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.
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 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, 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, 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, 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, 44.3%
Bourbon & Sherry cask matured.
Captivating sweet spiciness. More of those wine gums. More body & woody depth showing through. Lip smacking finish.
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.
Honesty & Transparency are current buzzwords in the whiskey world.
The implication being there are dishonest & cloudy whiskeys out there.
But how does this alter the all important factor – taste?
Having always taken these buzzwords as the latest marketing ploy of whichever brands use them – or whiskey fans extolling the virtues of their choice over another – in choosing to blind taste that ‘honesty & transparency’ is turned on it’s head.
What whiskey does your palate enjoy?
It’s no longer about what’s written on the label, the limited edition, attractive bottle or price.
It’s simply 4 vials of whiskey, glassware of choice – and your palate.
Despite the early controversy over labelling – their whiskey has always rated highly with me winning 2 blind tasting categories in the 2017 Irish Whiskey Awards judging sessions I attended.
Perhaps it’s #allaboutthewood – as their slogan goes.
Or could it be the non chill filtration & no added caramel?
The ‘no added caramel’ isn’t actually stated on the labels – but a perusal of whisky.de – where it’s a requirement to say if caramel is added- reveals none.
Whatever the reasons – my palate enjoys Hyde Whiskey & an opportunity to sample 6 of their current range is a delight.
Many thanks to Hyde Whiskey for providing the samples. My thoughts – as always – are my own.
Rather than going by release numbers or dates – all Hyde Whiskey carry significant years in Douglas Hyde’s history as well as release numbers – I’m following perceived wisdom in tasting Blends, Single Grain & Single Malt.
All are presented at a pleasing 46%.
No 6, 1938, President’s Reserve, Sherry Cask Finish
Honeyed vanilla, smooth & easy, clean finish with lovely prickliness.
Having given this top rating in the 2017 blind judging it was great to encounter this one again. It didn’t disappoint.
No 8, 1640, Heritage Cask, Stout Cask Finish
Crisp & clean, lovely mouth coating, flavours develop on a long finish.
A recent newcomer to the range entering the exciting beer cask finished craze. I found it a very engaging offering.
No 3, 1916, The Áras Cask, Single Grain
Rich vanillas, lightness yet full on flavour, classic ex-bourbon cask notes.
I’ve always found this one an attractive whiskey. Love the simplicity & cleanliness of the ex-bourbon maturation which 1916 has in spades.
No 5, 1860, The Áras Cask, Burgundy Cask Finish
Dark fruits, easy sweet mellowness, almost like fruit pastels on the finish.
I do find wine finished whiskey a tad too sweet for my palate – but they’re a winner for others. This is a good example.
No 7, 1893, President’s Cask, Sherry Cask Matured
Rich sweet fruitiness, silky mouthfeel, notes of sweet plums.
Originally released as a 10 year old, now non age statemented, the sweet tooth flavours still come through very well.
No 4, 1922, President’s Cask, Rum Cask Finish
Dark fruitiness, heavier appeal, rich juiciness, touch of spice.
Despite being sweet, the rum finish added depth & body which suited my palate. Very nice!
Trying to choose a favourite among this excellent selection is really down to personal preference with such fine whiskeys.
To narrow it down my winners for each category were;
1938 for the blends,
1916 for single grain &
1922 for single malt.
These whiskey are all winners in my book – but for overall appeal, lovely engaging flavours & attractive bite on the finish – I’m giving top spot to 1938!
Based on an original bottle from the Frongoch Distillery – later to become Frongoch Interment Camp for Irish Republican prisoners – Royal Welsh Whisky exhibits a flavour profile pleasing to my palate – peat.
The historical connections, revival of Welsh Whisky & gorgeous smokey notes all make for a winner to me.