Tag Archives: Ireland

Whiskey Nut’s Top 10 Blogs of 2020

It’s that time of year when a certain reflection is done of the previous 12 months – and anticipation of those to follow.

My reflection in this instance came about via the stats figures within the WordPress computing machines.

A somewhat random & unexpected Top 10 list of blogs pops up based on views. Not all were written in 2020, some don’t feature Irish Whiskey & others aren’t whiskey related at all!

It’s a fair representation however of my journey through the world of spirits.

What I’d consider my best pieces – spending hours researching, constantly rewriting & fretting over – don’t particularly appear highly. Others randomly do – while a few are not entirely unexpected.

I raise a glass to each & every reader who visited my site – hopefully you’ll keep returning.

Many thanks.

Sitting in front of the computer can be a lonely place & without the feedback & growing readership – would feel even lonelier.

Without further ado – here’s the list – with links to the original blogs.

What was your favourite?

Proper Twelve v Jameson, Irish Whiskey Blends, 40%. Dec ’18.

Black & Blue Premium Whisky, 43%, India via Nigeria. Jan ’19.

Discovery, Highland Single Malt, 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky, 40%. Sept ’19.

The Busker Irish Whiskey, Royal Oak Distillery. May ’20.

Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt, 40%. Dec ’18.

Best Classic Whisky, Blend, 43%, Nigeria. March ’18.

Ron Rumbero, 4 x 40ml miniature pack, 15% to 38%. Dec ’19.

Rampur Select, Single Malt, 43%. Apr ’20.

The World Of Rums, 4 x 40ml Miniature Pack. Nov ’19.

Wall Street, Blended Spirit, 39%, Vietnam. Dec ’17.

Sláinte

All photos authors own.

A Blind Tasting Experience

In a departure from the usual – today’s blog is courtesy of the Irish Whiskey Stone Company who received one of my blind tasting packs.

This is the experience they enjoyed!

“About a week ago I saw a post on Twitter by a whiskey reviewer, @2DramsofWhiskey of Westmeath Whiskey World, in which he showed a picture of some vials of whiskey and informing us that he was going to be doing a blind whiskey tasting. I replied to his tweet asking what was a blind whiskey tasting and how does one go about doing it. Not really expecting an answer, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got a reply telling me that it could easily be arranged!

This was followed with some private messages in which I then had to admit that I know next to nothing about whiskey (which may surprise some of you, considering I sell whiskey stones but how and ever…)

That didn’t put the reviewer off and before I knew it, here I was with 3 samples of whiskey to try out.

I have to admit, it took me a few days to get around to doing it and a certain amount of mental preparation (don’t know why but I was quite daunted by this task!).

Anyway, today was the day. I got out the samples, I found three glasses, got a spittoon glass at the ready and a bottle of water to clean my palate between tasting.  

I got a pen and paper out ready to make some notes and cracked open Sample D. I poured some into a glass and first took note of the aroma, which struck me as quite sweet. I sipped and let it rest in my mouth, closed my eyes and thought for a moment about the flavours. The two flavours that struck me the most was citrus and wood. I then added a wee drop of water to see what flavours this would release and the sweetness became more intense. I found this sweetness too much for my liking to be honest.

Sample D West Cork Peat Charred Cask

I washed my mouth out with some water and proceeded to try out Sample E. Again, the first thing I noted was the aroma. This time I could almost detect the freshness of the sea. (probably not remotely a technical whiskey tasting term but it fits for me). This whiskey had a very pure taste and I found it very pleasant indeed.

Sample E Kilbeggan Rye

On to Sample F I went. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could catch a hint of peatiness. I like peat but not too much of it so I was wary. However, this was not overbearing at all. I tasted. Wow, what an explosion of flavour in my mouth. There was an almost orange tang of it but it was a little sharp for me. Having said that, I think this would be an amazing after-dinner tipple.

Sample F Mackmyra Reserve Cask

I gathered my notes and what you have just read is my semi-coherent interpretation of them. 

So, there you go. My first whiskey tasting. I actually really enjoyed it and it was a good challenge to write about it too!”

Many thanks to Irish Whiskey Stone Company for sharing their thoughts.

Have you tried blind tasting yet?

Sláinte

Desperados Red, Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca Flavoured Beer, 6%

Talk about a cultural mish-mash!

Tequila from Mexico, Guarana & Cachaca from Brazil, licenced in the Netherlands, made in Poland & sold in Ireland – where it seems to have cornered the market as it’s everywhere!

Desperately red! c/othewhiskeynut

Sadly the drinking experience leaves a little to be desired.

More a chemical concoction than Cachaca cutey.

What’s in this? c/othewhiskeynut

Sweeter than the Original – & obviously redder – I’m not sure how many fresh natural ingredients graced this beer.

But as it’s the only Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca beer in town – I had to give it a go.

Sláinte

TinCup American Whiskey, 42%

The most Northern point on the Island of Ireland is in what is often known as The South.

To access the political North from here you travel South.

TinCup American Whiskey proudly displays it’s Colorado heritage on the attractively embossed bottle – as well as the marketing story.

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TinCup story. c/othewhiskeynut

The bulk of the whiskey is actually distilled in Indiana – blended & cut with some Colorado single malt & ‘Pure Rocky Mountain Water’.

So now that’s all clear – what was I doing in The North?

Simple really.

The North – being a different jurisdiction – stocks a more comprehensive & varied array of spirits than The South. Always keen to pick up something new & interesting I called in on an Asda supermarket on my travels & bagged this American Whiskey.

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I like it! c/othewhiskeynut

The design is cool – the marketing is slick – it’s reasonably priced – it made my basket.

A rich golden brown hue with that classic candyfloss bourbon sweetness tempered by a sawdusty dry rye aroma greeted me.

The palate was relatively mellow – yet gradually opened up with smooth vanilla & gently growing peppery spices building to a gorgeously drying finish leaving a tingling prickliness dancing away.

I found the overall presentation of this whiskey extremely endearing & enticing.

The whiskey itself suitably matched the marketing.

A lovely combination of rugged rye & smooth bourbon – stories of the past & visions for the future.

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Jess Graber c/othewhiskeynut

I look forward to further exploring developments from Jess Graber, Colorado Whiskey & Proximo Spirits..

Happy Independence Day!

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

 

Blacks Golden Rum, 40%

Despite visiting the Sunny South of Ireland – I’ve yet to encounter the sugarcane plantations of Kinsale.

Blacks Brewery & Distillery – based in the town – imported the molasses to make their Golden Irish Rum.

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Ahoy mateys! c/othewhiskeynut

Presented in a distinctively shaped bottle – common across the Blacks Gin & Whiskey spirits range – with an elaborately designed label bearing both the Blacks Crow & a pirate ship – along with other steampunk style contraptions – the suitably golden liquid lured me in.

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Irish Rum c/othewhiskeynut

A heavy funk on the nose – Jamaican style – with a hint of ripe fruitiness on top.

Luscious on the palate – the fruitiness puts in more of an appearance.

A gorgeously growing softly tingling spiciness rounds up this delightful rum – as the gentle funk slowly fades away.

I can see why it achieved Gold at the recent World Rum Awards.

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Intricate design. c/othewhiskeynut

It’s beautifully balanced with a complexity of flavours resulting in a charismatic characterful spirit.

Rum ahoy!

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

Goslings Black Seal, Bermuda Black Rum, 40%

Goslings are a long established name in Rum.

Now part of the Castle Brands portfolio – which in turn is owned by Pernod Ricard.

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Bermuda heritage, Irish distribution. c/othewhiskeynut

This Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum is a popular seller from their varied range.

A decent pungently dark molassey treacle on the nose.

Easy delivery on the palate.

Mild mannered with a touch of spice at the end.

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Distinctive labelling! c/othewhiskeynut

No rough edges & perfectly balanced.

A pleasant easy sipping rum that just lacked a little character for me.

Sláinte

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Luigi Francoli, Grappa Di Muscato E Brachetto, Barrique, 41.5%

It’s great to see the independent drinks specialist Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) launch a course in Ireland courtesy of Spirits Training.

When I completed my Spirits Level 2 module a while ago I visited the UK to sit the exam.

It shows a growing appreciation of and increasing demand for the spirits sector in Ireland.

My extra curricular training in Manchester proved to be very entertaining nonetheless! Visit my blog here.

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WSET Spirits L2 c/othewhiskeynut

The Spirits Level 2 course doesn’t just cover whiskey – all distilled spirit categories including Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Mezcal & more are explored.

Many I’d little knowledge of – let alone tasted – which is an integral part of training.

I grew to understand each sector has it’s own rules & regulations, history & customs,  as well as creative interpretations & representations of those traditions across the world.

At the end of the day however – it all came down to which spirits excited my palate.

One I’d never encountered before was Grappa.

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Long tall Luigi c/othewhiskeynut

Grappa – by definition – is an Italian based spirit distilled from grapes – the leftovers that is from wine production – or pomace as it’s known – and tends to be made by small producers.

The only grappa I could easily find in Ireland was by Luigi Francoli in my local O’Brien’s store.

Presented in an attractive bottle at 41.5%,  it stated the grape varietals used – Muscato e Brachetto – as well as ‘Barrique’ aged – in contrast to the usual unaged Grappa’s.

Oh – the distillery was founded in 1875.

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Italian Grappa c/othewhiskeynut

The grape influence was evident – but not in a sweet way – which usually puts me off – more of a nutty, earthy kind of experience.

A lovely soft mouthfeel grew in depth adding fruitiness & more of that nuttiness too – before finishing with a gentle spiciness to add character.

I’d happily enjoy one or two of these after a meal – which is the custom – and possibly explore other offerings as well.

If anything the WSET Spirits course has expanded both my knowledge of the spirits world & introduced my palate to a greater repertoire of tasting experiences.

Isn’t it about time you did the course?

Sláinte

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Rampur Select, Single Malt, 43%

With all the COVID travel restrictions – 2km from home in Ireland – it’s great to taste the world of flavour through whiskey.

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Rampur packaging c/othewhiskeynut

Rampur Select is one of a few Indian brands made to European Union rules that allow it to be marketed there.

The actual distillery – Radico Khaitan – has been making spirits since 1943 and have obviously built up a wealth of experience & knowledge.

The packaging is exquisite.

An outer tube embossed in golden lettering extolling the virtues of the Maharajas.

A luxurious inner bag proudly displaying the company logo.

And the bottle itself – replete with an attractively clean design – clearly stating non chill filtered.

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Front label c/othewhiskeynut

So far so good.

But what of the taste?

Well the nose immediately transported me to a land of exotic fruits – not that I’ve tasted many!

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Back label c/othewhiskeynut

It was certainly enticing & intriguing.

A gentle mouthfeel eased me in.

Rich dark fruits flowed over the palate – reminiscent of sultanas.

A lovely spicy hit on the finish – more peppery than curry – rounded things off on a flourish.

There’s a richness & depth to this single malt that entertained me.

I gladly roamed the Himalayan foothills drinking the delights of this exotic elixir.

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Class cork! c/othewhiskeynut

Roll on Indian Whisky.

Sláinte

Good Logo

 

My Irish Whiskey Release Of 2019

Irish Whiskey has had a tremendous year.

It is finally coming out of the doldrums first entered in the late 1800’s.

It’s true potential is demonstrated with exciting new Irish Whiskey expressions being released on an almost weekly basis by a growing band of blenders, bottlers, bonders & distilleries.

One market Irish Whiskey has re-entered with a bang is the ultra premium category.

It was done with aplomb, style and a certain amount of swagger.

I give you J.J. Corry’s The Chosen.

Chosen independent.ie
Louise McGuane launches The Chosen c/oindependent.ie

Now I can’t say I’ve ever tasted the whiskey, but having sampled a few of the casks maturing at J.J. Corry’s bonded warehouse in Co Clare, I can appreciate the high quality of spirits being nurtured there.

Presented in a stunning handmade cut crystal decanter – along with an ultra deluxe hand carved ash cabinet too – The Chosen set the whiskey internet buzzing.

Chosen 4
The Chosen c/o@ChapelGate

It puts Irish Whiskey centre stage – where it belongs.

Congratulations to all the team at J.J. Corry, J. Hill’s Standard and John Galvin Design for delivering this stunning package to market.

Let there be many more.

Slàinte

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Micil Irish Poitín, Heritage Edition, 46%

Every now and then there’s a release that just blows away the old myths.

One of the hackneyed stereotypical tropes used is that Irish Whiskey isn’t peated – or as I’m in Ireland – turfed.

Any cursory study of past recipes clearly shows it was – as the collective who collaborated to produce this Heritage Poitín found – and thankfully it now is.

Micil Instagram
Micil distillery Instagram Post

Micil Heritage Poitín is the first spirit to use Irish turf to smoke Irish Barley  & Irish Oats in a long time.

This is a game changer.

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Drinking Poitín at the Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

The other myth is that to be a good whiskey it must be aged – preferably for a long time.

Well – after tasting this fabulous poitín – age is only a number.

This is the original uisce beatha – the water of life – that started the whole whiskey craze.

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Micil’s back label c/othewhiskeynut

It’s pure, it’s clear and it’s a delight to drink.

The final myth is that barley is the be all and end all of whiskey.

Again – no relevance to the actual recipes of the past that traditionally used a mixed mash bill of barley – both malted & unmalted – wheat, rye and oats.

The oats in Micil Heritage Poitín give it a gorgeous creaminess with a depth of body & generous legs.

The turf smoke is like the warm hug of a winters fire sharing the craic with friends & family.

Micil Heritage Poitín is stepping back in time to go forward.

I raise a glass to all involved.

To the return of Irish turf!

Sláinte

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