Tag Archives: Port

Dingle Single Malt Batch 4 & Dingle Distillery Reserve, 46.5%

Attending the Irish Whiskey Awards 2019 has it’s attractions.

Like having a tour round the fabulous – and extremely shiny – copper pot stills of Dingle Distillery itself.

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Gleaming! c/othewhiskeynut

As well as tasting the latest Batch 4 release – along with a special Distillery Reserve.

Apart from the spartan label – I had limited time to ask questions. It is fully matured in port casks was all I could glean. Perhaps it’s a component of Batch 4?

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Distillery Reserve c/othewhiskeynut

The rich dark fruity nose was a delight.

Very gentle on the palate to begin with. It took a while for the wonderful port influence to make it’s presence known – but when it did – very rewarding.

Not overly complex, it’s youth hadn’t developed hidden depths. A simple yet satisfying single malt.

Batch 4 by comparison was more rounded – even cultured – with greater depth courtesy of the triple barrel ageing  – bourbon, port & sherry.

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Batch 4 at Dingle c/othewhiskeynut

The nose was gentle & light – yet the palate opened up right from the start.

Sweet warming vanilla & caramel from the ex-bourbon casks mingled with darker fruits from the port interwoven with a gentle drying spice from the sherry.

There was a lot going on and plenty to pull out from this one.

Both were highly enjoyable single malts displaying differing flavours & influences from the woods matured in.

It also demonstrated – to me at least – the art of blending different individual single malt components together to build a more layered & complex whole.

A big thank you to Dingle Distillery for the warm hospitality & conviviality displayed throughout the evenings awards.

Sláinte

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Bimber, 1st Release, 54.2%

OK.

I’ve got this sample bottle.

I deliberately don’t look up the internet to find anything about it.

It’s just me, the whisky, and my palate.

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Bimber is a new distillery in London. c/othewhiskeynut

Lovely dark brown colour.

Crisp, clean & inviting nose suggests port or sherry cask influence rather than added caramel & chill filtering.

I’m getting sweet & dark cherries.

Palate is smooth initially – before flavours burst in along with the high ABV.

More cask influence – more dark cherries over and above a soft vanilla base.

A lovely prickly spice on the finish slowly drying out with the rich dark fruit flavours ebbing away.

A very nice full bodied whisky. Good clean aromas & powerful mouthfeel.

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How much information do you need to enjoy a whisky? c/othewhiskeynut

Bodes well for future releases.

Well done Bimber!

Sláinte

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Irish Whiskey Awards – Blind Tasting

It’s that time of year again when preparations for the Irish Whiskey Awards – to be held in Dingle Distillery on October 17th 2019 – begin with an invitation to members of the Celtic Whiskey Club & Irish Whiskey Society along with other industry representatives to attend a series of blind tasting sessions to select the winners for the evening.

Having taken part for a number of years these sessions give a wonderful insight into the current Irish Whiskey scene – provide a chance to meet up with fellow whiskey fans – and test your palate to find the whiskey that suits!

2018’s entrants were both varied, enjoyable & to my palate at least – great quality.

Breaking with previous protocol – no categories were given – so you could only guess if you were having a single grain or single pot still simply by what your palate told you – and I often guessed wrong!

The following are the results of my 2018 blind tasting.

Irish Blends Under €60

This is usually one of the most hotly contested categories with the largest entrants – and biggest sales!

My scores (out of 100) were rather tight – ranging from the low 70’s to mid 80’s. Out of 25 blends – average scores were 77. I only gave 4 marks of 80 and above.

Top of the pile was Dunville’s Three Crowns Peated.

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Dunville’s Three Crowns Peated c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

A decent peated blend is always a favourite of mine!

Following closely behind was Clonakilty Port Cask Finish,

with Dubliner Whiskey Master Distiller’s Reserve & Pearse Distiller’s Choice coming in joint 3rd.

Single Malts Under 12 Years

Also with 25 entrants – this was a bumper field reflecting the growth in Irish Whiskey.

With a slightly higher average score of 79 there were 9 bottles with scores of 80 & above.

The winner? Connemara Single Malt .

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Connemara Single Malt c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Peat wins out again!

3 joined in 2nd place; Dunville’s PX12 Year Old, Jack Ryan Toomevara 10 Year Old & Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Port Cask.

Single Grains

I really enjoyed this category of only 7 entrants. I found them all to be clean & refreshing whiskey with a good depth of flavour & complexity which resulted in a high average score of 83.

In a closely fought contest featuring a head to head to discern the winner – Teeling Single Grain just pipped the post ahead of Hyde #5 Burgundy Finish.

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Teeling Single Grain c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Cask Strength

A small yet powerful field of only 4. All scored above 80 with an average of 82.

Congratulations to The Whistler 7 Year Old Cask Strength.

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The Whistler & Year Old Cask Strength c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Joint 2nd winners were; Hyde 8 Year Old Single Grain Cask Strength & Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength.

New Distilleries

Again a small field of only 4 with a varied selection of entrants. The low average of 77 reflects a certain ‘works in progress’ as to the quality – and age? – of product coming exclusively from the newest whiskey distilleries in Ireland.

There was a clear winner however.

Dingle Single Malt Batch 3

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Dingle Single Malt Batch 3 c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye & Pearse Lyons Distillery Reserve Cask Strength came in joint 2nd.

I find it reassuring to note some of the same names keep cropping up in my winning choices; Teeling, Hyde & Dingle for example. And it should come as no surprise I enjoy a dash of peat – along with a good bourbon cask matured whiskey. Although if a finish is required port & sherry seem to do well!

I raise a toast to congratulate all my winners – and the actual winners on the evening here.

Looking forward to see what 2019 brings!

Sláinte

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Many thanks to all at the Celtic Whiskey Shop for organising the tasting sessions as well as the awards ceremony itself & the bottle images above.

Bushmills Steamship Bourbon Cask, Single Malt, 40%

It’s always a pleasure to fly away somewhere.

Especially when Dublin is the departing airport with it’s marvelous display of Irish Whiskey – and other countries whiskies too.

A bonus is to try out some of the latest new releases and travel retail exclusives.

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Bushmills Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

By good fortune Bushmills were showcasing their Steamship Collection – including the latest and what seems to be the last bottling of the trilogy.

Named after the SS Bushmills steamhip which supplied the thirsty American market back in the late 1800’s – the trio are all triple distilled single malts presented at 40%.

The first Sherry Cask release didn’t seem to be well received at the time. I felt it lacked a flavour punch myself – but was otherwise a decent sherry bomb style of whiskey and despite initial criticism – seems to be selling well.

The Port Cask release was much more suited to my tastes. Rich sweet dark cherry notes. Nice!

I would have predicted the Port Cask to be my favourite – but then I tried the Bourbon Cask.

The enticingly fruity warm vanilla & caramel notes associated with re-charred casks instantly won me over. There was added depth & flavour to this expression. A lovely warm glow enveloped my palate.

The results of re-charring the casks may not be to everyone’s tastes – but the boosted notes certainly work on me.

Were Bushmills saving the best till last?

Yummy.

Sláinte.

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A Dingle Duel, SuperValu Release v Batch 3, Single Malts, 46.5%.

Dingle have been the darlings of the new breed of Irish Whiskey Distilleries.

Their initial limited release batches marked the beginnings of a rebirth in Irish whiskey and fetched both high acclaim – as well as high prices.

Not being a collector – I prefer to enjoy the contents of the bottle – I did not get involved in entering a lottery to purchase an expression at extravagant cost. Nor auctions to acquire the first bottle off the line.

I generally taste at whiskey shows, media events and bars.

If I’m impressed with what I’ve experienced – and when the cost is more affordable & easier to obtain – I might be tempted to purchase.

The initial bourbon cask matured Dingle’s did not tempt me.

They were young, fresh – even exuberant – single malts from a new company. But taste wise they followed a well worn path.

The PX finished single pot still did impress however. I gave it top spot in a blind tasting event over and above all the Middleton releases at the time. It was new, innovative and grabbed my palate’s attention long before it’s identity was revealed to me.

So when a port cask limited release for supermarket chain SuperValu hit the stores I hungrily hunted down a bottle to savour the contents.

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Dingle SuperValu Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

No flipping for me.

Subsequent to that – a 3rd Batch release was announced. The Cask Strength offering is as rare as hens teeth, yet the Single Malt – again including port casks – was available in my local O’Brien’s and SuperValu stores.

Was this expression just a relabelled SV release?

I had to find out.

So the Dingle Duel was born.

In the left corner, the SV release, limited to 678 bottles. ‘A Marriage Of Port And Bourbon Casks’. As it says on the tin.

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A marriage indeed! c/othewhiskeynut

On the right. Batch 3 Single Malt. A far healthier release number & ‘A Marriage Of Bourbon And Port Casks‘.

Mmmmm. Not much to go on there then.

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Batch 3 back label c/othewhiskeynut

There is a slight difference in colour though.

Now Dingle don’t do added caramel nor chilled filtration – so what you see is what you get – and the SV release was noticeably darker.

On the nose it’s clear these are 2 unique & individual bottlings. The port influence on the SV release is just more pronounced.

It seems Dingle fully mature in the respective casks to begin with and marry the results at a later stage. There must be more Port cask used in the SV release and for me at least – it is more enjoyable for it.

The port influence smoothed over the young bourbon cask matured spirit giving a rather warmer, richer feel. A lovely dry, prickly heat came through at the end too – which suited my palate just fine.

The youthfulness of Batch 3 shone through both on the nose and taste. That’s not to say it’s a bad whiskey – it is want it is – a young fresh even lively whiskey with a decent port cask dressing showing itself in a more balanced, subdued kind of way.. Others may prefer this expression.

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A duo of Dingle’s c/othewhiskeynut

Having both back to back was a very enjoyable way to taste two lovely new Irish Whiskeys.

I look forward to future releases and further developments from this fabulous distillery.

Sláinte.

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Oh! Dingle  may be moving away from the cult collector status that has sustained it’s earlier sales and transitioning into more general purchases. This may not be plain sailing judging from the discounted Batch 3’s in my local store.

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Come and get it! c/othewhiskeynut

 

The One, Blend, 40%, x 3.

My first foray into English whisky!

Well – not exactly.

The One is a blend using whisky from the 4 corners of Great Britain – as it exists at present – Scotland, England, Northern Ireland & Wales.

More of a British blend.

The standard expression – bottled at 40% as they all are – is aged in bourbon casks and delivers a perfectly fine tasting experience for a decent well rounded blended whisky.

The sherry finish adds a delicate sweetness to the mix.

Whilst the port finish delivers added body, depth & colour to my palate – as well as a more satisfying heavy mouthfeel.

The Lakes Distillery near Keswick in Cumbia have yet to release their own distillate – but I look forward to the day they do.

Sláinte

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I sampled all the above whiskies on the Living Room Whisky stall at the 2017 Whisky Birmingham show.

Nant Whisky Bar, Hobart

Recent financial shenanigans in Tasmania only highlight the large stakes at play in trying to develop a whisky distillery.

Nant Whisky Distilling  – which had a somewhat troubled financial history – are currently in receivership whilst the sorry mess is sorted out.

It remains to be seen how this new development will play out for the very attractive looking distillery in Bothwell – which I didn’t manage to visit – and a trio of whisky bars – including the one in Hobart which I did call into.

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The Nant, Hobart c/othewhiskeynut

Situated in the wonderfully attractive quayside area of Salamanca Market in downtown Hobart, The Nant Whisky Bar offers punters a large comfortable space to enjoy an evenings libations.

I happened to be the only customer for an early morning – 11ish – visit on a beautifully sunny yet cold winter’s day – complete with a dusting of snow on the slopes of Mt Wellington which rises up behind the city.

There was a good range of whiskies behind the bar – Scotch, Japanese, Irish & some American too – but I did notice Nant were the only Australian representatives on show. Now OK. This is a ‘tied’ bar – but as Tasmanian whisky is promoting a friendly camaraderie & all the other bars in town had at least 2 or 3 Tasmanian distilleries products on show – it did make me ponder.

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The Nant Bar c/othewhiskeynut

There was a choice of 2 Nant whisky flights to enjoy. The cask strength at 63% – or the standard 43% offering.

Now there are some expressions that are perfectly drinkable at 60% and above – but they are few and far between. I also find adding water a rather imprecise exercise which would probably bring down the liquid close to the 43% level anyway – and as it was still the morning – the standard flight it was.

I think I chose well. Even at 43% there was a strong alcoholic kick on the nose of all 3 single malt expressions.

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Nant whisky flight c/othewhiskeynut

Starting with the American Bourbon Cask, there were the signature vanilla & caramel notes coming through. Very nice – but very familiar. I’d find it hard on a blind tasting to distinguish this Australian malt from the best Scotland or Ireland has to offer.

The American Sherry Cask brought added depth & fruity notes. Whilst the darkest coloured French Port Cask bottle gave the heaviest mouthfeel with deeper & richer notes. The Port Cask – as you may have already guessed – came out tops for me.

Oddly, the Bourbon Cask was the priciest to buy – at tear inducing prices – which when I questioned the bartender, she shot me a look which suggested I shouldn’t follow Kasabian’s advice & Shoot The Runner!

With the future of Nant Distilling now very uncertain – the labels, design & content of any further releases may change. There are barrels still maturing – but who knows what will happen to them.

Perhaps what I sampled back in 2016 are destined to become collectors items never to be repeated again?

I’m just happy to have had the opportunity to taste what I did at the time.

Whisky.

It ebbs and flows on the fortunes & failures of the time.

Catch it while you can.

Sláinte.

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