Tag Archives: Single Malt

Limavady Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 46%

There’s been a lot of publicity around Limavady Whiskey.

Not too surprising really – as Whistle Pig are partners in the venture.

Having said that – any liquid I’ve tasted from the Whistle Pig stable has been top notch – so I’m expecting similar high standards from Limavady Whiskey.

The bottle certainly stands out.

Embossed with ‘1750’ – the date of the original Limavady Distillery formerly ran by master distiller Darryl McNally’s ancestors – crowned with a leaping dog logo below an unusual bulbous top & a natty glass stopper.

The label displays Barrel & Bottle Numbers too.

Bodes well – so how does it taste?

A very appealing deep golden brown colour – no mention of added caramel or chill filtering.

A dark, richly inviting aroma of stone fruits, slight nuttiness & warm maltiness.

Clean, crisp & refreshing on the palate.

The finish comes alive displaying sweet juicy fruitiness contrasting with a lively & enjoyable prickliness dancing merrily around. Leaves a lovely drying sensation slowly fading away.

Well that’s one leaping dog having leapt on my palate to great effect!

Lovely Limavady!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

This bottle of Limavady was provided by their PR company.

All views are – as always – my own.

The Irishman, Founder’s Reserve, Blend, 40%

At one time I had a whole box of miniatures – they’re almost all gone now.

This Irishman Founder’s Reserve is the core blend from Walsh Whiskey.

I’ve always enjoyed it – even against their single malts.

Perhaps the 30% single pot still component adds a touch of depth & spice to the remaining 70% single malt mix?

Perhaps the rich, creamy viscosity enhances the experience?

Whatever.

The old adage ‘ greater than the sum of it’s parts’ certainly holds true for Founder’s Reserve.

Worth checking out.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

A JJ Corry tweet tasting.

It was lovely be be reacquainted with JJ Corry Whiskey again.

As part of the Celtic Whiskey Club tweet tastings, samples of The Flintlock Batch 3 & The Hanson were enjoyed.

Having paid a visit to JJ Corry even before their first release hit the market – it’s been wonderful to watch their growth in the category.

Specialising in small batch exclusive releases using distillate from numerous sources & matured in their own barrels on site at Cooraclare – JJ Corry Whiskey is always a delight to savour.

Capturing the ‘transparency & honesty’ brigade with additional information & stories – I prefer to let the whiskey speak to my palate for appraisal.

The clarity, freshness, delicateness & even lusciousness of the flavours of JJ Corry can only come about by foregoing chill filtering & added caramel.

The 46% sweet spot – the ABV point where the whiskey doesn’t go cloudy with ice – also adds a degree of bite & excitement.

The Hanson – a blended grain – delights in light delicate flavours showcasing warm woody notes complimented by sweet grainy distillate.

The Flintlock – a single malt – displays a deeper dark stone fruitiness coupled with hints of leather from the long ageing in ex-bourbon & sherry casks.

The tasting ended all too soon – luckily I had some reserves!

An unlabelled bottle containing a long forgotten sample of JJ Corry Whiskey.

Exhibiting a slight oiliness with a gentle soft smokey kiss on the finish – this one easily became my favourite!

Could it be The Battalion? A blended whiskey finished in ex-tequila & mezcal casks?

Who knows?

What I do know is that JJ Corry release a fabulous range of whiskey to sip, savour & enjoy.

Sláinte

Bottle images courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop, others 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.

Flight Of The Earls, Irish Whiskey, 40% to 63.48%

When Red Earl first appeared with it’s cartoon like imagery it was somewhat overlooked.

c/o TinyTipple

Now available in 4 differing styles. – with varying images too – The Flight of the Earls make for a striking posse of whiskey.

It’s about time I discovered the flavours behind the brand – so ordered up a tasting pack from Tiny Tipple.

Red Earl, 40%

A blend aged in bourbon, sherry & rioja casks.

Warm, inviting & fruity sweet nose. Juicy mouthfeel with a lip smacking finish.

A lovely well balanced flavoursome blend.

c/o KinsaleSpiritCo

Great Earl, 40%

A single grain aged in recharred & virgin oak barrels, finished in Sangiovese casks.

A dry, clean & clear nose. The wine influence makes it’s presence felt on the palate followed by a lovely frisson of oaky spice on the rear.

Nice!

c/o KinsaleSpiritCo

Spanish Earl, 43%

A single malt matured in bourbon casks & finished in rum & stout casks.

Yum yum – a juicy depth to this one! Rich maltiness on the palate with a solid backbone of darker delights. Opens up further on the finish with a spicy prickle, soft hints of roastiness & an engaging dryness.

Red Earl, Cask Strength, 63.48%

A cask strength version of the Red Earl blend.

Despite the high ABV the nose is still inviting – with just a suggestion of high alcohol presence. The triple cask maturation notes roll over each other in a wonderful flourish of flavour – before a drying hit of alcohol kicks in with an explosion of power.

I don’t subscribe to the notion cask strength is automatically superior to 40% – but Red Earl CS wears it well.

Thoughts

The Flight of Earls impressed me.

Full of flavour, full of style & a hearty bunch of characters too.

The pale colour of the quartet also points to a lack of added caramel.

It’s a delight to taste them all back to back to explore both the differences – & similarities – that run through the collection.

It’s hard to pick a winner from this flight of beauties – but for me the ease of drinking, clarity of flavours & enjoyable flair on the finish – I’m giving it to Great Earl.

What would you choose?

Sláinte

Images authors own unless stated.

Clan Colla, 11 Year Old Blend & 19 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

Ahascragh Distillery in County Galway is beginning to take shape.

Conversion of the Old Mill – situated in the heart of the pretty village – into a modern Irish Whiskey Distillery & Visitors Centre is ongoing.

The new café is already welcoming customers & offers branded gifts alongside light refreshments.

For the harder stuff – a visit to one of the local hostelries is suggested. Nearby Katie Daly’s Bar was open the day I visited.

In advance of their own whiskey being produced Ahascragh Distillery have released a trio of sourced spirits – Xin Gin, Clan Colla 11yo Blend & Clan Colla 19yo Single Malt.

Clan Colla 11 Year Old Blend

A lovely rich, warm glow of dark vanilla & deep inviting leather notes signifies to my tastes a classic ex-bourbon cask matured whiskey.

Hints of juiciness & stone fruit succulence on the palate.

The finish gradually dries out & I was left with an attractive bite giving added character & flair to this very attractive blend.

Clan Colla 19 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

Like slipping down into the warm embrace & comforting hug of a generously padded old leather armchair!

The bourbon cask has worked it’s charms on this silky smooth yet wholesome & juicy malt.

Delightful.

Thoughts

A stupendous & stunning duo to launch the McAllister family’s adventure into the whiskey business.

For my palate the 11yo offered that extra oomph with being finished in peated casks additional to the oloroso featured across both whiskey.

I didn’t detect any smokiness but that dryness & attractive frisson of bite on the finish won me over.

Best wishes to Ahascragh Distillery!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

The Macallan, Sherry Oak Cask, 12 Year Old, 40%

I’ve never got round to buying a bottle of Macallan.

I did start off drinking easy sweet sherried whisky.

But since then a liking for punchy rye or smokey peat has grown & I’m not sure if Macallan deliver that style – so I’m not too pushed.

There’s also the hype around the brand.

High prices at auctions, glowing reviews, fantastic new distillery.

I’m always wary of hype – but my curiosity to explore overcame those inhibitions when a miniature sample came my way.

Macallan 12 c/othewhiskeynut

The Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Cask is billed as a classic – let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Well it’s certainly richly sherried – almost juicy.

Very smooth delivery – a bit too smooth for my tastes.

A tingling of dry spice on the finish wraps up this elegant & easy sipper.

Still not convinced enough to buy a bottle!

Sláinte

Black’s 18 Year Old, Irish Rum Cask Finish, Single Malt, 56%

Black’s Brewery & Distillery have been satisfying thirsty drinkers for nearly a decade.

Their beers proved a hit on the growing craft beer scene with hop forward offerings – sadly not to my tastes – building a loyal following.

Black’s moonshine c/othewhiskeynut

Moving into the distilling scene Black’s excited me more with an early BlackMoon XXX release which pleased my palate.

Black’s Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Several entertaining whiskeys of sourced distillate also went down well.

Black’s Rum. c/othewhiskeynut

Black’s own wholly Irish produced Golden Rum certainly wowed my senses – as well as The World Rum Awards!

Black’s 18yo Rum Cask c/oBlacks

This latest premium 18 Year Old Single Malt has been finished in barrels used to mature that Irish Golden Rum – a world first!

Luckily a sample from Black’s of this limited edition release came my way.

Black’s 18 c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely golden hue.

Gorgeously rich aromas. Thinking rum & raisin, gentle woodiness – yet almost earthy.

Initially sweet & easy notes of soft caramel infused with stronger oakiness coat the palate before the 56% ABV kicks in with a joyful explosion of power.

A prickly tingling of gently drying spiciness faded slowly away.

A very attractive & alluring malt indeed.

Pity it’s a bit beyond my price range!

Sláinte

Black’s Brewery & Distillery kindly supplied the sample.

All views – as always – are my own.

The Busker Whiskey Range, Blend, 40%, Single Grain, Single Malt & Single Pot Still, 44.3%.

Ever since the split between Walsh Whiskey & Illva Saronno over the direction of produce distilled at Royal Oak Distillery – premiumisation vs mass market in my estimation – I’ve noticed far more glowing coverage of Walsh Whiskey – now a sourced brand – over and above Royal Oak – who are one of only a few Irish Whiskey Distilleries able to distill all 4 styles of Irish Whiskey – Blend, Single Grain, Single Malt & Single Pot Still – under one roof.

The fabulous Royal Oak Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

Normally there’s a ‘hoorah’ over a new distillery’s first offerings – but for Royal Oak it was a mere whimper.

The Busker range is widely available in the US.

For now in Ireland it remains in specialist shops.

I was waiting for it to appear in my local supermarket – but opted for a sampler pack from Dick Mac’s Bar instead.

The Busker samples c/othewhiskeynut

The Busker range is entirely Royal Oak’s own distillate – which I’ve yet to witness on the shelves – and is a marvelous milestone in the growing diversity of Irish Whiskey.

The livery of the bottle is bold, striking & contemporary – a refreshing modern look.

The Busker range is available for the attractive price of €40 for the singles & €30 for the blend.

So how did I find them?

Triple Cask Blend c/oTTB/Colasonline

Triple Cask Blend, 40%

Triple distilled, triple cask – bourbon , sherry & marsala – a blend of Single Grain, Single Malt & Single Pot Still.

Quite a rich & fruity aroma. The sherry influence appears to dominate. Juicy fruitiness on the palate – like wine gums. An enjoyable tingling spice on the finish which gradually dries out.

Lovely complexity at a pleasing price.

Single Grain c/oTTB/Colasonline

Single Grain, 44.3%

Bourbon & Marsala cask matured.

Gentle & subtle. Hints of woodiness. Clean & fresh palate. Dries out on the finish with a frisson of spice.

A characterful & engaging single grain.

Single Malt c/oTTB/Colasonline

Single Malt, 44.3%

Bourbon & Sherry cask matured.

Smooth maltiness. Lovely sweet juicines on the palate. A delightful drying spice on the finish.

Easy & engaging.

Single Pot Still c/oTTB/Colasonline

Single Pot Still, 44.3%

Bourbon & Sherry cask matured.

Captivating sweet spiciness. More of those wine gums. More body & woody depth showing through. Lip smacking finish.

Nice!

Thoughts

There’s a common sherry influenced theme running through all these whiskey. A pleasing sweet juiciness followed by a drying spiciness – but for me the added complexity of the single pot still wins out on the day.

A very welcome addition to the growing diversity of Irish Whiskey.

Sláinte