Tag Archives: Miniatures

Cognac Park Borderies, 10 Year Old Mizunara Cask, Single Cru Cognac, 44%

Mizunara – or Japanese Oak – is all the rage right now.

A growing number of whiskey companies are choosing to finish their precious liquid in this exotic, rare & difficult to work with wood.

Why?

To extract some of the fabulous flavours from the wood & enhance the drinking experience.

Other spirits categories are likely to follow & on spotting this Cognac Park Mizunara Cask – I had to try it!

Golden brown in colour, there’s subtle aromas of light sandalwood contrasting with the dark fruitiness expected from an aged cognac.

The light & fresh appeal carries through on tasting – definitely an alternative experience to some heavier cognacs.

The finish excites with a prickly heat, tannic spiciness & sweet fruits.

An impressive & welcome innovative experiment into Mizunara finishing in the cognac world.

Sláinte

For further reading on Mizunara see webpage here.

Cognac Park website here.

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Nardini Grappa Riserva, 50%

This is my 1st Grappa since returning from Lucca.

Grappa is fierce hard to get hold of in Ireland outside of specialist shops or select restaurants.

Nardini – who began distilling in 1779 – appear to be the only brand readily available here.

I enjoyed their Bianca – clear, unaged – offering previously so moved up a notch with this Riserva – aged in Slavonian oak barrels – presented at 50%.

Pale gold in colour.

Rich pungent nuttiness, dried fruit & chocolate on the nose.

Lovely smooth mouthfeel belies the high ABV.

Slowly builds intensity with those nutty flavours mixed into a growing prickly dryness on a lip-smacking finish.

A rather intense – yet invigorating – experience!

Sláinte

Nardini website here.

Lucca blog post here.

Nardini Bianca blog post here.

Fercullen Falls, Small Batch Irish Whiskey, 43%, Blend

When Powerscourt Distillery originally released their core range of Irish Whiskey much of the commentary made a big play of the fact Head Distiller – Noel Sweeney – had overseen the distilling of the liquid whilst at Cooley Distillery & then latterly supervised the blending of the casks at Powerscourt.

Now Mr Sweeney has left Powerscourt – does this lessen the ‘story’ of the whiskeys?

If you rate whiskey by the personality of key players involved in bringing it to market – then perhaps yes?

On the other hand, if you appraise a whiskey based on the taste & flavour of the liquid in the glass before you – it doesn’t matter.

Most whiskey has been produced by a large team of mainly un-named people who all contribute – in one way or another – to making & marketing the final product.

That product – especially if it’s a core release like this Fercullen Falls blend – can be presented to the public as a consistent expression regardless of the potential changing personnel who participate in its existence.

As it is, Fercullen Falls is a non-age statement blend of whiskeys both from outside sources and Powerscourt Distillery itself.

I like the name.

Fercullen Falls themselves are an impressive spectacle set in Powerscourt Estate grounds – and well worth a visit they are too!

So, onto the whiskey!

Pale straw in colour. No mention of added caramel or chill filtering.

A very easy, pleasant soft aroma of vanilla & caramel.

Smooth palate with a touch of honeyed maltiness on the body.

Livens up on the finish with a lovely prickly sensation & decent depth of flavours which fade slowly.

A very well-presented easy drinking blend with no rough edges, fine heritage & an entertaining flourish on the finale.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Fercullen Falls Whiskey information here.

Noel Sweeney information here.

In Praise of Miniatures

Up in Dublin to meet friends & family was a different style of trip to my Poitín Now adventures of last weekend.

I did however manage a quick visit to the Celtic Whiskey Shop to replenish my miniatures.

I do love miniatures.

When you have shelves groaning with around 50 opened bottles of varying spirits – not to mention a similar number waiting to be uncorked – constantly buying more is no longer an option.

There’s also the squeeze on spending by having to fork out increasing amounts for basics – let alone the luxury of drink – so miniatures it is!

There were 3 untried expressions that made my basket.

Nardini Grappa Riserva – to further explore my Grappa fascination.

Cognac Park 10yo Mizunara Cask – Mizunara seems to be all the rage right now – so why can’t Cognac get in on the act?

and

Fercullen Falls Whiskey – Powerscourt’s latest core release blend.

Expect a monologue on each in due course!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Celtic Whiskey Shop website here.

Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin, 45% & Seagram’s VO, 40%

Continuing my miniature series are a pair of releases from across the pond with links to Ireland.

Great Wagon Road Distilling in North Carolina play homage to their Irish roots with Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin while Canadian company Seagram’s at one time used to own Bushmills Distillery.

So how did I find them?

Image courtesy Drams Delivered

Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin, 45%

Golden brown in colour, slightly darker than Seagram’s. A pleasant sweet fruity nose, suggestive of sherry influence. Smooth, oily mouthfeel with good depth of flavour. Luscious mouth watering finish, reminiscent of fruit pastilles.

A tad sweet for my palate – but a very entertaining tipple!

Turns out this poitin is made with organic barley & wheat – which perhaps gives the sweetness? – & is rested in new oak barrels.

Really enjoyed this one!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Seagram’s VO, 40%

Pale straw. Grainy sweet caramel. Quite light. Mild & mellow palate. Hints of tingling spice on the finish.

An easy drinker livening up on the rear.

Seagram’s are now part of the Sazerac group who only recently announced their purchase of the Lough Gill Distillery in County Sligo.

A classic Canadian blend.

Preferences

For my palate Quinn’s provided a richer & more entertaining tipple.

Which one would you choose?

Sláinte

My samples were purchased from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder here.

Great Wagon Road Distillery website here.

Seagram’s VO webpage here.

Sazerac invest in County Sligo here.

Flight Of The Earls, Irish Whiskey, 40% to 63.48%

When Red Earl first appeared with it’s cartoon like imagery it was somewhat overlooked.

c/o TinyTipple

Now available in 4 differing styles. – with varying images too – The Flight of the Earls make for a striking posse of whiskey.

It’s about time I discovered the flavours behind the brand – so ordered up a tasting pack from Tiny Tipple.

Red Earl, 40%

A blend aged in bourbon, sherry & rioja casks.

Warm, inviting & fruity sweet nose. Juicy mouthfeel with a lip smacking finish.

A lovely well balanced flavoursome blend.

c/o KinsaleSpiritCo

Great Earl, 40%

A single grain aged in recharred & virgin oak barrels, finished in Sangiovese casks.

A dry, clean & clear nose. The wine influence makes it’s presence felt on the palate followed by a lovely frisson of oaky spice on the rear.

Nice!

c/o KinsaleSpiritCo

Spanish Earl, 43%

A single malt matured in bourbon casks & finished in rum & stout casks.

Yum yum – a juicy depth to this one! Rich maltiness on the palate with a solid backbone of darker delights. Opens up further on the finish with a spicy prickle, soft hints of roastiness & an engaging dryness.

Red Earl, Cask Strength, 63.48%

A cask strength version of the Red Earl blend.

Despite the high ABV the nose is still inviting – with just a suggestion of high alcohol presence. The triple cask maturation notes roll over each other in a wonderful flourish of flavour – before a drying hit of alcohol kicks in with an explosion of power.

I don’t subscribe to the notion cask strength is automatically superior to 40% – but Red Earl CS wears it well.

Thoughts

The Flight of Earls impressed me.

Full of flavour, full of style & a hearty bunch of characters too.

The pale colour of the quartet also points to a lack of added caramel.

It’s a delight to taste them all back to back to explore both the differences – & similarities – that run through the collection.

It’s hard to pick a winner from this flight of beauties – but for me the ease of drinking, clarity of flavours & enjoyable flair on the finish – I’m giving it to Great Earl.

What would you choose?

Sláinte

Images authors own unless stated.

The Dublin Liberties Distillery Miniature Pack, Blends, 40% to 46%

I do love miniature packs.

They’re a great way to sample a selection of whiskeys & hone down your tasting preferences.

This Dublin Liberties Distillery box has been lying round my house for a while – so long in fact the label design on The Dubliner still boasts the old – & rather outdated I must say – frontage!

So how do they stack up?

The Dubliner, Blend, 40%

A bourbon casked NAS – non age statement – blended Irish Whiskey.

Soft vanilla & caramel on the nose, pleasant easy palate, a flourish of sweet grain & richer maltiness on the finish.

A nice easy drinker.

Oak Devil, 5 Year Old, Blend, 46%

Oak Devil first appeared as an NAS.

I’ve always liked this one.

There’s a noticeable tannic spiciness which just works on my palate & the connections, connotations & playful attractiveness of the name is very engaging.

Suits me!

The Dead Rabbit, Blend, 44%

A great collaboration with the Dead Rabbit bar in New York.

At 44% & using first fill American Oak finishing Dead Rabbit is just – richer!

The vanilla aromas are boosted, a heavier mouthfeel leads into a lip smacking almost succulent finish.

Nice!

Thoughts

The Dublin Liberties Distillery are a dynamic operation.

Not afraid to rework their offerings, engage in collaborations & rebrand when required. They’ve also released an innovative beer cask range & are involved in head distiller Darryl McNally’s Limavady Single Cask outing.

Yet to release their own distillate – this entertaining trio displays careful cask choices & clever blending & maturation regimes to bring about a diversity of flavours.

The Dubliner’s new packaging is a winner for me – but it’s a close call between the richness of Dead Rabbit & clean simplicity of Oak Devil for tasting enjoyment.

It boils down to personal choice, memories, connections & joie-de-vivre.

Oak Devil has it!

Sláinte

All photos authors own

Galway Irish Whiskey, 40%

A range of miniature Irish Whiskey labelled up in Irish County colours make for an entertaining gift.

I picked mine up at the Celtic Whiskey Shop.

Galway is pale straw in colour.

Has a soft honeyed aroma.

Smooth & mellow in the mouth.

With an engaging hint of spice on the finish.

No mention regards source – but reminds me of the best blended Cooley used to offer.

An easy drinking Irish Whskey.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Moore’s Irish Whiskey, 40% & Moore’s Irish Cream Liqueur, 17%

The growing sales & popularity of Irish Whiskey continues to attract new entrants into the category.

Lockdown Brands – you can guess when they were formed – recently released their Moore’s range of spirits.

Moore’s miniatures c/othewhiskeynut

Launched without fanfare or fuss – I picked a miniature pack up in the excellent Celtic Whiskey Shop on my sojourn to Wetherspoons new Keavin’s Port Hotel in Dublin.

Moore’s Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Moore’s Irish Whiskey sports a proud stag on the label – with little else over and above the legal requirements.

There’s a sweet sherried depth to the nose, the usual caramel flavours & a bit of a spirity kick.

Smooth, honeyed & mouth coating, the palate gently hugs in an warming embrace.

An engaging dry tingling fades slowly away on the finish.

With ever more esoteric cask finishes & proclamations of provenance – the stripped back simplicity & no nonsense approach of Moore’s is refreshing.

Moore’s Cream Liqueur c/othewhiskeynut

Mariah Carey dominates social media with her Black Irish liqueur – but Moore’s Irish Cream Liqueur faces no legal dispute – as far as I know – and is currently available to purchase in Ireland.

Rather than sporting a golden mermaid look, Moore’s is adorned with a humble grazing cow – the source of the Irish cream used.

In the glass Moore’s Irish Cream Liqueur has the appearance & consistency of rich full-fat milk about it.

Only on nosing & tasting does a whisper of whiskey make it’s presence felt over the rich creaminess & melted milk chocolate experience.

An Irish Wolfhound graces Moore’s Irish Gin – but never having acquired an appreciation of this juniper led category – I’ll leave it to others for appraisal.

Overall I’m somewhat attracted to the laid back & simple approach offered by Moore’s.

There’s a traditional appeal to the honeyed blend style of whiskey.

The brand also puts Co Laois on the spirits map.

Best wishes to Moore Drinks & Lockdown Brands in their new venture.