Tag Archives: Chill Filtered

Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt, 40%

It’s been well over a year since I first went out to purchase this whisky.

The idea of a budget supermarket branded single malt appealed to me. I had to find out for myself what it tasted like.

Inadvertently I walked into the wrong German supermarket store and came out with Aldi’s Glen Marnoch instead.

Now in this segment of the market you have to accept chill filtering & added caramel. There is no provenance – nor terroir. There isn’t even a Glen Marnoch or Ben Bracken distillery – let alone an actual physical Ben or Glen of the same name to visit. You get what you pay for – entry level single malt.

The Glen Marnoch Islay was fine – a decent hit of peat over a rather hefty dose of  caramel.

I’d actually stopped looking for Ben Bracken.

It’s reach didn’t seem to make it across the Irish Sea – and there were far more entertaining bottles to bring back from the UK.

2 (1 of 1)-3 (3)
Ben Bracken Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

But when it appeared in my local Lidl store in Athlone – I couldn’t really give it a miss. If only to show no favouritism towards either store.

To kick off with there’s that dark ruby mahogany shade of added caramel – but on nosing – a refreshingly clean & clear smack of peat smoke greeted me.

I found it very inviting.

The initial taste was rather soft, watery & almost insipid – but then a big waft of peat just blows in and makes it sort of alright!

My peat baby is coming back to me!

The experience left a softly drying ashiness. Like a warm & cosy seaside fire rolling around on my palate.

I’d rate this higher than Glen Marnoch.

2 (1 of 1)-2 (3)
I get peat! c/othewhiskeynut

The caramel quota isn’t as pronounced – which allows a more powerful & peaty punch to shine through.

There isn’t much else.

It’s rather one dimensional.

But if like me you enjoy a smack of smoke in your glass.

At 25 euro.

I doubt you’d find a more enjoyable peatiness.

Sláinte

Good Logo

Advertisements

White Oak, Akashi, Blend, 40%

Out at a party – en France.

The 1st bottle of whisky had already been enjoyed.

Our host said there was a bottle of Japanese Whisky inside.

The collective clapped their hands and said yeah!

White Oak Akashi was procured & poured.

Oh dear.

2 (1 of 1)-2 (5)
White Oak Akashi c/othewhiskeynut

Entry level caramel infused blend this one – not much in the way of individuality, style or flavour here.

I moved onto some locally made Eaux-de-Vie.

It was far more entertaining!

Sláinte

Good Logo

The Charles House, Blend, 40%

The joy of whisky can come from unexpected and surprising places.

Like France.

When on holiday there I had a clear set of purchasing procedures.

Number 1 on the list were some French made whiskies which I quickly ticked off at the lovely V&B chain of stores on my way out of Toulouse.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Rye Francais c/othewhiskeynut

Roof Rye certainly raised my spirits here!

2nd on the list was any locally based Irish whiskey brands – but there weren’t any – as I found out in my recent blog here.

3rd on the list and last pickings were locally based Scotch brands – there were LOADS of them!

Have you ever wondered why only half of the 130 or so Scottish Whisky Distilleries have visitors centres?

The others are so busy pumping out liquid to 3rd party blenders, bottlers & spirits wholesalers throughout the world to bother with tourists.

2 (1 of 1)-2 (4)
The Charles House Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

Liquid like what I found in The Charles House Blended Scotch Whisky.

Now I must admit most of this market is entry level stuff. It usually means they are blends augmented with added caramel – which I can detect & dislike – as well as being chill filtered. There is no pretence to provenance or terroir – in fact there is very little to go on even on the label.

But I don’t drink whisky based on what the label does or doesn’t say.

2 (1 of 1)-3 (3)
Nothing to see here. c/othewhiskeynut

I drink whisky because I enjoy it.

And I certainly enjoyed Charles House.

Why?

When poured into the glass the colour was relatively light – there was caramel on the nose – but not overpowering – and a lovely burnt note which drew me in.

Soft, smooth & slightly sweet grain on the palate – mellow enough as befits an entry level blend – but what’s this coming through?

My mouth began to dry out leaving a prickly tingling on the tongue with a lovely soft ashiness.

Aha! I detect a bit of peat influence in this.

The peat adds a bit of bite – some lovely smoky flavours – and just raises the tasting experience up a notch or two.

It brought a smile to my face.

Sorry Run – I’d much rather go back to Charles House.

Sláinte.

Good Logo

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, 43%

I got fierce excited at last years Whiskey Live Dublin over the opportunity to sample an Irish rye whiskey that was still maturing in Kilbeggan Distillery.

The bottle was filled straight from the cask at over 60% ABV & presented non chill filtered without added caramel.

DSCF3831 email
When will this stunner be released? c/othewhiskeynut

It was powerful – yet the mashbill of malted & unmalted barley together with a high rye content displayed that wonderful peppery rye spiciness with a smooth & creamy barley influence.

Almost a year on the production bottle has been released in time for Whiskey Live Dublin 2018 – as well as picking up a Gold Medal at the recently held Irish Whiskey Awards.

As a self confessed rye fan I picked up a bottle in the distillery on my return from the highly enjoyable awards evening at Slane Castle.

2 (1 of 1)-4
Small Batch Rye calling card c/othewhiskeynut

Now the bottle design is rather muted & understated. There are some lovely tasting notes on the back label – an unexplained handshake logo on the neck – and a nod to the historical inclusion of rye in Irish whiskey making from times past.

2 (1 of 1)-5
The back label c/othewhiskeynut

I fully welcome the return of rye to the modern Irish whiskey scene.

On the nose it’s very soft, slightly sweet with just a hint of peppery spice that signifies the rye content.

The palate is also very silky & smooth. The barley content dominates the initial experience before that black pepper spiciness – which I love – kicks in to leave a wonderfully drying mouthfeel at the end which slowly fades away.

At 43% & with added caramel – which is found throughout the Kilbeggan range of whiskeys – I couldn’t help feeling some of the spark & vitality of that original cask sample had been lost a little in this more tame offering.

I just had to compare it with the Arbikie Highland Rye released late 2017 in Scotland.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Ireland v Scotland Rye test c/othewhiskeynut

Now this is also a barley/rye mix – but there’s no unmalted barley – and the rye content is higher at 52%. It’s also younger at only 2 years old & has no added caramel or chill filtering. It’s bottled at 46%.

There is more pronounced rye on the nose.

The smoothness & creaminess of the barley belies it’s young age before a joyfully massively drying peppery spice explodes on the palate leaving a fabulously prickly finish.

I’m afraid to say – when it comes to rye – Scotland do it better.

Good Logo

Proper Twelve v Jameson, Irish Whiskey Blends, 40%

biff-comic-expression-vector-text_7ysr6W_thumb

Irish Whiskey is never going to be the same again.

bigstock-bang-13050143

A new player has entered the market to potentially topple the reining champion.

POW co pinterest

Welcome to Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you couldn’t have missed the phenomenom of Mixed Martial Arts star Notorious MMA Conor McGregor & his exploits both on and off the ring.

You may also be aware of his plans to market a whiskey.

Well it’s out – Right Here, Right Now in yer local Tesco.

Now Conor doesn’t do things in halves.

Notorious
thenotoriousmma instagram page

Despite the bluster around ‘his’ distillery – the money is on Bushmills as the main source of this entry level blend.

He is certainly coming in BIG.

He is certainly coming in STRONG and

He is certainly entering into a market previously dominated by Jameson as a serious contender.

What else could I do but rush to Tesco to buy my own bottle & do a back to back taste test?

2 (1 of 1)
Mission statement c/othewhiskeynut

The Bottle. It looks big, it looks chunky, it’s green & is catchy enough. Jameson by comparison looks dated.

Colour. Proper Twelve comes out a slightly darker shade of added caramel. This is standard practice for entry level blends. Proper Twelve does appear to have more viscous legs in the glass however.

Nose. Both show that standard entry level caramel nose. Yet Proper Twelve has a hint of warmth to it – some charred cask influence? – which Jameson lacks.

Taste. Both are soft & smooth – Jameson is softer & smoother – but the little bit of body & warmth Proper Twelve exhibits – along with an enjoyable sprinkling of tingling spice – adds to it’s appeal.

Overall. Jameson is yer archetypal go-to easy drinking approachable blend. Proper Twelve is of similar style – yet for me has added depth, body & a little spice which gives it more character – which is only appropriate given the large than life character behind it.

Named after the Crumlin area of Dublin – D12 – Conor hails from – Proper Twelve has appeal far beyond the narrow confines of the whiskey world.

It opens up the Irish Whiskey segment to a mass audience – and it seriously challenges Jameson’s dominance of that market.

I wholeheartedly welcome that challenge and wish all involved with Proper Twelve future success.

Proper No Twelve Conor McGregor

Sláinte.

Good Logo

 

 

 

Irish Reserve, 4 Year Old, Blend, 40%

You have to hand it to Aldi and their whiskey.

Last Year’s Xmas Special Irish Reserve 26 Year Old set the internet alight with whiskey fans scouring both Ireland and the UK to find a bottle of the gorgeous liquid.

They’ve followed this up with another Irish Reserve bottling – albeit a much more down to earth 4 year old at only €19.

It may not have the kudos of the 26 – but I had to give it a go.

The bottle comes in an attractive green colour topped with a red screw cap. The label is very similar to the 26 year old.

2 (1 of 1)-26
Irish Reserve 4yo in a Tuath glass. c/othewhiskeynut

There is very little information given. It’s an Irish whiskey and it’s 4 years old. That’s all it really needs to say. If you want more information – expect to pay more.

What it doesn’t say is probably more revealing.

It doesn’t say it’s a blend, nor non chill filtered nor if added caramel is used – so presume it’s all three of these. At only €19 – what else are you looking for?

The nose is suitably mellow. A hint of sweet corn initially – that grainy clarity  – before those familiar vanilla & caramel notes from ex-bourbon cask maturation kick in.

The taste is grand. Smooth, sweet, no real bite at only 40%, yet a pleasant mouthfeel & soft notes from the 4 years in wooden barrels.

The finish didn’t last too long – but left a lovely warmth on the palate.

There’s no complexity or depth here.

It is what it is.

2 (1 of 1)-27
The bare minimum. c/othewhiskeynut

An easy drinking straight forward honest to goodness 4 year old bourbon cask matured Irish whiskey.

I’d happily drink this bottle as an everyday sipper – unlike some other single malts from similar shelves.

Good on Aldi and the team behind this whiskey.

It sets the benchmark for what a no frills Irish whiskey should be.

It provides a standard to compare other – usually higher priced – bottles against. To check whether if you know the distillery of origin or not, whether it’s chill filtered or not & whether added caramel is used or not you can taste the difference.

For the money I enjoyed it a lot.

It even made me smile.

Isn’t that what drinking whiskey is all about?

Sláinte.

Good Logo

 

 

Feckin Irish Whiskey, 40%, Blend

It’s Feckin Irish Whiskey.

It’s  a feckin blend.

As such it probably has added feckin caramel & is feckin chill filtered.

2 (1 of 1)-6
St Feckin who? c/othewhiskeynut

But it has a lovely soft & smooth delivery.

It’s a feckin decent blend.

Go order a Feckin Irish Whiskey at your local bar.

I won’t be held feckin responsible for any consequences arising.

Sláinte.

Good Logo