Tag Archives: Independent Bottler

An Fear Grinn, Móinteach No 2, Peated Single Malt, 46%

You gotta hand it to An Fear Grinn – they do release some delicious whiskey.

It helps – of course – that they’re all presented non chill filtered & natural colour at usually 46% – or above.

This – to me at least – accentuates the strength of flavour within.

Their latest release – Móinteach No 2 – is a follow on from the original peated single malt Móinteach of last year.

There’s a classic iodiney, TCP kind of nose going on with No 2. Not overpowering – just very clearly stated.

Clean & crisp on the palate. Lovely freshness. Again the peat influence is evident.

Finishes with a lip-smacking dryness coating the mouth in a prickly tingliness which excites & leaves with a soft smokiness.

Image courtesy An Fear Grinn

An elegantly presented smoker of a malt.

Catch it while you can!

Sláinte

An Fear Grinn website here.

My blog on Móinteach here.

Sample kindly supplied by An Fear Grinn.

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An Fear Grinn, Tide’s In, 13 Year Old Single Cask, Single Grain, 57.8% & Gullion, Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 46%

An Fear Grinn – Dundalk’s Own Whiskey – have released some cracking independent bottles over the last few years.

Much appreciation to them for providing this latest pair for review.

As usual I cracked them open before reading up on what they were & my initial tasting notes are in italics.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

An Fear Grinn Tide’s In, 13 Year Old, Cask Strength, Single Cask, Single Grain, 57.8%

Gentle warm caramelly nose with hints of leathery depth, lovely mouth coating experience, gorgeous complexity of flavours come through on the finish, hints of smoke, oaky wood & a prickly excitement too.

Lovely!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Gullion, Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 46%

Light, bright & fruity, gentle palate, mild mannered, easily accessible offering yet retains a depth of character & engaging attractiveness.

Nice!

Thoughts

All An Fear Grinn are presented non chill filtered & natural colour. It shows in the richness of flavours & joie-de-vivre of the delivery.

I was slightly taken aback on finding Tide’s In to be a 57.8% single grain matured in ex-bourbon & finished in oloroso. Nothing silent about this one & no need for water.

Gullion turned out to be a bourbon matured, rye finished single pot still – which explained the prickly dry spice I experienced on the finish. A novel approach to presenting a single pot still – which worked for me.

Both are delightful whiskey to sip, savour & enjoy. My palate leans towards the rather-too-easy-to-enjoy-at-cask-strength delights of Tide’s In – but yours might go the other way.

Either way – you’re in for a treat!

Sláinte

Fear, Paranoia & Tasting By Numbers In The Spirits Category.

There appears to be a palpable fear within the spirits drinking community.

Fear of being ‘gouged’ or ‘ripped off’ by rogue producers.

Paranoia that brands aren’t being ‘honest and transparent’ in refusing to disclose every conceivable nugget of information.

Refusing to taste a spirit until the correct check list;

Trusted distillery – check.

Non chill filtered – check.

Single Malt – check.

Cask Strength – check.

Distillery release – check.

Or whatever criteria you choose has been adhered to.

It’s all so reductionist.

Taste is not defined by what is – or isn’t – written on the side of a bottle.

Taste isn’t made by engaging tweets or larger than life characters.

Taste is the complex interplay of the individual drinkers palate with the fruits of the raw ingredients, distilling process, blending & maturation regimes of the liquid before them.

Someone’s ‘amber nectar’ is another’s ‘gnat’s piss’.

What if all that extraneous information was removed?

What if all bottles of spirits simply stated the legal minimum?

No branding, no advertising, no stories?

Would the spirit taste the same?

Well – yes and no.

Yes in that the liquid – and your palate – remains the same.

Having blind tasted whiskey for the Irish Whiskey Awards over a number of years a familiar pattern of brands & styles consistently rise to the top.

On the other hand slick advertising, where & whom with you taste the liquid as well as your mood on the day can all sway the results.

But is there another fear at play?

Fear of enjoying a drink that is deemed unpopular?

Fear of enjoying a spirit that hasn’t matched your check list?

Or simply a fear of not conforming?

You don’t have to like the popular brands or top sellers.

Just enjoy what works for your individual palate.

Above all – enjoy the journey.

Sample & taste as far and wide as possible – you’ll quickly find your own sweet spot.

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!

Two Tastings of Two Stacks, The First Cut, Blend, 43%

My first encounter with Two Stacks was in a blind tasting.

Devoid of any prior knowledge my brief assessment of this ‘Complex Blend’ was as follows;

Complex Blend c/othewhiskeynut

Neutral on the nose, soft & subtle.

Not giving much away on the palate, mellow easy drinking.

Nice flavours on the finish, intriguing.

I was surprised to find out it was Two Stacks, The First Cut. Mainly as I’d heard the blend contained a peated element – which I’d failed to detect.

My second encounter with Two Stacks was from an actual bottle.

On the back label is the blending mix & yes – peat does feature, but at only 2% – it clearly wasn’t enough to grab my palate.

Back label info c/othewhiskeynut

Having all the information & a longer time to engage with the whiskey did slightly alter the experience.

A mere hint of smoke just pushed through on the nose – although the mild mellow softness still dominated.

The finish left me with a dry tingling – often a reaction I get from peated whiskey. At only 2% however it was a gentle suggestion & I’d probably be happier with a 20% hit.

Two Stacks in a Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

Interestingly another drinker had a heightened reaction against the peat – even at such a low concentration it was still overpowering.

Others I know detect sulphur from sherry casks in small amounts too.

My palate seems to be the opposite in that I need bigger percentages & bolder flavours to grab my attention.

As it is, The First Cut is a well put together blend.

Nice easy drinking – & while the peated element does add some character – it’s just not enough to excite my palate.

Sláinte

Against The Grain, Peated Single Malt, Irish Whiskey, 46%

It’s Level 5 Lockdown.

You’re home from work & a little package has arrived.

Against The Grain Sample c/othewhiskeynut

Whiskey.

But not any whiskey.

Peated Irish Whiskey!

What else are you gonna do but crack it open!

Sample poured! c/othewhiskeynut

Gorgeously rich peat fire smoke permeates room.

An initial sweetness gradually transforms into the warm embrace of a well stacked turf hearth glowing brightly.

A touch of prickly spice dances merrily away on the long finish.

Sheer delight!

Against The Grain c/oWhiskeyFactor

Against The Grain is the latest release from independent bottler whiskeyfactor.com

Another stunner of a whiskey!

Sláinte

Douglas Laing’s Scallywag, 46% vs Rock Oyster, 46.8%

I haven’t had a #ScotchSunday for a while – so this pair of Blended Malts from Douglas Laing fill that gap!

A pair of Laing’s c/othewhiskeynut

Blended Malts are a growing category.

These 2 do the honours for the regions – Speyside for Scallywag & the Islands for Rock Oyster.

Made up of single malts sourced from distilleries within their regions, both are presented non chill filtered & after checking on the whiskey.de website – appear to be natural colour – despite Scallywag being noticeably darker.

Scallywag c/othewhiskeynut

Scallywag 46%

Golden brown.

A honeyed nose with a bit of depth.

Scallywag back c/othewhiskeynut

Smooth & easy on the palate.

A touch of spice on the finish.

For someone that’s not generally into Speysiders – this is quite attractive.

Rock Oyster c/othewhiskeynut

Rock Oyster, 46.8%

Light straw.

A very gentle waft of seaweed. To be honest I was expecting more!

Light in colour – light on the palate – but it does open up on the finish with a comforting smoky fire by the seaside!

Oyster back c/othewhiskeynut

Both are easy going blended malts that only came alive on the finish for me.

Rock Oyster wins out – but I was a tad underwhelmed.

Whereas for a Speyside – Scallywag impressed.

The cheeky labeling & attractive presentation suitably entertained though & further exploration of the Douglas Laing stable is warranted.

Sláinte