It’s always a delight to encounter a new Irish Whiskey brand on the shelves of my local SuperValu.
Wrapped in an attractive tin proudly displaying a period portrayal of O’Connell Street in Dublin, including the General Post Office from where the original proclamation was read, starting the founding of the Irish State in 1916.
Proclamation Irish Whiskey certainly stood out among the other brands sharing it’s keen price point.
‘Matured in bourbon casks & blended with a touch of sherry finished malt.’ is the information given – along with extensive tasting notes on the back – as to the contents of this bottle.
A light golden brown colour complete with viscous legs.
Aromas of soft warm caramel, a touch of sherry sweetness & a hint of nuttiness to add some depth & complexity.
Suitably smooth on the palate – but entertainingly so.
The nuttiness follows through into a softly drying sweetness with an added flourish of some oaky spice too.
The finish was rather brief – but Proclamation certainly lifted my spirits!
A very pleasant easy going sipper with a touch of character – and a long pedigree.
The SuperValu grocery store chain announced a new exclusive release of Powers Single Cask, Single Pot Still Whiskeys at a recent event in the NCAD (National College of Art and Design) building in Dublin recently.
The NCAD is housed on the former site of John’s Lane Distillery – the ‘spiritual’ home of Powers Whiskey – and some of the original buildings – and pot stills – are still in situ.
Arriving a little late to the proceedings I happily entered just as Ger Garland – Irish Distillers Whiskey Ambassador – presented the 2 Single Cask releases – Cask 147620 & Cask 104072 – to the gathered audience.
Both are 10 year old single pot stills offered at 46% and are matured in ex-bourbon casks – both 1st fill and 2nd fill casks are used.
I found both of them classic Powers Whiskey.
Warming vanilla & caramel on the nose. A honeyed creamy palate followed by that drying peppery spice I love so much.
Very enjoyable indeed!
The 2 offerings did differ – rather subtly in my estimation – although others picked out more marked divergencies than me.
The consensus seemed to be on Cask 104072 as the most popular representation of a Powers Single Pot Still.
I found the creamy beginning and spicy end more pronounced & better balanced than the alternative cask – although it must be said both were fine whiskeys!
Both releases come complete with an attractive presentation box and will be available in SuperValu stores nationwide in October with a price tag of around €145 each.
With only 276 bottles for Cask 147620 & 216 for Cask 104072 – I doubt they will hang around for long!
My recent travels through Dublin Airport happily coincided with the much heralded release of the Pearse 5 Year Old Cask Strength bottling.
It’s much heralded as it’s the first release from any of the new young bucks of Irish Whiskey Distilleries to hold such an age statement & to have been distilled by their own pot stills – even if in this case the pot stills were originally fired up in County Carlow before being moved into the marvelous surroundings of the magnificent Pearse Lyons Distillery in St James Church, Dublin.
That’s right – a church.
All praise be to whiskey.
The 12th Century church & graveyard was closed for worshipers in 1963 and subsequently fell into decay. It has been wonderfully & painstakingly restored by the Peasre Lyons Distillery team and you can read all about it here.
But back to the whiskey.
Despite being early in the morning – I accepted the sample proffered by the ambassador.
A big hit of cask strength whiskey to blow the old cobwebs away!
Plenty of spirit in this one – but not much going on in the flavour department for me.
Definitely one to be watered down a touch.
Thankfully on my return there was a little package waiting for me.
Many thanks to all at Pearse Lyons for the pretty sample bottle of Pearse 5 Year Old Single Malt at 46%.
Suitably pale in colour – there is no added caramel nor chill filtering in this ex-bourbon cask matured whiskey.
The nose is light, citrusy & fresh. I’d go so far to say a hint of lemon in here.
Soft malty freshness continued in the taste department with a slight spiciness & long mellow finish bringing up the finish.
This isn’t a whiskey that slaps you around the cheeks on first tasting. It’s a gentle, quieter introduction that smooths & caresses as it goes down.
You could say the subtlety and freshness is it’s strength.
Pity it’s a bit lost on me – I’m more a fan of big, bad & bold flavours.
If subtlety is your thing – there are only 1000 bottles of the Cask Strength & 4000 of the Single Malt out there. The Cask Strength is an Airport Exclusive – but happily the Single Malt is already available in the SuperValu chain of stores around the country.
There has been a profusion of barrel aged beers on the market lately.
I welcome this development.
It adds a new flavour profile to both the beer industry – as well as the returning beer barrels being used to flavour new whiskeys.
The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale wouldn’t be the best example according to my tastes.
The bourbon effect is somewhat muted – perhaps not long enough in the barrel? – and the fizz is more suitable for a lager rather than the heavy ale style I enjoy.
There is no mention of who collaborated to bring about this ale.
Alltech are the importers into Europe and although they posses both breweries and distilleries in Kentucky – they haven’t put their name on the product. Yet a trip to their website here does show it as one of their own.
Dingle have been the darlings of the new breed of Irish Whiskey Distilleries.
Their initial limited release batches marked the beginnings of a rebirth in Irish whiskey and fetched both high acclaim – as well as high prices.
Not being a collector – I prefer to enjoy the contents of the bottle – I did not get involved in entering a lottery to purchase an expression at extravagant cost. Nor auctions to acquire the first bottle off the line.
I generally taste at whiskey shows, media events and bars.
If I’m impressed with what I’ve experienced – and when the cost is more affordable & easier to obtain – I might be tempted to purchase.
The initial bourbon cask matured Dingle’s did not tempt me.
They were young, fresh – even exuberant – single malts from a new company. But taste wise they followed a well worn path.
The PX finished single pot still did impress however. I gave it top spot in a blind tasting event over and above all the Middleton releases at the time. It was new, innovative and grabbed my palate’s attention long before it’s identity was revealed to me.
So when a port cask limited release for supermarket chain SuperValu hit the stores I hungrily hunted down a bottle to savour the contents.
No flipping for me.
Subsequent to that – a 3rd Batch release was announced. The Cask Strength offering is as rare as hens teeth, yet the Single Malt – again including port casks – was available in my local O’Brien’s and SuperValu stores.
Was this expression just a relabelled SV release?
I had to find out.
So the Dingle Duel was born.
In the left corner, the SV release, limited to 678 bottles. ‘A Marriage Of Port And Bourbon Casks’. As it says on the tin.
On the right. Batch 3 Single Malt. A far healthier release number & ‘A Marriage Of Bourbon And Port Casks‘.
Mmmmm. Not much to go on there then.
There is a slight difference in colour though.
Now Dingle don’t do added caramel nor chilled filtration – so what you see is what you get – and the SV release was noticeably darker.
On the nose it’s clear these are 2 unique & individual bottlings. The port influence on the SV release is just more pronounced.
It seems Dingle fully mature in the respective casks to begin with and marry the results at a later stage. There must be more Port cask used in the SV release and for me at least – it is more enjoyable for it.
The port influence smoothed over the young bourbon cask matured spirit giving a rather warmer, richer feel. A lovely dry, prickly heat came through at the end too – which suited my palate just fine.
The youthfulness of Batch 3 shone through both on the nose and taste. That’s not to say it’s a bad whiskey – it is want it is – a young fresh even lively whiskey with a decent port cask dressing showing itself in a more balanced, subdued kind of way.. Others may prefer this expression.
Having both back to back was a very enjoyable way to taste two lovely new Irish Whiskeys.
I look forward to future releases and further developments from this fabulous distillery.
Oh! Dingle may be moving away from the cult collector status that has sustained it’s earlier sales and transitioning into more general purchases. This may not be plain sailing judging from the discounted Batch 3’s in my local store.
On Wednesday 11th October SuperValu – an Irish owned retail store, part of the Musgrave Group with 223 shops nationwide – officially launch their new Premium Irish Whiskey range at an event in Dublin.
Being unable to attend – I did pop down to my two local SuperValu stores to see what all the fuss was about.
I must say I got quite excited about the breadth & depth of the range of Irish Whiskey on offer. Especially as it encompasses many of the new entrants into the resurging Irish Whiskey scene – as well as a couple of exclusives.
All the big 3 distilleries – Bushmills, Cooley & Midleton – are well represented with their familiar flagship brands.
A clutch of new entrants offerings are also on display – Dubliner, Glendalough, Hyde, Teeling & Writers Tears whiskeys. All of which are currently sourced from the big 3 distilleries above – until the distillate from their own stills is old enough to be called whiskey.
The exciting dimension comes into play with the inclusion of three new distilleries who are actually old enough to produce & market their own whiskey.
Pearse Lyons Distillery only opened the doors to their marvelous facility in the former St James Church in August 2017. But prior to that their current stills – Mighty Mollie & Little Lizzie – had been fired up in County Carlow laying down single malt distillate which is now included in the two blended offerings of Pearse Original & Pearse Distiller’s Choice Whiskey – both included in the SuperValu range.
West Cork Distillers have had a somewhat rocky relationship with the whiskeyratti – but have been busily laying down distillate, releasing a slew of tasty own label expressions as well as innovative 3rd party brands too. They are actually old enough to release their own whiskey – but have never shouted about it if they are. The 10 year old single malt would be too old to be their own stock – but the new West Cork Dhá Chasca – a non age statement double barreled single malt just could be.
It’s also a SuperValu exclusive.
How cool is that!
So I bought a bottle for later evaluation.
What is even cooler is the poster child for the resurgence of Irish Whiskey – Dingle Distillery – have also released a SuperValu exclusive.
Dingle single malt whiskey matured in both port casks & bourbon barrels has been married together to produce this limited edition release.
Sadly it wasn’t in either of the shops when I visited – but wouldn’t it be great to pick up the cream of new Irish whiskey whilst doing your weekly shopping?
And if you’re really lucky – like I was – you might also bag some of the remaining stock of classic whiskey from the recent past!
If that doesn’t make you excited – you’re not excited by whiskey!