Tag Archives: Single Malt

Lough Ree Distillery Tasting in Dead Centre Brewing

It’s not everyday you come away from a whiskey tasting championing a vodka,

But then it’s not everyday you encounter such an innovative drinks producer like Lough Ree Distillery.

Mike Clancy from Lough Ree entertained us with a highly informative talk & introduction to 5 of the companies offerings.

We kicked off with Bart’s – the company’s core Irish Whiskey blend – which I’ve always found very attractive. Read my blog here.

The Dead Centre collaborative Single Malt Whiskey duo were equally well received – with No1 just winning it for me in this 2nd tasting. Read my original thoughts here.

The limited release Bethlehem Bridge Series Single Grain Whiskey proved to be a favourite all round with it’s rich, deep & dark flavours captivating the audience.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

The final spirit was introduced blind.

I began with fresh citrus, another added smokiness, more enjoyed the smooth yet drying mouthfeel topped off with a slight spicy tingling.

Somewhat surprised to learn this was a vodka infused with Irish peat!

Such an entertaining, easy & enjoyable tipple to round up an excellent showcase for all the exciting developments at Lough Ree Distillery.

Sláinte

Lough Ree Distillery website here.

Dead Centre website here.

The Galtee Mountain Boy Irish Whiskey, 40%

It’s a long way to Tipperary

But The Galtee Mountain Boy Irish Whiskey made the journey to Paeder’s Bar in Moate, County Westmeath.

Attractively packaged in a ceramic bottle proudly displaying an old photograph of young volunteers made it stand out on the spirits shelve.

A blend of single grain, single malt & single pot still Irish Whiskey matured in ex-bourbon casks & given a finish in extra charred casks The Galtee Mountain Boy displays a soft caramely nose with a touch of toffee.

Warm mouthfeel with sweet vanilla & darker, richer notes giving some body to the table.

Finishes with a flourish of spice.

An easy yet characterful little number imbued with a rich historical legacy.

Sláinte

Peader’s Bar facebook page here.

Three Counties Liquor website here.

Kinsale Spirits Co, The Triumvirate, Blend, Single Grain & Single Malt, 40% to 43%, Irish Whiskey

I previously tried this attractive trio – blog here – but now they’ve appeared in an eye-catching miniature set complete with historical stories regarding the Earls portrayed & tasting notes on the whiskeys too – I thought I’d give them another go!

Red Earl, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

Triple casked, finished in Rioja casks. This light brown blend has a gentle aroma of soft dark fruits. The palate is quite soft yet there’s a delightful fruit bomb on the finish. An added prickly spice livens up the finish.

A very pleasant offering.

Great Earl, Single Grain Irish Whiskey, 40%

Triple casked, finished in Sangiovese casks. Not come across that wine before! Slightly paler in colour. Finding the nose more expressive than the blend – richer & more redolent. A lovely sweet grainy appeal on the palate slowly develops into a punchier finish.

Liking this one!

Spanish Earl, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 43%

Triple casked, finished in Stout casks. Upping the game with a few extra ABV! A darker shade of straw. Finding the nose a tad muted – but darker & heavier when it does appear. Very smooth & silky palate. The stout cask flavours emerge with dark toffee & burnt toast notes.

Vey attractive.

Thoughts

A terrific trio!

It’s actually hard to pick a favourite from these well presented whiskeys. All lean towards a sweet wine cask finished style with the malt introducing darker stout elements. On this occasion Spanish Earl won me over. What it lost on the nose was more than compensated by a rich finish.

Olé

Kinsale Spirits Co website here.

All images authors own.

Rúa American Single Malt, 46% & Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, 45%

American Single Malt Whiskey is a growing category.

I thought a back to back with one of the new breed of American Distillery’s releases against a more established Bourbon producer was in order.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar

Rúa American Single Malt, 46%

Distilled at the Great Wagon Road Distillery in North Carolina & claiming Irish heritage with the Rúa name is this non chill filtered , natural colour organic, non GMO barley offering.

A lovely richness to the nose. Mild & mellow on the palate. Slowly builds developing into a very attractive & enjoyable array of flavours which dance merrily away.

A very well presented single malt.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, 45%

Hailing from the long established & popular Four Roses Distillery in Kentucky is this Small Batch release. A blend of different bourbon mash-bills with varying degrees of rye content.

I immediately get a warm dry nose – indicative of the high rye content Four Roses is known for. A satisfying mouthfeel where the dry spiciness of the rye interplays with the smooth sweet corn influence. Leaves with that signature prickly spice.

Nice & easy.

Thoughts

I enjoyed both of these!

Trying to pick a winner is a bit tricky.

Do I go for the subtle yet engaging flavours of the newcomer single malt?

Or stick with the bolder rye spices of the established player?

Four Roses are relatively easy to encounter – but I do think Rúa is worth seeking out.

It’s constantly seeking new experiences that engage me on this spirit journey – so Rúa it is!

Sláinte

Whiskey & Philosophy, Editors Fritz Allhoff & Marcus P Adams

Wow!

I’ve never read a whiskey book like this before.

Authors from differing disciplines were invited to submit essays on varying aspects relating to whiskey.

The results are highly entertaining, thought provoking and at times – challenging.

Can you apply Hegelian thought, Aristotle virtue, the philosophy of Dualism, Buddhism or plain old group think & social cohesion to tasting a whiskey?

It’s all in the mix of this publication.

Why do you like one whiskey over another?

Is taste malleable?

Does knowing the master blender, visiting the distillery, being part of the clan, liking the manufacturing techniques, agreeing with the sustainable policies, bottle design, price point all alter our experience of drinking whiskey?

I certainly have my views of the above – and they’ve been further enlightened by the discourse within the pages of this book.

Whiskey & Philosophy is a bold publication full of complexity & rich depth. The diverse elements combine elegantly giving creative excitement to this blended entity.

Highly recommended!

Sláinte

Musings on the Sazerac take-over of Lough Gill Distillery, Co Sligo, Ireland

Great News

Lough Gill Distillery c/oTheSpiritsBusiness

First off – Sazerac taking over Lough Gill Distillery in the wonderful scenery of County Sligo, Ireland is fantastic news for Irish Whiskey as a whole.

It shows the confidence a large international player has in the future potential of Irish Whiskey for them to lay down roots & invest in that future.

Paddy Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Celebrity Brands

I’ve read a lot of guff about Celebrity Brands – a lot of it negative – yet any company not involved in Celebrity Brands at the moment is missing out on the current zeitgeist that’s witnessing massive growth in the category.

Interestingly both Paddy & Michael Collins Irish Whiskey are Celebrity Brands.

The fact those celebrities are historic – and dead – might make them easier to market & handle over current living celebrities.

Nonetheless Sazerac have already boosted sales of Paddy Irish Whiskey since acquiring the brand from Irish Distillers & I see no reason Michael Collins Irish Whiskey cannot follow suite.

Michael Collins Blend c/othewhiskeynut

A sense of place?

Reams of marketing PR & fawning bloggers big up the idea a sense of place is integral to the quality & taste of whiskey.

Outside of a few micro distilleries practicing farm to glass single estate distilling – even then the taste differences can be miniscule – I just don’t buy it.

The original Paddy Irish Whisky was distilled in Cork for the Cork Distillery Company. CDC in turn was merged into Irish Distillers who continued to produce Paddy at New Midleton Distillery. Lough Gill Distillery will now fly the flag.

Will any of the growing band of consumers notice this?

I doubt it.

The brand changes & morphs through time. What it tasted like in 1877 may bear no resemblance to what it is now – or in the future – but it’s still Paddy Irish Whiskey. All that history & rich legacy is part of it – but history & legacy are not actual tasting notes that can be ascertained on drinking a whiskey.

Lough Gill Trio c/othewhiskeynut

Innovation

I’m not expecting much innovation at Lough Gill.

What I am expecting is building on the solidity of both Paddy & Michael Collins Irish Whiskey to expand & grow in both the local and international markets.

Athrú Irish Whiskey is a premium brand currently using sourced aged stock for their lovely product. It’s going to be a bit of a wait before any Lough Gill distillate hits the market under that brand name.

The future

The future looks bright for Irish Whiskey – even brighter for Lough Gill Distillery. Developments at the facility will be eagerly awaited.

I wish all the team at Lough Gill Distillery much future success.

Sláinte

Cork Distillery background here.

Paddy Whiskey history here.

Sazerac buys Lough Gill Distillery here.

Celebrity Brands boost sales here.

Irish Whiskey sales set to overtake Scotch here.

Sazerac Brand list here.

A Visit To The Shed Distillery, Drumshanbo

Herself had booked a 2 night stay in the fabulous new Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway lodges – only a short trip down the road from Drumshanbo.

Meeting friends in the lovely Jackalope Café of the distillery itself for a tasty meal I suggested a tour would be in order & a couple of us tagged along on the last one of the day.

An introductory video led us through the Curious Mind of PJ Rigney – leading onto an explanation of not only whiskey production – but gin & vodka too – The Shed Distillery do all.

No photos are allowed on the tour – but we did see the magnificent copper pot stills that make all the lovely spirit – separate stills for each category – with the attendant malty aromas too!

In the well presented tasting rooms we were led through our 1st sample – the delightful Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey with it’s creamy mouthfeel from the Barra Oats used in the mash-bill.

Interestingly on display were additional grains – including rye – as well as barrel staves – I spotted acacia wood – pointing to exciting future developments from The Shed Distillery.

A gin lab – full of exciting spices & botanicals – complete with replica Sausage Tree for the vodka – rounded off the highly informative & immersive tour before being led to the Honey Badger Bar for a complimentary drink.

A number of choices are available – my curious mind opted for the Sausage Tree Vodka. I can’t say vodka is my usual tipple – but there was some additional depth to the flavour of this extremely well presented offering.

Suitably sated – I had my eyes on the main event – the 2021 Galánta Single Malt release.

Introduced as a limited edition annual release Galánta is delivered non chill filtered, natural colour & 46%

Gentle warming vanilla & caramel offering clean & clear aromas on the nose. Easy gentle mouthfeel develops fuller, richer flavours as it slowly warms the palate. Finishes with a slight prickliness fading away slowly.

A very elegant & softly stated single malt.

Meanwhile an Express The Curiosity cocktail – from an exciting menu – presented with flair & panache was thoroughly enjoyed by my touring partner.

The Shed Distillery excels all round.

Set in the gorgeous Leitrim countryside – we later walked the Shannon Blueway, indulged ourselves at Beirne’s Bar in Battle Bridge & enjoyed the Gunpowder Gin, Sausage Tree Vodka & Drumshanbo Whiskey all made at The Shed Distillery.

Isn’t it about time you visited?

Sláinte

The Shed Distillery website here.

Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway website here.

Shannon Blueway website here.

Beirne’s Inn website here.

Where is this whiskey sourced from?

It’s become an obsession.

I’ve encountered folks refusing to drink a whiskey for not divulging where it was distilled.

Are folks really that petty?

Let’s dial back a bit however & answer a few basic questions.

What got you into whiskey?

For me it was primarily taste & flavour.

The joy of exploring different whiskey using a variety of grains, distilling techniques, maturation & blending practices to produce a never ending cornucopia of brands for my palate to enjoy.

Is where the whiskey distilled important?

Starting out on my journey it wasn’t.

Initially I’d be unaware of the myriad of distilleries around the world – even if they were printed on the label – but as time progressed I’d begin to favour certain flavours & styles over others & take notice of where it came from.

Does knowing where the whiskey is distilled make a difference?

Yes.

My buying & drinking experiences began to be predicated on my previous encounters. A bias or prejudice towards certain styles or distilleries formed which I’ve subsequently worked to overcome. Blind tasting & doing an WSET course worked wonders in this regard & challenged any bias – conscious or not – & helped develop an open mind about the whiskey in my glass.

Do you need to know where the whiskey is distilled?

No.

Legally there is no jurisdiction that stipulates distillery of origin must be named. Usually they are – as it enhances brand recognition – but it’s not necessary. Knowing can automatically engender bias – so I often immerse myself in the taste & flavours of the whiskey in front of me before finding out the details.

What if there’s no information as to distillery of origin?

Enjoy the whiskey.

Blended whiskey by default do not name the distilleries the individual components came from as they are often made up of numerous malts, grains & single pot stills from a variety of changing sources to bring about a uniform flavour in the one brand.

Single Malt & Single Pot Still releases from blenders & bottlers may also be subject to legally binding ‘non disclosure agreements’ from the distilleries involved & whilst they come from a single source – this does not preclude that source changing. Distilleries are capable of replicating the style of another’s to provide consistency of flavour.

What do you want in a whiskey?

An enjoyable drinking experience that excites my palate.

While learning about where it was distilled, who made it & all the other information may enhance that experience – it’s not a prerequisite. If on the other hand knowing those details is more important to you – we’re not on the same page. Giving up the taste & flavour experience to a prescribed set of data that must be met before drinking is rather sad.

The frisson of excitement & growing sense of exploration & adventure in anticipation of tasting a new & unknown whiskey is a joy.

May I never loose it.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

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.