I thought a ‘warm up’ tasting of this posse of poitín before the inaugural Dublin based event would ease me in.
I knew nothing about Hackler before purchasing this sample from Tiny Tipple. Turns out it was a late 1990’s launch by Diageo – distilled by Cooley – to build the Poitín market. On failing to meet ‘targets’ it was unceremonially dropped.
A rather shy nose, sweet & sour. Easy on the palate. A sweet warming spice on the finish.
A very pleasant easily quaffable poitín – if a tad too artificially sweet for my liking. Smacks as a bit of a crowd pleaser – not sure why it didn’t catch on?
Straw Boys, 46%
Connacht Distillery’s venture into Poitín is presented in a very attractive bottle.
Richly pungent, offering that sour new make nose I associate with poitín. Gently oily palate. Noticeable bite on the finish, leaves with a strong tingling sensation.
A classic poitín drinking experience.
The Big Field, 46%
Distilled using barley grown on Tipperary Distillery’s own ‘big field’ using a 50/50 mix of malted/unmalted barley it’s taken me a little while to sample this one.
A softly muted nose. Wonderfully oily palate. The finish bites with a healthy dose of spiciness.
An extremely varied tasting experience from this trio!
Can’t help thinking Hackler is a toned down poitín to appeal to the masses. Certainly makes for a very easy drinker. Pity it never caught on. Perhaps Diageo were ahead of the curve?
Both Straw Boys & Big Field are a bit more challenging yet offer- to me at least – a grounded authenticity.
With the former you have malted barley alone – while the later has that malted/unmalted mix giving added spice & an enhanced appeal.
It’s hard to pick one out from this diverse & very well delivered variety of poitín styles – but for me Straw Boys does it!
Red Eye Louie’s brand of blended spirits caught my eye.
They do a line of Vodquila, Whisquila & Rumquila which had me tempted.
Unlikely to appear in Ireland – I decided to make my own.
Rather than blending from the same spirit category – Red Eye Louie’s mix up the spirits creating something new & exciting. Not knowing the percentages used nor the original spirit donors – I simply went with what I had & settled on a 1 third to 2 thirds mix weighted towards tequila.
Pressing on the coloured highlights will take you to my original blogs on the liquids.
Not sure what to expect here – or if the spirits will ‘marry’ together – but no venture no gain!
Well the pungent agave nose survives! Shouldn’t have been too surprised. Vodka after all is a neutral spirit suitable for mixing. An oily mouthfeel, more agave notes warming to a pleasant peppery finish.
Could have easily confused this for an actual tequila!
I had to re-check with Azteca to get a comparison. If anything the agave notes were more pronounced with the original – but the vodka had provided a boost to the body of the mix.
I’ll take the Azteca nose, VodQuila body & Azteca finish with this one!
This might be more of a challenge!
Both whiskey & tequila have distinctive characteristics – will they gel together?
In a word – yes!
The agave still came through – but with added vanilla, caramel & a touch of oak. All contributions from barrel ageing. The peppery spice still provided a flourish on the finish.
This blend strayed into reposado style tequila.
I must say I found it very entertaining!
The final push!
How will a funky Jamaican get on with a tasty Mexican?
It’s the funk that plays the nose on this one!
The fruitiness is somewhat subdued by an almost savoury agaviness on the palate & then it all comes alive on the finish. The funk just got peppered!
That’s a new experience for me!
I must say I’ve been mightily impressed with the results!
All 3 blends gave additional body, flavours and/or joie de vivre to the individual components – making for an entertaining & highly enjoyable tasting extravaganza!
I think Red Eye Louise’s are onto something with their pre-mixed drinks – but there’s nothing to stop yourself from experimenting at home.
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?
Continuing my miniature series are a pair of releases from across the pond with links to Ireland.
Great Wagon Road Distilling in North Carolina play homage to their Irish roots with Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin while Canadian company Seagram’s at one time used to own Bushmills Distillery.
So how did I find them?
Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin, 45%
Golden brown in colour, slightly darker than Seagram’s. A pleasant sweet fruity nose, suggestive of sherry influence. Smooth, oily mouthfeel with good depth of flavour. Luscious mouth watering finish, reminiscent of fruit pastilles.
A tad sweet for my palate – but a very entertaining tipple!
Turns out this poitin is made with organic barley & wheat – which perhaps gives the sweetness? – & is rested in new oak barrels.
Really enjoyed this one!
Seagram’s VO, 40%
Pale straw. Grainy sweet caramel. Quite light. Mild & mellow palate. Hints of tingling spice on the finish.
An easy drinker livening up on the rear.
Seagram’s are now part of the Sazerac group who only recently announced their purchase of the Lough Gill Distillery in County Sligo.
A classic Canadian blend.
For my palate Quinn’s provided a richer & more entertaining tipple.
Which one would you choose?
My samples were purchased from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder here.