Tag Archives: Tuath Glass

An Fear Grinn, Tide’s In, 13 Year Old Single Cask, Single Grain, 57.8% & Gullion, Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 46%

An Fear Grinn – Dundalk’s Own Whiskey – have released some cracking independent bottles over the last few years.

Much appreciation to them for providing this latest pair for review.

As usual I cracked them open before reading up on what they were & my initial tasting notes are in italics.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

An Fear Grinn Tide’s In, 13 Year Old, Cask Strength, Single Cask, Single Grain, 57.8%

Gentle warm caramelly nose with hints of leathery depth, lovely mouth coating experience, gorgeous complexity of flavours come through on the finish, hints of smoke, oaky wood & a prickly excitement too.

Lovely!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Gullion, Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 46%

Light, bright & fruity, gentle palate, mild mannered, easily accessible offering yet retains a depth of character & engaging attractiveness.

Nice!

Thoughts

All An Fear Grinn are presented non chill filtered & natural colour. It shows in the richness of flavours & joie-de-vivre of the delivery.

I was slightly taken aback on finding Tide’s In to be a 57.8% single grain matured in ex-bourbon & finished in oloroso. Nothing silent about this one & no need for water.

Gullion turned out to be a bourbon matured, rye finished single pot still – which explained the prickly dry spice I experienced on the finish. A novel approach to presenting a single pot still – which worked for me.

Both are delightful whiskey to sip, savour & enjoy. My palate leans towards the rather-too-easy-to-enjoy-at-cask-strength delights of Tide’s In – but yours might go the other way.

Either way – you’re in for a treat!

Sláinte

2 Controversial Whiskey Blends, John L Sullivan, 40% & Celtic Nations, 46%

Both these whiskeys attracted a degree of controversy when originally released.

Most of it centred around the interpretation of ‘rules’ – but I was curious to taste the results.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey, 40%

Named after a famous Irish/American boxer of the late 1800’s – which attracted initial upset – an original bottling of John L Sullivan displayed the legend ‘Irish Bourbon’.

Image courtesy Whiskey Jug

Attempting to celebrate the Irish/American heritage with a blend of Irish & Bourbon whiskeys fell foul of labelling laws & the bottle was withdrawn.

Before me is a sample from a bottle labelled John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey – aged in bourbon casks.

Pale straw in colour, shy nose, not giving much away, smooth easy palate, gentle growing warmth with a hug of sweet vanilla & caramel, flourish of mild spice on the rear.

An easy going entry level offering.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Celtic Nations, 46%

A collaboration between the Irish Teeling Whiskey Co & Scotch Bruichladdich Distillery to create a harmonious blend of single malts to celebrate the 2 nations spirits.

Didn’t meet the approval of the SWA & was banned.

Pale straw colour, gorgeous expressive nose of gentle peat coming through, the palate displays more soft Irish notes before the embers of a peat fire warms up the finish.

An entertaining soft peater.

Thoughts

Both of these whiskeys had great potential.

The pugilist inspired John L Sullivan pre-dated the global success of Proper Twelve & there’s been subsequent Irish/American Whiskey/Bourbon collaborations on the market since.

Cross nation blends have been a staple earning for both Scotch & Irish distilleries over the years – mainly for the lower end of the market. Perhaps this high profile open & transparent offering was just too much for the SWA?

Whatever the reasons – controversy is not a tasting note I encountered in either of these blends.

Sláinte

A Rum Blind Tasting – 2 Killowens & a Copeland on reveal.

Well – I assumed they were rums!

Having previously arranged sample swaps from a number of sources – by the time of arrival I’ve often forgotten what’s been chosen from whom – rather than look up past correspondence I simply pour, taste & enjoy.

This frees me from any undue bias towards particular brands or styles.

Nor do I sit with them for long.

The samples are poured – 3 in this instance – viewed to compare colour – no noticeable difference here – sniffed, swallowed & immediate tasting notes scribbled.

A few minutes later Sample C was the clear winner.

Notes in italics were written before the reveal.

Copeland Bordeaux Grand Cru Rum, 42% – Sample C

Image courtesy Master Of Malt

Super bad, super funky! Rich & smooth tasting treacly palate. Gorgeous funky finish. Bit of prickly spice.

Nice one!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Peated Dark Rum, 58.1% – Sample B

More depth & more funk – than Sample A. I tasted A to C – Smooth delivery, nice mouthfeel. Opens up on rear, prickly finish. Good depth of flavours.

Enjoyable!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Dark Rum, 55% – Sample A

Nice nose, soft, sweet, rum like, slight funk. Bit sharp. Bite on finish, prickly spice. High strength?

Bit of an experience!

Thoughts

Well that was an enjoyable tasting – 3 lovely rums with a clear winner!

The smooth delivery, rich flavours & gorgeous funkiness of Copeland’s Grand Cru instantly won me over.

The 2 Killowen’s funk just didn’t shine in comparison & sadly – I have to admit – the high strength of Dark Rum was a bigger defining feature than the subtle flavours within.

Their Peated Dark Rum however – despite being stronger at 58.1% – did excite & while I didn’t detect the peat presence it clearly influenced my choice. Nor did the high ABV deter.

Where would your palate have taken you?

Donaghadee is where I’m going to replenish my rums!

Grace O’Malley Rum Cask, 42%, Blend

Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey burst onto the scene a few years ago with their bold imagery re-energising & modernising the Pirate Queen the whiskey is named after.

Being blenders, bonders & independent bottlers, Grace O’Malley can stock barrels from any number of Irish Whiskey Distilleries & use them to create their own unique style.

I still have remnants of their Dark Char & Rum Cask – which you can read about here – but it’s the newly released Rum Cask I’m focusing on today.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

First thing I notice is the pale colour – reassuring perhaps of no added colour?

A rich dark sweetness on the aroma – rum wine gums anyone?

Smooth, sweet & deliciously mouth coating on the palate.

A gorgeous growing frisson of warm spice – getting nutmeg & cinnamon – on the finish with just a hint of funky depth to top things off.

An engaging little number from the Grace O’Malley fleet.

Sláinte

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.

Uisce Beatha Irish Whiskey & Celtic FC Irish Whiskey, 40%

Continuing my exploration of recent Irish Whiskey offerings that may have slipped into history are these 2 blends.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Uisce Beatha Real Irish Whiskey, 40%

Released by ROKDrinks – a large multinational company with a varied range of branded products.

Pale in colour – which I always find reassuring. Quite light & gentle nose. Surprisingly rich depth on the palate of sweet vanilla. Lovely warmth to this one with a pleasant prickly frisson on the finish.

Very engaging.

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Celtic FC Irish Whiskey, 40%

Celtic Football Club have released a number of whiskeys over the years for their fans to enjoy.

Pale golden brown. A very gentle nose that grudgingly gives up soft aromas of sweet vanilla. Mild palate that sits easily in the mouth slowly warming to a fruity sweet finish.

Grand

Thoughts

Both of these blends offer easy accessible drinking. There’s no jagged edges or bold off-putting flavours to deter. For my tastes Uisce Beatha does it with more flair & would score the goals in this round.

Sláinte

A Pair Of Peated Irish Whiskey From The Recent Past, Magilligan & Clonmel, 8 Year Old Peated Single Malts plus a Magilligan non peater, 40%

There’s a misconception Irish Whiskey isn’t peaty.

It has been – for a long time.

Irish Distillers released a 45 Year Old Peated Malt from the Old Midleton Distillery a while ago.

The whiskey for this tasting however came from Cooley – who have done a lot to revive the peaty category in Irish Whiskey.

Trying out a pair of 8 Year Old Peated Single Malts from the same source appealed to me – so let’s dive in!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Magilligan Single Malt, 40%

An Irish brand dating from the 1990’s using Cooley malt bottled for Ian Macleod Distillers.

Golden brown colour with decent legs. Fusty leathery nose with a sweet fruitiness & wholesome palate. An appreciative bite on the finish.

Quite a belter!

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Magilligan 8 Year Old Peated Single Malt, 40%

Pale straw with decent legs. Gorgeous coastal iodine like smoke. An almost oily mouthfeel. The fabulous peat stacks up like a cosy warming fire on the finish.

Love this one!

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Clonmel 8 Year Old Peated Single Malt, 40%

Bottled for the Celtic Whiskey Compagnie in France.

Pale straw, decent legs. Soft gentle kiss of turf. Light palate yet smoke comes through. A more balanced well stacked glowing fire gradually fades away.

Nice

Thoughts

A tough choice!

2 gorgeous peaters – the full on Mulligan or gently cultured Clonmel?

Can depend on the mood at the time – but I’m giving it to the fabulous peaty exuberance of Mulligan 8yo.

Sláinte

Martell VS, Cognac, 40%

Martell Cognac is available in virtually every Irish supermarket.

Not too surprising – Pernod Ricard own the brand.

I picked up this miniature to give it a whirl.

The nose was quite expressive, rich, warm & inviting with a touch of nuttiness.

The nuttiness followed through on the palate which was pleasingly smooth yet offered some depth & fruity complexity.

A welcome soft tannic spice livened up the finish.

Before the phylloxera bug nearly destroyed the vineyards of the late 1800’s Cognac was the spirit of choice.

I can see why after enjoying the flavoursome delights of this Martell VS.

Worth trying.

All images authors own.

A Flight Of 4 French Whiskies, Rozelieures Origine, Rare, Tourbé & Fumé, Single Malts, 40% to 46%

Continuing my exploration of the whisky world are these 4 single malts from grain to glass French Whisky distillery Rozelieures.

I sampled them before looking up anything on the web – it helps to eliminate any undue bias – & found them mainly on the light & easy side of the flavour spectrum.

Origine Single Malt 40%

Distilled from grain grown on the Rozelieures farm places this whisky in a select club of producers claiming terroir credentials.

Origine didn’t particularly shine for me however.

The flavours were soft, muted & mild – a touch of honeyed malt, hints of rustique agriculture, an easy going palate with an appreciative bite on the finish displaying woody spices & sweet vanilla.

Grand.

Rare Single Malt 40%

A fresher & cleaner style of malt.

Easy & smooth – almost to the point of being laidback – trés tranquille – perhaps deliberately so.

I’ve been told by distillers exporting into France the market shys away from bold flavours – so Rare is probably playing up to that.

Tourbé Single Malt 46%

Tourbé means peaty – yet I had a hard job picking this up from the very light straw coloured whisky.

There was a gorgeously dry & tingly spiciness on the finish however with subtle hints of smoke.

A 2nd tasting drew out more & Tourbé proved to be an enticing soft smoker.

Fumé Single Malt 46%

A more ‘traditional’ style of smokiness was evident with Fumé.

Old leather & cigar smoke on the nose.

The mild & easy palate gave way to a delightful crescendo of smokiness which dried out leaving a tingling spice finish.

Nice!

Thoughts

French whisky is growing fast.

A Federation has been formed to further the category of which Rozelieures – with their engaging & entertaining single malts – is part of.

Being a fan of bigger, badder & bolder flavours Fumé was the one for me – but I did find the subtlety of Tourbé enticing.

Perhaps with the opening up of travel restrictions after COVID a distillery tour trip of French Distilleries is in order!

Santé

Bottle images courtesy Whisky Rozelieures.

Fujimi, The 7 Virtues Blend, Japan, 40%

Continuing my sample selection from the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder is this blended whisky from Japan.

Image courtesy alconealko.sk

I like to taste without prejudice – so dived straight in.

Pale golden colour – decent legs.

Nice nose!

Old leather, slight smoke, touch of depth.

Quite light on the palate.

A lovely drying & spicy finish – which I often attribute to a hint of peat in the mix.

A well presented & balanced blended whisky with hints of depth & complexity.

Fujimi is one of these samples I enjoyed so much I’d be happy to buy a full bottle!

Sláinte

All images authors own unless stated.