Tag Archives: Rye

Bart’s Blended Irish Whiskey, 46%

My 1st encounter with Bart’s Whiskey – a core release blend for Lough Ree Distillery in advance of their own distillate – was in the comfort & warmth of Skelly’s Bar Ballymahon.

Sitting by an open turf fire I found Bart’s to be clean & fresh with a lively citrusy nose.

A smooth silky mouthfeel with touches of oiliness warmed to me.

Delightful soft kisses of smoky turf on the finish left an engaging dry spiciness melting away.

A highly entertaining & complex whiskey!

The following week found me in possession of a bottle with the chance to explore further.

Meeting Bart’s in Skelly’s had already won me over – but the additional information only confirmed this.

Complete with QR code for all the geeks out there – a lovely passage honoured the memory of Lough Ree Distillery’s founders father Bart.

A component breakdown of the blend explained my brief tasting notes.

Clean & fresh’ equates to non chill filtered & natural colour.

The high – & probably youthful – grain percentage explains ‘lively’.

The pot still ‘oiliness’ is evident.

But the crowning glory – for my palate anyway – is undoubtedly the rye cask & peated malt giving those ‘smoky kisses’ & ‘dry spice’ on the gorgeous finish.

Some demand such information on the bottle.

For me it’s an optional extra & an additional selling point.

Even if all the label stated was ‘Bart’s Irish Whiskey’ – my palate told me this is a damn fine whiskey!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Foxes Bow Irish Whiskey , 43%, Blend

There’s a bright new shiny brand of Irish Whiskey from Limerick creating a few waves.

Using artwork designed by a local illustrator Foxes Bow strikes a bold, fresh & contemporary pose – and that’s only the bottle label!

So what of the liquid?

Positively sparkles on my palate!

A light, clean & fresh nose offers up hints of peppery spice.

Smooth mouth coating palate.

Dries out towards the finish but leaves a fruity juiciness gently fading away too.

The bourbon cask maturation with Oloroso & Rye barrel finishing has created a highly entertaining blend with an engaging array of flavours to tease out.

Very enjoyable!

Sláinte

All images courtesy Foxes Bow website & social media.

Stork Club Straight Rye, 45%, Germany, v’s Balcones Rye, 50%, Texas

Some blogs sink without trace – while others gather a bit of traction.

There’s little advance knowledge as to what will – or won’t – capture attention beforehand & it’s often the unexpected that gets results.

Old Grand-Dad was one of them.

Living up to it’s ‘cult’ status a fellow whiskey fan expressed interest in sample swaps.

As I’m sitting on close to 100 opened bottles that will damage my health if I drank the lot – I’m still damaging my wallet by eagerly seeking the next flavour adventure.

My cupboard is always open for exchanges so Old Grand-Dad went one way & a couple of ryes came mine.

2 rye c/othewhiskeynut

I was very pleasantly surprised by the package!

c/oStork Club Distillery

Stork Club Straight Rye, 45%, Germany

My previous encounter with this distillery was back in 2015 when I came across their rather enticingly labelled Sloupisti Single Malt.

Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de

Sloupisti has undergone both an ownership & rebranding exercise since – resulting in the Stork Club Rye before me.

The nose exuded an earthy, almost farmhouse style of rye.

A very grounded feel to the palate. Rich & vegetal, powerful yet smooth.

A signature dry rye spice finished of proceedings – undoubtedly boosted by the 45% ABV.

Stork Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Using German grown rye & partially aged in German Oak has brought out a rather unique taste of locality & place.

Very enjoyable.

c/oBalcones

Balcones Rye, 50%, Texas

Balcones also briefly entered my sphere with an entertaining sample of their Single Malt Whiskey.

c/oBalcones

This Texas Rye initially offers up a more traditional nose of sweet vanilla & dark caramels.

A rich earthiness – not normally found in US rye – began to make it’s presence felt in a very attractive & enticing way.

For 50% I found Balcones Rye to be full of flavour with a rich warm spiciness on the finish wrapped up with a hint of tobacco too!

Dry yet lip smacking all at the same time.

Using Texas grown rye – along with crystal, chocolate & toasted rye in the mashbill – a melange of unexpected & highly engaging flavours were experienced.

Balcones Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Thoughts

Both these ryes are a delight.

Using mashbills & ingredients not normally encountered elsewhere the range of flavours are boosted adding a richness of depth & complexity I found very alluring.

Both push the rye category forward in new & exciting ways.

Suits me!

Sláinte

DOT Brew, Session Rye Revisited, 4%

I don’t just enjoy a rye whiskey – I’m also partial to rye in beer.

The grain imparts different qualities to the beverages.

In whiskey there’s usually a light sweet aroma, rather dry palate & a gorgeous spiciness to finish.

In beer I loose the spice.

Rye beer c/othewhiskeynut

With this Session Rye from DOT Brew a light sweet & fruity nose kicks things off.

Definitely dry on the palate.

Then fades rather quickly leaving you wanting more!

Back label c/othewhiskeynut

Rye grain is harder to work with – which is probably why it’s use faded over the years.

Makes it all the more enjoyable to savour when it does appear!

Sláinte

A Blind Tasting Experience

In a departure from the usual – today’s blog is courtesy of the Irish Whiskey Stone Company who received one of my blind tasting packs.

This is the experience they enjoyed!

“About a week ago I saw a post on Twitter by a whiskey reviewer, @2DramsofWhiskey of Westmeath Whiskey World, in which he showed a picture of some vials of whiskey and informing us that he was going to be doing a blind whiskey tasting. I replied to his tweet asking what was a blind whiskey tasting and how does one go about doing it. Not really expecting an answer, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got a reply telling me that it could easily be arranged!

This was followed with some private messages in which I then had to admit that I know next to nothing about whiskey (which may surprise some of you, considering I sell whiskey stones but how and ever…)

That didn’t put the reviewer off and before I knew it, here I was with 3 samples of whiskey to try out.

I have to admit, it took me a few days to get around to doing it and a certain amount of mental preparation (don’t know why but I was quite daunted by this task!).

Anyway, today was the day. I got out the samples, I found three glasses, got a spittoon glass at the ready and a bottle of water to clean my palate between tasting.  

I got a pen and paper out ready to make some notes and cracked open Sample D. I poured some into a glass and first took note of the aroma, which struck me as quite sweet. I sipped and let it rest in my mouth, closed my eyes and thought for a moment about the flavours. The two flavours that struck me the most was citrus and wood. I then added a wee drop of water to see what flavours this would release and the sweetness became more intense. I found this sweetness too much for my liking to be honest.

Sample D West Cork Peat Charred Cask

I washed my mouth out with some water and proceeded to try out Sample E. Again, the first thing I noted was the aroma. This time I could almost detect the freshness of the sea. (probably not remotely a technical whiskey tasting term but it fits for me). This whiskey had a very pure taste and I found it very pleasant indeed.

Sample E Kilbeggan Rye

On to Sample F I went. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could catch a hint of peatiness. I like peat but not too much of it so I was wary. However, this was not overbearing at all. I tasted. Wow, what an explosion of flavour in my mouth. There was an almost orange tang of it but it was a little sharp for me. Having said that, I think this would be an amazing after-dinner tipple.

Sample F Mackmyra Reserve Cask

I gathered my notes and what you have just read is my semi-coherent interpretation of them. 

So, there you go. My first whiskey tasting. I actually really enjoyed it and it was a good challenge to write about it too!”

Many thanks to Irish Whiskey Stone Company for sharing their thoughts.

Have you tried blind tasting yet?

Sláinte

Bacoo, 4 Year Old Rum, 40%, Dominican Republic

Aldi are upping their spirits game.

Established brands are now hitting the shelves in addition to Aldi’s own offerings.

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Benchmark No 8 c/othewhiskeynut

Benchmark No 8 – a decent high rye bourbon from the Buffalo Trace stable in Kentucky – represents the whiskey category.

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Bacoo in a Tuath glass. c/othewhiskeynut

Bacoo 4yo does the honours for rum.

Presented in an attractively embossed bottle – common throughout the range – Bacoo offers  ‘Made with Fresh Cane Juice’  &  ‘Aged in Ex-Bourbon Barrels’  as temptation.

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Yummy! c/othewhiskeynut

Fresh & fruity notes greeted me, touches of sugarcane grassiness, slight funk & dollops of demerara too.

Vanillas & caramel dominated the palate over that sweet sugarcane base.

A flourish of welcoming spice wrapped up this smooth – if rather sugar heavy offering.

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Bacoo back label c/othewhiskeynut

A fun, easy going rum vying for sweet dessert status.

Sláinte

Good Logo

Shefford Manor, Canadian Rye, 40%

Shefford Manor was a popular drinking den during the prohibition era – at least according to the story on the label of this Canadian Rye.

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Shefford story c/othewhiskeynut

Very pale in colour – even for  ‘Aged 3 Years’.

The aroma was quite dry. Not a lot going on. A bit spirity & young.

Entertaining on the palate though.

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Pleasant rye. c/othewhiskeynut

Candyfloss sweet. A lush mouthwatering spice crept in leaving a prickly finish.

There was a smoothness to the rye. A depth not expected on such a young offering.

A pleasant enough sipper.

Sláinte

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Old Pepper 1780 Straight Whiskey, 43%, in Bourbon St, Gothenburg.

It’s February in Gothenburg.

I’ve had a few – more is promised – a feed is in order.

Don’t all the bars do food?

Bourbon St – maybe a burger will suffice?

Yes – burgers indeed – and what to drink?

Well I’ll stick with the American theme & order that distinctive black & gold labelled square bottle I don’t recognise.

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Old Pepper c/othewhiskeynut

Old Pepper 1780 Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey made my glass.

Mmmmmm!

The usual candy floss sweetness on the nose – but with an attractive spiciness to boot

A decent wholesome mouthfeel.

That spice coming through stronger.  Suggests a high rye content – although the virgin oak tannins could be working their magic too.

A very easy & engaging bourbon with a touch of drying spice on the finish to add character.

Who’s behind this one?

A spot of googling reveals a firm by the name of Venturi Brands.

Old Pepper 1
Trademark dispute c/otrademarkandcopyrightlawblog

Despite the trademark dispute Old Pepper was certainly a tasty little number – along with the enjoyable burger & chips!

Sláinte

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Velvet Cap Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

Well I’ve gotta hand it to Peter Mulryan & all the team at Blackwater Distillery for launching a sourced volume bonders blend & getting it seriously appraised by the Whiskey Nerd community.

Many other similarly styled brands are regularly lambasted.

But first to the whiskey.

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Velvet Cap c/othewhiskeynut

A rich reddy brown hue with an invitingly warm hug of a nose.

The palate had a depth & complexity resplendent of the port, stout & rye cask finishing having worked their magic.

A touch of drying spiciness at the end added a final flourish to this characterful little blend.

An easy, entertaining & accessible whiskey that fulfills the brief Blackwater intended.

The much publicised launch coupled with the delightful sample package ensured a wide audience for the Facebook Live event.

Peter gave a fairly precise potted history of both the origins of Velvet Cap – as well as a synopsis of the modern Irish Whiskey Industry.

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Velvet Cap sample c/othewhiskeynut

I welcome the growing diversity of styles, brands & flavours coming out of this wonderful renaissance in Irish Whiskey globally.

The rather narrow & monopolistic view that defined Irish Whiskey of the recent past is inhibiting the future growth today.

The mantra of honesty & transparency is leading to some entertaining avenues – and focuses the debate onto what is or isn’t written on the label – rather than on what the whiskey actually tastes like.

Does a whiskey that says the ‘wrong’ things taste worse than any others?

An emphatic NO from Whiskey Nut.

Hyde came in for a lot of criticism on this front.

Interestingly in blind tastings, the brand always scored highly on my palate, irrespective of the labelling – which has been amended.

The blended whiskey market is a crowded category. Most of the people purchasing these brands are not whiskey nerds.

The finer details of the sales patter, cask maturation, mashbill composition or distillery of source may not be to the fore here – but taste & accessibility might.

Taste is very subjective.

An interesting analysis of taste came my way recently. A worthy read.

So when someone says;

‘I’m enjoying Velvet Cap’

It’s better than 500 words of BS any day!

Sláinte

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JG Kinsey, Special Reserve, Blended Scotch, 40%

Wow!

This one gives a lot!

I picked up this bargain basement blend working my way through all the whiskeys available in my local Dunnes Stores.

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JG Kinsey founded 1892 c/othewhiskeynut

JG Kinsey also comes with gin & vodka options & I had it down as a store brand.

WRONG!

Jacob G Kinsey was an american gentleman who founded the Linfield Distillery in 1892. Pennsylvania was – and still is – associated with rye whiskey. A successful business flourished, floundered, merged & was subsumed into the giant International Beverage Holdings Group.

Kinsey’s name lives on with this current offering – plus numerous blogs & posts about the now abandoned plant at Linfield.

Linfield
Linfield Distillery c/opre-pro.com

Interestingly New Liberty Distillery in Philadelphia – who have a connection with Connacht Whiskey in Ballina – also name check Kinsey with a range of Bourbon, Rye & American Whiskey.

With all this proud heritage – would the liquid inside the bottle deliver?

Well the nose had that sweetly honeyed, richly caramelised aroma – with a touch of depth.

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Some pedigree c/othewhiskeynut

As the label states – it was definitely smooth – but the body displayed a lovely wholesomeness which flourished on the finish into a gorgeously drying spiciness.

The source of this depth no doubt comes from the more meaty style of malts produced at the Balmenach, Balblair & Speyburn distilleries of the InterBev Group.

They give the blend a more robust kind of ‘Highland’ appeal – which suits my palate.

A bargain basement beauty!

Sláinte

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