Tag Archives: Grain

Irish American Whiskey Trio Taste-Off

I couldn’t say goodbye to my latest selection of Irish Whiskey brands only available in America without a taste challenge.

Emptying what was left of the miniatures – and a pour from the 750 ml US size bottle – the first thing I noticed was the almost identical golden colour from all 3 whiskeys.

All 3 are NAS – non age statement – offerings at 40% ABV.

All 3 are sourced brands from unspecified Irish Distilleries and

All 3 taste remarkably different from each other.

I’ll kick off with Kilbrin.

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The attractive front of Kilbrin c/othewhiskeynut

This one immediately appealed to my palate. Fresh, lively & inviting. A gorgeous spicy kick towards the end endeared this blend to me.

Kavanagh was up next.

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Kavanagh Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

More malty – biscuity even. Hardly surprising as it’s a single malt. A smoother delivery – cultured perhaps – with a gentler spiciness adding some character.

Wolfhound rounded up the trio.

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The Gentle Giant c/othewhiskeynut

Compared to the others, I found the ‘roar’ of the hound a rather dull & muted affair. The honeyed sweetness just didn’t set my palate alight.

Without a doubt my clear winner – and rather surprisingly so – was Kilbrin Irish Whiskey.

It has character & attitude in abundance.

For me it captures the beauty of a good blend.

The balance of both malt & grain whiskeys compliment each other giving complexity to the palate.

Kudos to Kilbrin!

Sláinte

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Kilbrin Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

Mrs Whiskey brought back a selection of Irish Whiskeys from America after a recent trip.

They aren’t available in Ireland – and I was keen to check them out.

Kilbrin is an actual place in Ireland. A parish in County Cork with a GAA club, a school and a church. But no whiskey distillery.

Kilbrin Irish Whiskey is a sourced brand – I’ve no problem with that.

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The attractive front of Kilbrin c/othewhiskeynut

A search of their website here – leads you onto Quality Spirits International here – who specialise in Own Brand and Private Label products.

Quality Spirits International are in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of ‘the largest independent Scotch Whisky Company’ – which to you and me is William Grant & Sons – owners of Tullamore DEW, Glenfiddich, Glen Grant and others.

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Kilbrin back c/othewhiskeynut

What interested me though was how the whiskey tasted.

The nose was caramelly sweet, honeyed & slightly fruity.

This followed through on the palate – which opened up into a decent sweet grainy feel with a lovely prickly spice developing.

The finish was sadly short – but the overall effect was rather appealing.

I quite enjoyed this one.

A pleasant easy going entry level blend with a bit of character & spice towards the end.

Nice one Kilbrin!

Sláinte

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Whiskey 21C, Blend, 54.2%

Whiskey Live Dublin always throws up a surprise or two.

This years was the safely guarded release of Whiskey 21C.

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Whiskey 21C c/othewhiskeynut

This is a unique historical bottling of all the Irish Whiskey Distilleries that currently have stocks of matured whiskey in their possession.

The Celtic Whiskey Shop – not content with being the hard working organisers behind Whiskey Live Dublin – contacted all the distilleries with matured whiskey – asked for a donation of some of that precious liquid – proceeded to blend it – bottle it – sell it at the show on a strictly limited never to be repeated release – all for the Downs Syndrome Ireland charity!

Now that WAS a surprise indeed!

The 12 Irish Whiskey Distilleries who kindly donated to this project are – in the order they appear on the back label;

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The distilleries involved c/othewhiskeynut

Bushmills Distillery – Producers of the Bushmills range + other brands.

Cooley Distillery – Producers of the Tyrconnell, Connemara, Locke’s & Kilbeggan ranges – as well as numerous other brands.

Dingle Distillery – Producers of Dingle Whiskey

Echlinville Distillery – All current releases under the Dunvilles brand are sourced – yet Echlinville are sitting on 5 year old whiskey of their own making which has not yet been deemed ready for it’s public debut.

Great Northern Distillery – Producers of the First Born range debuted at Whiskey Live Dublin.

Kilbeggan Distillery – Producers of Kilbeggan Rye – the 1st Irish Whiskey containing rye for many a year and the 1st whiskey to be wholly produced at Kilbeggan since the micro distillery was commissioned there in 2010.

Pearse Lyons Distillery – Producers of Pearse 5 Year Old Single Malt. Some of the Pearse blends also contain malt made on the stills sited at the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin.

Teeling Whiskey Co – Producers of Teeling Single Pot Still. All other current releases are sourced.

The Shed Distillery – Producers of Gunpowder Gin & Sausage Tree Vodka – yet clearly have whiskey waiting to be released.

Tullamore DEW – All current Tullamore DEW is sourced – yet they are obviously sitting on whiskey which has been produced at the new Tullamore Distillery.

West Cork Distillers – Producers of the Glengarriff range. Some of the WCD range is sourced + they supply other brands too.

Camera Shy Cork Distillery – The only whiskey producer not mentioned is Midleton. Could this be them?

A small sample of Whiskey 21C was also offered to Whiskey Live Dublin attendees!

I found it a young, fresh & fruity blend. Approachable & easy despite it’s 54.2% strength. There was no mention if it was either a blended malt or a malt & grain mix – nor the percentages of the distilleries involved in the project. I was just extremely pleased to get a chance to taste the future of Irish Whiskey!

A big thank you to all the hard work of the team behind Whiskey Live Dublin AND Whiskey 21C.

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A toast to the future of Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

May your glass be ever full!

Sláinte

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Powers 15 Year Old, Garavan’s Single Cask, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, 46%

Garavan’s in Galway is the very epitome of what an Irish Whiskey Bar should be.

Leaving the bustling world outside, it is a haven of calm in a warm friendly bar adorned with a bewildering array of whiskey on wooden shelves behind the bar as well as in glass cabinets around the cozy snug areas.

It entices you in to sit down and slow down.

To take time and browse the extensive whiskey menu looking for a sample of that rare bottling, or perhaps ordering up one of Garavan’s tasting platters to explore the rich depth and variety of whiskey flavours on offer.

Garavan’s even have their own whiskey – Garavan’s Grocers Choice 10 Year Old Single Malt – and a fine whiskey it is too!

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Garavan’s Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

Yet Garavan’s have raised the bar even higher.

In a nod to times past when it was common practice for bars to bottle their own whiskey bought in barrel from the distillery – Garavan’s took themselves down to Midleton Distillery in County Cork and chose a single cask of Powers Single Pot Still Whiskey to be bottled for them as an exclusive Garavan’s Single Cask Release.

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A tasty drop of Powers c/othewhiskeynut

A small gathering of whiskey fans assembled to be part of the unveiling of the Powers 15 Year Old Garavan’s Single Cask Release presented by Ger Garland, Irish Distillers Whiskey Brand Ambassador.

As a way of introduction – we were served a glass of Powers Gold Label.

It’s a blend of spicy single pot still and sweet grain whiskey.

It typifies the more characterful spirit forward, honey sweet yet peppery spiced notes which are usually associated with the Powers range of whiskeys.

It’s a style I enjoy.

The Garavan’s Single Cask Release builds on these elements.

Presented at a higher 46% ABV and being a single pot still there is no grain input. A gentle vanilla & softly burnt toast nose from the exclusively ex-bourbon cask maturation provided the sweet part.

The dry peppery spice came through more clearly & distinctively on the palate with warming notes from the charred cask which slowly faded away leaving a gorgeously dry mouthfeel.

It’s a sensation I enjoy in a whiskey – and one this Powers delivers.

Single cask offerings can vary a great deal.

I’ve tried a few of the Powers Single Cask releases and it always amazes me the differences considering they are all essentially the same distillate. The individual casks used for maturation can produce such a wide variety of results that are normally married together to produce a consistent flavour profile. It’s a treat therefore to sample from one individual cask.

The Garavan’s 15 Year Old Single Cask Release certainly highlights for me the signature sweet & spice Powers mix I find so attractive.

Congratulations to both Garavan’s Bar & Powers Whiskey for coming together to release this bottle.

It’s presented in a very attractive wrap around laser etched box with a representation of the bar itself on the front.

Get it while you can.

Sláinte

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Jameson 18 Year Old, New Label, 40%, Blend

Oh dear!

What can I say?

This whiskey just didn’t wow me.

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The back label c/othewhiskeynut

Despite having hints of warm vanilla & a little bit of woody spice commensurate with it’s age – it lacked the freshness & vitality of some younger malts I’ve been lucky to sample lately.

Now I know it’s a blend.

But I usually find the grain element gives a welcome clarity to the mix.

If anything this whiskey wasn’t clear.

I found the flavours rather muted for it’s age – whilst the spirity kick at the end came over more powerful than it’s 40% strength.

It left me disappointed.

Sláinte.

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Hankey Bannister Original, 40%, Blended Scotch, NAS

After my previous experiences with entry level blends I was a bit apprehensive to approach this one.

But Hankey Bannister is widely available and having passed it by in my local Dunnes stores on numerous occasions my curiosity was eventually piqued – I also found a use for those 5 euro back vouchers!

I got a dose of the Whiskey Shivers before I tasted this one – which happens to be the name of this blogs featured band.

But this entry level blend wasn’t as bad as expected.

The nose is a bit corny. Which befits the high grain content used in the mix. Not my favourite flavour profile.

The taste is soft & smooth with a slight oiliness.

But the best bit is at the end where a decent hit of malt shines through on the palate with a lovely soft spiciness.

Just about makes this bargain purchase worthwhile.

Sláinte.

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