood maturation played out & added a hint of oakiness to the finish.

Very enjoyable – although the clear simplicity of the Silver won me over.

A trio of brand 1800 came next.

1800 Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

1800 Silver

Back – for me at least – to the signature agave & spice combination.

Lovely.

1800 Reposado

Once again – a lovely interplay between the distilling ingredients & wooden maturation.

1800 Anejo

I was beginning to miss the agave influence with this one!

It was there – but the barrel ageing dominated for me & detracted from what I’m looking for in tequila.

All 1800’s were enjoyable tipples – with Silver gaining my affections most.

Reserva Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Reserva de la Familia Extra Anejo

A solo offering that stood out from the others with a noticeably darker colour & clearly perceptible & pronounced wooden cask influence.

The sweet agave came through on the nose – but caramels & hints of vanilla more reminiscent of whiskey were evident.

Very smooth, very cultured & very engaging – tequila for the whiskey lover?

For a 2nd round I compared the Silver & Reposado offerings.

Silver Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Silver

Traditional’s flavour profile shone through with it’s defining features.

1800 delivered similar – but I found it a smoother, sweeter & ultimately a less exuberant offering.

Traditional for me!

Reposado Tequila c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Reposado

Tradicional was a shade lighter than 1800 – which suggests a shorter period in wood.

This played out in the tasting.

1800 had less spice, a sweeter & subdued feel to it with the wood influence a tad more forward.

The differences weren’t massive – & would be hard to pick up unless a back to back comparison was possible – but once more – Tradicional won the day.

Overall

As in all these tastings – I like to choose my favourite.

For the sheer clarity of flavours & bold display of the agave used in distillation there could only be one winner for me – Tradicional Silver.

Tradicional Silver c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

What would you have picked?

Sláinte

.

Del Maguey Mezcal Tasting, 42% to 49%.

Mezcal – the artisanal spirit from Mexico that’s attracting attention right now.

Already a convert – mainly due to the smokey element – I eagerly signed up for the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder Zoom Tasting with Del Maguey Mezcal.

The 1st offering – Vida Mezcal, 42% – immediately satisfied. A seductive smokiness combined with those rich earthy agave notes reeled me in!

Gorgeous!

Chichicapa Mezcal, 46%, dialed down the smoke a touch & ramped up the pungent agave along with a prickly dryness on the finish from the higher ABV.

Unlike the whiskey world – which for some is all about the wood to bring about complexity & flavour – Mezcal is all about the raw ingredients & production methods used to deliver a fully flavoured spirit with depth & complexity straight from the still.

Tobala Mezcal, 45%, shone in this department. Using a roast time of 30 days accentuated the rich smokiness. A long fermentation of up to a week brought out some cheesy funky notes & using the A. potatorum agave species added pungent earthy overtones.

Certainly the Mezcal that enamoured me the most!

Pichuga Mezcal, 49%, rounded the evening off.

Compared to the others there was less smoke evident – but those engaging earthy agave aromas entertained me no end.

The Del Maguey website is packed full of information on these single village mezcals.

If you haven’t ventured into Mezcal yet – you won’t go far wrong enjoying any of the above.

A quintessential Mezcal quartet!

Sláinte

Bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Bristol Spirits, Rare Old Rum Virtual Tasting, Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

If there’s one thing this fabulous rum tasting confirmed to me – it’s the kind of rum I’m after.

Laid out before us were 5 excellent rums from independent bottlers Bristol Spirits,

Haiti Rum c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Bristol Haiti 2004, 43%,

Nicaragua Rum c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Bristol Nicaragua 1999, 43%,

Guyana Rum c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Bristol Diamond Distillery, Guyana 2003, 43%,

Heytesbury Rum c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Heytesbury Demerara, 46% &

Trinidad Rum c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Bristol Caroni VSOC, 10 Year Old, 40%.

Bristol’s managing director John Barrett eloquently led us through the tasting regaling us with tales of his years in the rum trade.

Such a congenial host!

But something struck me during the event – it was an exploration of wood maturation!

The length of time spent in the barrel, the type of wood used & even where the casks are stored all make a difference – and the results before us could be enjoyably discerned.

But my attraction to rum is more about the influence of distillation on the ingredients used – sugarcane juice or molasses.

So my pick of the day was Haiti 2004.

To begin with it uses sugarcane juice – which offers a far more pungent & vegetal experience.

It’s also been aged in well used ex- bourbon casks – so the wood influence was minimal.

Essentially what I’m after in a rum is something different to whiskey & the Haiti 2004 provided that.

Barley may need years in wood to shine, but sugarcane positively sparkles in it’s unaged form.

I think tonight’s tasting just confirmed that for me.

Sláinte

All bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop – where the rums are available.

Kurayoshi Whisky Tasting

Japanese Whisky gets a bad rap for it’s perceived lack of rules – yet that doesn’t seem to deter growing sales & increasing appeal.

My personal problem with Japanese Whisky tends to be lack of availability – and when it is – the price tag.

So when the Celtic Whiskey Shop in association with European Distributors BBC Spirits offered a Zoom whisky tasting – I was in like Flynn!

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.

Sherry Cask c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

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.

8yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

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!

12yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

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.

18yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

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 Mizunara c/oDekanta

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.

I’d highly recommend joining in.

Sláinte

Currach, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 46%

Unprecedented times.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all Irish Pubs are closed for St Patrick’s Day!

leo
COVID-19 closures c/otwitter

That didn’t stop a gathering of Irish Whiskey Fans over on the #SundayNightSup twitter site from gathering online to partake of the world’s first seaweed charred whiskey!

2 (1 of 1)
Irish Whiskey – with a flourish of seaweed! c/othewhiskeynut

Yes – you heard that right – seaweed!

Irish Atlantic Kombu Kelp is a natural resource harvested, dried & then used to char virgin oak casks at the West Cork Distillers premises. Their triple distilled single malt is then finished in these casks for three months.

The results are simply fantastic!

The nose had an intriguing earthy, almost savoury appeal.

The palate started off soft & malty smooth – very approachable – as those meaty umami flavours grew to coat the mouth in a creamy silkiness.

A drying white peppery spice added a final flourish to this fabulously engaging whiskey.

2 (1 of 1)-2
A lovely pour! c/othewhiskeynut

Congratulations to all the team at both West Cork Distillers and Origin Spirits for putting this highly innovative Irish Whiskey together.

Sláinte

Good Logo

Currach Single Malt Irish Whiskey is available online from Celtic Whiskey Shop & IrishMalts.

The sample was kindly supplied by Origin Spirits.

All views – as always – are entirely mine.

 

21C Whiskey, 2nd Edition, Blend, 54.3%

Irish Whiskey continues to grow.

There are now 16 working distilleries that have matured stocks of spirit old enough to be called whiskey.

All of them contributed to create this special limited edition 21C blend unveiled at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019.

Luckily I managed a taster.

A fabulously rich & complex nose. Full bodied on the palate. A long lasting satisfying finish.

2 (1 of 1)-3
21C Whiskey 1st Edition contributors. c/othewhiskeynut

From my recollections of 21C 1st Edition – blog here – this was a vast improvement. Perhaps reflecting the growing maturity of Irish Whiskey in general – a better blend of ingredients – older stocks added – or a combination of all factors.

Whatever – it made a great whiskey.

The new additional distilleries to have matured whiskey are below – taken in left to right, top to bottom order as printed on the back label.

2 (1 of 1) (2)
21C Whiskey 2nd Edition contributors. c/othewhiskeynut

Shortcross Distillery have yet to release their 1st whiskey – a single pot still by all accounts – but have built up a strong following with their Shortcross Gins.

Connacht Distillery are also waiting for their own whiskey to age further before release. In the meantime they have some tasty & innovative sourced whiskey under the Spade & Bushel, Ballyhoo & Brothership labels.

Waterford Distillery are following the above 2 in waiting for their own stock to age before committing to market. Unlike the others – they have not sourced any whiskey prior to that release.

Royal Oak Distillery in County Carlow have not released their own whiskey. Previously called Walsh Distillery – a split with the 2 companies involved means Irishman & Writer’s Tears will remain as sourced brands.

In addition to last years 21C – some distilleries have recently entered the market with their own stock.

Shed Distillery’s wonderful Inaugural Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Whiskey is now in the shops.

2 (1 of 1)-3
105 Years waiting! c/othewhiskeynut

Tullamore Distillery’s malt is now being used as a component in their blended Tullamore DEW range.

A big congratulations to all those who contributed to this fantastic 21C Whiskey. Much credit to Celtic Whiskey Shop for bringing this fabulous project to fruition.

Already looking forward to the next installment of Irish Whiskey to mature in the coming year!

Sláinte

Good Logo