Tag Archives: Powerscourt Distillery

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.

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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.

OBrother, Opus One, Imperial Stout Aged In Fercullen Whiskey Barrels, 12.5%

OBrother Brewing have tied in with Powerscourt Distillery to use their Fercullen Whiskey Barrels to age this Imperial Stout.

It’s rare you get told the actual barrels used – Fercullen 18 Year Old Single Malt & Fercullen 8 Year Old Single Grain in this instance.

So how does it taste?

Rich, malty nose. Veering to chocolatey & coffee notes.

A wholesome solid drinking experience full of body & flavour.

Sweet rich coffee notes follow up on the finish.

A lovely collaborative brew.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Irish Whiskey Awards 2021, My Blind Judging Results

The Irish Whiskey Awards 2021 were held – in person – at the wonderful Powerscourt Distillery.

Limited capacity excluded my attendance – but I did contribute my blind judging results for the awards.

Blind judging is a great leveller.

Presented before you are identical vials – codes are used to identify the whiskey inside.

Blind judging c/othewhiskeynut

No logos, no back stories, no information as to distillery of origin or casks used, no fancy bottle or labelling, not even whether you’re tasting single malt, grain or blended whiskey.

Just the vials, a glass & your palate.

It’s the most transparent & honest way to explore the flavours of the whiskey before you.

For 2021 I received 3 packs of whiskey for scoring – I, L & B – & didn’t attempt to guess the category or whiskey sampled so as to concentrate on the flavours & differences between each offering.

The reveal – always after the awards evening – gives an insight into my palate preferences.

Category I – Single Malts 12 to 15 Years

Consisting of 12 entrants my average score was 72.5 with a difference of 6.

I found these to be variations of a common theme – not surprising as only 3 or 4 distilleries were producing back in 2009 or earlier – with very tight scoring.

There was a winner,

Jack Ryan Founder’s Touch

With 4 sharing 2nd spot only 1 point behind – Tullamore DEW 12, Gelson’s 12, Pearse 12 Founder’s Reserve & Lough Ree Bridge Series Elfleet Bay.

The actual Award winner was Gelston’s 15 – which came below average in my scores.

Category L – Cask Strength

8 entrants, average score 73.8, difference 6.

Again a lack of diversity with tight scoring.

My winner was,

Dark Silkie Cask Strength

I didn’t detect the peat influence yet it obviously mattered as Dark Silkie was 2 points ahead of the trio that came 2nd – Natterjack CS, Teeling Fill Your Own SPS & a surprise entrant, The Brollach.

Award winner Dunville’s PX 12 CS again was below average.

Category B – Blended, Limited Release

12 entrants, average score 75.9, difference 12.

This category pleased me no end! A more diverse & entertaining array of whiskey resulted in higher overall scores.

A clear winning podium produced,

The Whistler, Calvados Cask

As winner with stablemate Whistler Imperial Stout 2nd & Pearse Marriage Of Malts 3rd.

Award winner was Writer’s Tears Ice Wine Cask.

Thoughts

Congratulations to all the IWA 2021 winners.

They have captured the popular tasting profiles of the judges participating & are clearly crowd pleasers.

They are however not my palate choices. None of the winners broke beyond my averages scores.

By presenting my winners I’m being honest & transparent as to what tickles my tastebuds.

The blended limited release category offered me a far greater diversity & heightened enjoyment all round.

Given too that almost all my winners used sourced product it suggests to me more attention is given to the blending & maturation process over distillation techniques by the brands involved.

These scoring results are also reflected in the content of my blog.

Everyone’s palate is unique & one person’s winners might be another’s losers.

Enjoy what pleases your palate & don’t be afraid to say so.

I enjoy blended whiskey best!

Sláinte

Bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop & Sliabh Liag Distillers.

Fercullen Amarone Cask Finish, Single Grain, 46%

I can’t help feeling single grain whiskey is still trying to escape the slur Messers Jameson x2, Roe & Power attached to it back in 1879 labelling the category as ‘Silent Whisky’ in their anti-Coffey-Still publication ‘Truths About Whisky’.

Truths About Whiskey 1879 c/othewhiskeynut

Powerscourt Distillery’s latest Fercullen Amarone Cask Finish Single Grain is anything but silent.

Fercullen Amarone c/oCelicWhiskeyClub

There’s a bright inviting nose bursting with soft, sweet juiciness.

Very expressive indeed.

Gentle & sweet on the palate.

Grows with intensity exhibiting a warming glow, hints of nuttiness & an engaging tingly finish.

Sample tasting c/othewhiskeynut

Fercullen Amarone expands the horizons of the single grain category.

Sláinte

This sample was tasted as part of the online Celtic Whiskey Club events calendar.

Whiskey Burn, The Distilleries Of Ireland By Vespa, Ben Birdsall.

The growth of Irish Whiskey doesn’t just restrict itself to exciting new brands, bottles & distilleries – it also spins off into a growing library of books on the subject.

One of the most delightful books I happened to read recently was Whiskey Burn by Ben Birdsall.

It combines a travelogue of his adventures round Ireland on a vintage Vespa visiting as many whiskey distilleries as possible – along with an entertaining & informative description of those distilleries themselves – as well as the people, places & characters that shape those distilleries – and perhaps the resultant taste of the whiskey too!

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Packed full of fabulous photography, amusing anecdotes and a quirky sense of humour, Ben manages to capture the essence of Irish Whiskey on his circumnavigation of the Emerald Isle.

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Roe & Co c/othewhiskeynut

Published in 2018, Whiskey Burn is already out of date due to the fast moving explosion of Irish Whiskey.

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Powerscourt Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

Distilleries that were mere building sites or planning diagrams at the time are now fully functional & accepting visitors like Powerscourt Distillery, Dublin Liberties Distillery and Roe & Co.

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Dublin Liberties Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

Others have sadly failed to find adequate backers for their dreams like Quiet Man Distillery.

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Mural in former Officers Mess of sadly closed Quiet Man Distillery building site. c/othewhiskeynut

But as an apt quote in the book says,

” by the time they come out, all whiskey books are out of date”

This however doesn’t detract from the core enthusiasm displayed within Ben’s prose – nor the commitment of the characters encountered.

A must read for any fan of Irish Whiskey.

Sláinte

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