Tag Archives: Non Chill Filtered

Hyde #8, 1640, Stout Cask Finished Irish Whiskey, 46%

There’s been an explosion of Irish Whiskeys finished in a growing variety of Irish Beer Casks.

I welcome the diversity & exploration of flavours emanating from these collaborations – especially when the beers in question tend to be locally produced craft beers such as the Cotton Ball Stout used in this new Hyde #8 release.

Now I usually like to taste the donor beer – but in this instance the closest I got was this lágar from Cotton Ball Brewing.

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Pride in locality c/othewhiskeynut

Rather than picking up the bitter or slightly burnt notes often found in a stout – Hyde #8 has a noticeable sweet caramel nose together with a smooth & rich honeyed palate rounded up with a darker & heavier biscuity malt feel.

I must admit to already being a fan of Hyde Whiskey.

Their offerings consistently score highly in my blind tasting sessions for the Irish Whiskey Awards.

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Hyde No 8 Heritage Cask c/othewhiskeynut

I put it down to the 46% non chill filtered presentation across the range which to my palate at least, seems to draw out a depth of character & stronger flavours in the whiskey.

I really enjoyed the balance between the sweet start & heavier malt mid palate combined with a pleasant peppery spice leading into a lovely prickly finish with hints of sweet stone fruitiness.

Great to see Hyde Whiskey expand their range with yet another tasty tipple!

Sláinte

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Many thanks to Conor Hyde for supplying the sample bottle for this blog.

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1770 Whisky, Single Malt, 46% at MacSorley’s, Glasgow

Straight off the Belfast to Cairnryan Ferry my first stop on the Scottish side was to MacSorley’s Bar on Jamaica Street in Glasgow.

Chosen mainly for ease of access to & from the M8 motorway – it was a handy spot to pick up fellow travellers – and some tasty refreshments too!

MacSorley’s do a fine & fun range of Tartan Tapas which suited my needs perfectly.

On the whisky front it didn’t disappoint either.

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1770 Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

Spotting a bottle of 1770 Whisky – the 2019 edition from the recently opened Glasgow Distillery Co – I had to give it a try.

A nice clean & fresh dram with an inviting nose greeted me.

Quite light on the palate, some dark fruity notes gave a certain gravitas & body to this young malt.

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The back label c/othewhiskeynut

A gently drying soft pepper spice rounded up this delightful whisky.

A wonderful introduction to the next generation of Scottish Whisky Distilleries.

Sláinte

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Ardfallen, Premium Blend Irish Whiskey, 40%

Aldi had a surprise in store for me with this recently released Irish Whiskey.

Sporting an attractively embossed label, Ardfallen Irish Whiskey proclaims to be a premium blend – but at only €19 this seems unlikely.

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Premium label for sure! c/othewhiskeynut

I bought it anyway – always keen to try out something new.

The label gives little information; triple distilled, non chill filtered, blend #8 (whatever happened to the other 7?) & ‘Distilled and matured in Cork, Ireland’.

That narrows it down to 2 distilleries – you can choose either East or West Cork – my money is on West.

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Ardfallen back label. c/othewhiskeynut

So what’s it like?

A lovely golden hue.

Has that added caramel nose of an entry level blend – but with a hint of maltiness in the background.

Soft & easy on the palate.

Slowly growing gentle heat builds with a bit of character leaving an engaging prickly tingle.

No real complexity or depth.

Just a pleasant easy going sipper of a whiskey.

Aldi continue to deliver attractively priced enjoyable whiskey.

Sláinte

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Writers’ Tears Double Oak, Blend, 46%

I won this lovely bottle of whiskey courtesy of the Celtic Whiskey Club and Walsh Whiskey themselves – very much appreciated.

Celtic Whiskey Club is an open invite whiskey club organised by the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin. You can follow the link to their website.

Whiskey samples are sent out regularly – both Ireland & abroad – to members who are then invited to participate in tweet tastings. Drinking whiskey with others – even at the end of the internet – is far more entertaining.

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Walsh Whiskey double bill in Tuath glasses. c/othewhiskeynut

On this particular occasion – a double bill Writers’ Tears release from Walsh Whiskey – 2 participants won a bottle each. I happily obtained the Double Oak – my preferred choice.

So how was it?

A gorgeously warm ‘Bear Hug’ of a whiskey with dark sweet cherry notes contrasting with gentle prickly oaky spiceiness. Cue video!

Double Oak is a blend of single pot still & single malt whiskeys finished in a combination of ex bourbon & ex cognac casks to give it that deep dark sweet character with plenty of warmth & added spice.

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Double Oak back label c/othewhiskeynut

Along with other Writers’ Tears releases Double Oak is presented at 46% with non chill filtering allowing the full flavours to shine.

Another fabulously tasty release from Walsh Whiskey.

Sláinte

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Arbikie Highland Rye, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, 46%

It’s not everyday you get a whisky sample sent through the post – especially one as outstanding as Highland Rye Single Grain Whisky from Arbikie Distillery in Arbroath, Scotland.

To begin with, this is a farm to bottle operation.

The grains used – barley, rye & wheat in this instance – are grown in the fields around the distillery.

There is also no chill filtration nor added colouring to mute the fabulous flavours within.

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Arbikie Highland Rye Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

And it’s a rye.

The first for many a year Scotland has produced.

Rye at one stage was a common grain used in a mixed mashbill distillation by both Scottish and Irish distillers as testified by a certain Mr Jameson at the 1909 ‘What is Whisky’ enquiry.

Rye mashbills
Quotes from 1909 enquiry c/oblackwaterdistilleryblog

It happens to be a grain I’m very attracted to.

It adds a bit of bite, a dash of dry peppery spice, a certain boldness, a touch of character and a degree of complexity to any whiskey.

Rye has no legal definition in either Scotland nor Ireland. Yet in America – often seen as the home of rye – it must have a mashbill content of at least 51% rye to gain the title – which this Highland Rye does.

So what’s it like to drink?

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Highland Rye in a Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

Absolutely fabulous!

The nose captures the classic dry peppery spice augmented by elements of cherry sweetness from the PX cask finish.

The barley & wheat bring a silky smoothness to begin with, coating the palate in a warm snug of dark fruitiness before the rye makes itself known.

The palate gradually dries off into a wonderfully prickly peppery spice with hints of cherries dancing around on the enjoyably long finish.

The PX finish adds another layer of depth & complexity to this rye.

On a back to back tasting with its  2 year old sibling – which I purchased on first hearing Scotland had produced a rye – the youthful exuberance & freshness resulted in a cleaner, more classic peppery spice experience balanced with a barley smoothness.

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Rye Spirit vs Rye Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

The PX finish of the 3 year old  – which is still a relatively unusual style of rye even in America – boosts that joyful youthfulness with richer, darker elements.

Arbroath – more famous for stovies & smokies – can now add rye to the culinary & quaffable delights on offer.

My thanks to all at Arbikie for the opportunity to taste this gorgeous rye whisky.

Sláinte

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Mackmyra Vinterglod, 46.1%, v Bergslagens Peat Ferie, 46%, Single Malts

I had an unexpected package arrive just in time for International Whisky Day on 27th March – a pair of fabulous Swedish Single Malts for me to enjoy courtesy of the Irish Drams blog here.

They came as part of an informal whisky sample exchange I have going with a number of fellow whisky fans – always happy to have more.

The pair were poured into my favourite drinking receptacle  – the Túath Irish Whiskey Glass – and the fun began.

Wow!

The flavours in both of these malts just explode on the palate giving a tantalisingly complex taste experience.

This matches my encounters of other Swedish malts sampled on a recent trip to Göteborg which benefit from being non chill filtered & presented at natural colour.

vinterglöd-förackning-liten
Vinterglod c/oMackmyra

Mackmyra Vinterglöd is full of spicy cinnamon & orange on the nose which follows through on the taste.

There’s a bed of warm vanilla underneath which slowly dries out leaving a gorgeously spicy tingling.

A wonderful spicy winter warmer!

Very novel.

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Peat Ferie c/oBergslagens

Bergslagens is very dark.

Gentle sweet peat on the nose, perhaps muted by the rich sherry notes.

The taste starts off smooth & silky, before a dry ashy peat wafts in leaving a wonderfully drying sensation tinged with stone fruitiness.

Loving the contrast between the deceptively smooth entry morphing into a stunningly dry ashy hit.

Both are slightly unusual malts, both are very appealing & both push the boundaries of what a great tasting whisky should be.

If anything Vinterglöd reminds me of the Scottish Liqueur Drambuie – without the cloying honey sweetness.

Bergslagens just wins it for me. The powerfully dry ash suits my palate perfectly.

For further information on these fabulous malts press here for Vinterglöd,

And here for Peat Ferie.

Happy International Whisky Day!

Sláinte

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Hvenus Rye, 45.6%

It would be remiss of me not to visit a Systembolaget shop whilst in Sweden.

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All booze is bought here. c/othewhiskeynut

Systembolaget are the chain of state owned off licences set up in 1955 to control the sale & consumption of alcohol.

Alcohol is strictly governed in Sweden.

There is no advertising.

There is no sponsorship.

There is no ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free!’.

What there is are high taxes and I must say – a very pleasing & clean shopping experience.

The stores are bright & airy.

There is a cheerful atmosphere.

All brands get equal exposure. There are no promotional ads from the big brands dominating the aisles.

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See what you’re looking for? c/othewhiskeynut

 

Each category is clearly labelled – equally – so it’s not difficult to find what you’re looking for.

I already knew what I was after.

Systembolaget do an online guide here detailing all that is available – by how many bottles – in each shop. So I already knew before entering the store my choice was on the shelves.

Very impressive.

Well what did I go for?

Hven had already impressed me on first encountering their distinctively shaped & super tasty whiskies at the Whisky Birmingham show a few years ago.

Learning they had produced a rye – my other love – there was no contest.

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Spirit of Hven Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Now Hven don’t do chill filtering nor added caramel.

They give extensive detail regarding the grains, process & method of the products they release – and this rye is no exception.

But open information doesn’t gaurantee great taste – so how was it?

A gorgeously wholesome white peppery signature rye spiciness greeted me with a spirity kick.

The delivery was smooth on the palate. The spices gently grew along with some herbaceous floral notes giving a savoury balance to the sweet.

The drying spices rolled around on the finish leaving a warm cosiness to counter the snow outside.

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Even the river was frozen! c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely well balanced rye from the Spirit Of Hven Distillery.

A gorgeously warm whisky to welcome me to Göteborg.

Tack tack

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An A.D. Rattray Appreciation

A.D. Rattray are an independent bottler of fine standing in Scotland.

They happen to have a lovely Whisky Shop on the main access route – A77 – to & from the Irish ferry terminals at Stranraer & Cairnryan that I often use to cross the water.

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The AD Rattray Whisky Shop c/othewhiskeynut

Oddly enough on my last trip – January 2018 – it was the first time in well over a decade using this route I encountered armed police, a passport check, a personal check as well as a vehicle check – all for an internal crossing?

Brexit changes indeed.

The Whisky Shop itself is a treasure trove of whisky, some gins & local beers too. Predominately Scotch it has to be said – although there is a sprinkling of world whisky. There are also tasting classes, rare single casks to be had, a small museum and more to attract you in and delay your journey.

But as I was driving – I made do with an elegantly packaged & well presented 5 pack A.D. Rattray miniature selection.

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Miniature selection c/othewhiskeynut

Nearly a year later I eventually managed to sample them if only to mark Rabbie Burns Night – who happened to live nearby.

The standard Bank Note 5 Year Old Blend at 43% struck me as just being that – standard. Pleasant enough with it – but no stand out qualities to pull me in. I do like the label however.

Next up was the Stronachie Highland Single Malt 10 Year Old – also at 43%. With this A.D. Rattray branded malt you actually get the distillery of origin – Benrinnes in this case – unlike the blended offering.

Now 10 year old malts these days are often considered entry level – and I’m afraid my tasting experience only concurred with this hypothesis.

Smooth, easy drinking, well balanced butterscotch, honey & vanilla – just not enough character or oomph for my tastes.

Meanwhile the Stronachie 18 – also Benrinnes sourced but with a slightly higher 46% ABV – gained some lovely dry woody tannins from the extra years in maturation. I was pulled in with it’s suitably more complex , characterful & to my palate anyway – a much more appealing dram.

The next bottle – at least from the label – promised something special.

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Cambus 26yo Single Grain c/othewhiskeynut

A single grain whisky from a closed distillery – Cambus – matured for no less than 26 years  & presented at 59.9% with no chill filtering nor added colouring. – kind of suggests the other bottlings perhaps had added e150 or chill filtering as it wasn’t stated on their labels?

Part of the A.D. Rattray Cask Collection – which changes regularly – I was very happy to try this single grain.

It’s a category of whisky many people dismiss – which is fine – all the more for me to enjoy!

It’s fresh, it’s lively, it’s full of flavour, it’s got character, it’s got strength, it’s got lucious drying tannins & velvety vanilla which just explode in the mouth.

A wonderful whisky.

The final miniature was Cask Islay – an non aged statement (NAS) non disclosed distillery single malt presented at 46%.

Now normally an Islay influenced dram floats my boat – but not this sweet peat. I think I prefer dry ashiness myself.

Perhaps the cask strength offering of earlier had influenced my findings. But I had cleansed my palate after each sample, left a gap in-between & then re-sampled later. All to no avail.

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An outstanding single grain! c/othewhiskeynut

The Single Grain Cambus 26 Year Old is clearly my top of the pile – a stunning drop.

Stronachie 18 Single Malt is a close runner.

The others didn’t make the cut.

Sláinte

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Teeling Single Pot Still, Batch1, 46%

It’s been a long time coming.

Whiskey distillation has returned to Dublin!

I remember visiting the building site that became the Teeling Whiskey Distillery here.

I remember my first visit to the working distillery here.

And I remember drinking their new make Poitin – distilled in Dublin – here.

So it’s a great treat to eventually getting round to tasting their first official whiskey.

All previous Teeling releases are sourced. I’ve enjoyed a fair few of them over the years so this young Single Pot Still has a very high bar to follow – some might say an impossible task – so does it make the grade?

Well – it Smells Like Teen Spirit!

The idea that a just-over-3yr-old Single Pot Still can match the complexity & depth of flavour of malts matured in a variety of barrels for at least 5 years or more – much more in many cases – is frankly ridiculous.

This Single Pot Still is fresh, lively & exuberant.

There’s plenty of sweet fresh fruit on the nose with just a hint of sour new make in the background.

Initially a smooth fruity mouthfeel develops into a dry peppery spice with a good deal of prickly heat.

The dry spices fade leaving a clean tropical fruit finish.

I actually really enjoy it – but it’s hardly an easy smooth tannic laden whiskey of hidden depth & character. It’s a little rough around the edges – nothing a few more years wouldn’t sort out.

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Teeling Single Pot Still & Tuath Whiskey Glass c/othewhwiskeynut

But then this whiskey was never meant to be the finished item.

It’s a work in progress to highlight the maturing process – to keep the adoring fans happy – to keep Teeling in the limelight and to earn a bit of return too.

It’s a historical bottling with a release of 6,000 at an affordable price.

It’s presented at 46% – and like all Teeling releases – there is no chill filtering nor added caramel.

A nice touch is the light blue label which mirrors the Dublin GAA colours.

Let The Spirit Of Dublin roll on!

Sláinte

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An Fear Grinn, 16 Year Old Single Malt, Single Cask, 57%.

Irish Whiskey is in resurgence.

There are a plethora of new players attracted to the market buoyed by the confidence of future growth.

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Proper Truck c/oinstagram

From Conor McGregor’s Proper No Twelve at one end of the scale – to An Fear Grinn – a single malt, single cask offering from private bottler Whiskey Factor at the other end.

I welcome them all.

An fear grinn
An Fear Grinn c/oinstagram

It would be a far more worrying state of affairs if there weren’t any newcomers investing in Irish Whiskey.

What unites both of the above releases is they are both representations of spirit distilled at existing distilleries. Until the new crop of distilleries have matured stocks of whiskey at hand – most new entrants have no alternatives.

Whilst Proper No Twelve is a decent enough standard blend banking on it’s celebrity owner’s popularity – or infamy as the case may be – An Fear Grinn is a single cask bottling from an unnamed Irish Distillery. It showcases a liquid not usually available to the public. A liquid that is normally vatted & watered down as a core range single malt – or even potentially used – in small quantities – to give added flavour to a standard blend – like the one above.

I very fortuitously obtained a generous sample from the Whiskey Factor for evaluation & enjoyment.

Now the first thing you notice is the colour.

It’s very pale.

This is a 16 year old single malt matured exclusively in a single ex-bourbon cask.

It represents it’s natural colour.

Without the use of added caramel – it’s what most of our whiskey should look like.

The simple act of pouring a measure into the Túath glass revealed a pleasing waft of warm vanilla.

Clearly no chill filtering either.

At 57% you’d expect a bit of a punch – yet the nose is very fresh & fruity with a hint of tannic woodiness in the background.

Surprisingly smooth on the palate. The rich tannins make their presence felt before the warm vanilla & citrusy fruits shine through.

It’s only on the finish the cask strength of this bottling makes itself known. An explosion of alcohol mixed in with fabulous flavours dances around in a prickly heat before slowly subduing into an oaky spiciness & fruit finale.

Fabulous stuff!

Sláinte.

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An Fear Grinn is only available via Whiskey Factor here.

Many thanks to Whiskey Factor for the sample.