That’s not to say Derry doesn’t have some lovely bars that happen to sell whiskey.
An attractive looking corner bar with decorative windows caught our eyes off the Guidhall Square – so we went in.
A fairly simple open square space adorned with nick-nacks & packed with friendly customers greeted us. I happily spotted a selection of Scottish malts to try & started out with a Talisker Skye.
Being an NAS – non age statement – brother of the 10 Year Old I wondered if it would hold up to the bold peat I’d experienced and enjoyed with the aged expression.
The peat certainly still satisfied – but a soft sweet note at the start tamed down the overall experience which left me preferring the 10 Year Old.
A collection of colourful characters inhabited the bar and we enjoyed the jovial comings & goings as well as the friendly banter that ensued.
I spotted a Laphroaig Lore on the shelf & went for it.
This is another NAS release from a big peat hitter finished in Oloroso casks in this instance.
Again I found the peat hit had been softened by this finish to a more soft & mellow smoke which gave it a more rounded & complex taste than the benchmark Laphroaig 10.
2 – nil to the age statements.
Mentioning there was a Wetherspoon pub near to our hotel we decided to have a last one there for the evening.
Now I frequented many a ‘Spoons’ bar when I lived in London and their dedication to craft beer & ales is certainly well received – but there were only a few whiskeys on offer.
A Jura 10 Origin neatly provided a peated trio for the evening.
Yes there was still peat – but the dominant note of vanilla sweetness let me down.
Big, bad & bold is what I was looking for – but all I got was soft, smooth & sweet.
A bit too much added caramel I think.
A bit like Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle who hails from Derry
Interestingly both Talisker & Laphroaig add caramel too – which would explain the sweet notes I detected. I just don’t understand why they have to do this with single malts. The sweet notes turned me off all 3 expressions.
But when it comes to your age statements versus NAS – Jura came bottom of the list.
The Talisker Skye came out tops – even although I’d prefer the 10 Year Old.
I generally don’t look down on an NAS bottling – but I’m increasingly looking down on added caramel – the proof of the pudding is in the eating however. All 3 of these whiskies tasted overly sweet to me – the Jura decidedly so – which was more of a deciding factor rather than the NAS or age statement issue.
Meanwhile the more variety of styles, tastes, finishes and ages – or not – out there the better in my book.
By trying them all out you begin to appreciate the differences & start to hone down your own particular style.
If you find a whiskey you like – embrace it – regardless of what others say.
We are all individuals with our own taste preferences and idiosyncracies – much like the whiskeys we drink.