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.
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?
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!
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.
For my palate Quinn’s provided a richer & more entertaining tipple.
Which one would you choose?
My samples were purchased from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder here.
When Red Earl first appeared with it’s cartoon like imagery it was somewhat overlooked.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s a noticeable tannic spiciness which just works on my palate & the connections, connotations & playful attractiveness of the name is very engaging.
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.
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.