Blacks of Kinsale are currently building their own distillery. In the meantime they have released this core rage sourced Irish Whiskey trio to entice you in.
Presented in attractively liveried bottles bearing their trademark flying crow emblem the names allure to the beer brewing background of Blacks.
I was fortunate enough to be sent a sample pack from Blacks to taste.
All thoughts on the whiskey – as always – are my own.
Triple Threat, 40%
As the name suggests, this Irish Blended Whiskey is aged in a triple cask trio of bourbon, sherry & virgin oak casks.
Light brown in colour. The nose wasn’t giving much away, sweet grainy vanillas. A silky mouthfeel. Honeyed. Drying spiciness on the rear enlivens this solid starter of a blend.
Maple Mayhem, 43%
An unusual one this – aged in maple bourbon casks!
Wasn’t sure what to expect – yet the nose offered up a rich dark sweetness that pulled me in. Smooth palate grows into a surprisingly complex dark honey yet spicy & tingly finalé.
Black Smoke, 43%
A more conventional heavily peated offering.
Have you ever noticed heavy peaters tend to be the palest whiskey out there?
Black Smoke is no exception!
That coastal, iodiney peat is evident on the nose – yet doesn’t overpower. Very engaging on the palate. It’s the finish that excites me. The warming hug of a turf fire heats up & pulls me in with it’s comforting embrace.
A solid sod of turf to please the palate!
This trio of Blacks Irish Whiskey are currently available (Oct ’22) in the sub €50 category level – prices subject to upward pressure in the ongoing economic climate.
They offer a solid & surprisingly complexity of flavour.
Black Smoke would be my whiskey of choice here – but Maple Mayhem engaged me more than I expected with a heavy sweetness that enticed. Triple Threat meanwhile isn’t threatening at all – just a good solid blended Irish Whiskey!
Fabulous to taste the growing array of Irish Whiskey out there – which one would please your palate?
Stripped of any clues as to what’s before you it heightens your senses to the tastes & flavours experienced on drinking the liquid.
Presented before me were 6 samples. I duly poured them into 6 identical Túath glasses & proceeded to savour the contents.
For some reason I thought this was a rum tasting – & quickly revised this theory as No 1‘despite having a bit of a sour nose the lack of body on the palate & high ABV kick signalled to me a poitín! Can’t say it did much for me. Nice experience – but not an approachable spirit’.
There was no No 2 so No 3‘proved intriguing. The pale yellow colour, soft fruity nose, easy palate with slight hints of burnt notes on the rear drew me in. I could drink this one again!’.
With No 4 ‘I experienced a slightly musty nose, indicative of long ageing, perfectly fine palate yet lacked a bit of body & very dry on the rear. Rather nonplussed by this one’.
No 5‘had a sherry like influence, smooth & silky on the palate with a nice touch of dryness on the rear. Could be a low ppm peater? Not quite enough to excite me if it is’.
No 6‘initially blew me away! Suggestive of high ABV. On a 2nd tasting it still didn’t entice me’.
No 7 ‘kinda hooked me, if only for a more pronounced smoky influence. Elegant yet challenging all at the same time’.
So that was it! My initial thoughts are in italics.
Samples 3 & 7 stood out for me in this selection.
So what were they?
3 – Dunville’s 1808, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%
What can I say? A very pleasant easy drinker with enough depth of character to keep me coming back for more.
7 – Smögen 100 Proof, 6 Year Old, Swedish Single Malt, 57.1%
A heavy peater finished in oloroso casks at a challenging high ABV. Think I’d have enjoyed this one more at 46% without the oloroso finish myself.
And the others?
1 – Black’s Single Pot New Make, 63.5%
4 – Jamesons Black Barrel Proof, Blend, 50%
5 – High Coast, Dálvve Sherry Influence, Swedish Single Malt, 48%
A light peater with 50/50 bourbon/sherry influence. A bit of a let down from the original high peater Box Dálvve I enjoyed at Gothenberg Airport here.
Given that Smögen is a bit of a unicorn bottle – hard to get hold of, pricey & limited edition – as are some of the other bottles – I think Dunville’s 1808 performed extremely well on my palate.
I took away a few themes from this tasting. High ABV can blow away the flavours for me & make for a challenging drinking experience. Sherry cask influence isn’t my style of choice & when it comes to enjoyable, affordable drinking – you can’t beat a good blend!
What would your palate have chosen?
Many thanks to fellow Whiskey Blogger S for the blind samples & bottle photo.