Tag Archives: Tuath Glass

Dalmore Valour, Single Malt, 40%

This whisky has been quietly sitting at the back of my spirits stash for too long.

Worried that it could be getting past it’s ‘best before’ date a few drams were deemed in order.

Dalmore is a popular brand represented by the highly entertaining master blender Richard Paterson.

Valour is a Travel Retail Exclusive NAS (Non Age Statement) matured in ex-bourbon casks & aged in oloroso & port barrels. Presented at 40% it contains added caramel & is likely chill filtered too.

I found it an easy going single malt with a soft kiss of tobacco smoke, dark fruits & a touch of prickly frisson on the finish.

I’d describe the flavours as dirty, muddy & muted – but they are warming, welcoming & accessible.

The whole range benefits from a visually distinctive bottle replete with a deer’s antler motif.

A rather ‘safe’ whisky.

Sláinte

Dalmore webpage here.

An interview with Richard Paterson here.

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Does a Whiskey with added caramel deteriorate quicker than one without?

I asked myself this question while drinking from an old bottle of Glen Marnoch Speyside Single Malt.

Back in 2018 I reviewed this whisky.

It didn’t particularly suit my palate – I found the added caramel a bit heavy & ‘muddied’ any potential flavours the Speysider possessed.

4 years down the road – long past the 2 years maximum storage recommendations for an opened bottle – I dug it out from the back of my spirits shelf.

This time round I experienced a subtle hint of what I can only describe as ‘burnt’ coming through.

Could this be the caramel degrading?

If anything – age has improved this Glen Marnoch!

I found this ‘burntness’ a far more attractive quality than the rather sweet & sticky caramel experienced with the fresh bottle.

Still wouldn’t rate it however.

Sláinte

Web article on storing your open spirits bottles here.

Original Glen Marnoch blog here.

A Posse of Poitín, Hackler, 40%, Straw Boys, 46% & The Big Field, 47%

Poitín Now is happening on 20th November 2022.

Image courtesy Poitín Now

I thought a ‘warm up’ tasting of this posse of poitín before the inaugural Dublin based event would ease me in.

Hackler, 40%

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?

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

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.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

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.

Highly entertaining!

Thoughts

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!

Sláinte

Poitín Now event site here.

Diageo drops Hackler news report here.

Connacht Distillery website here.

Tipperary Boutique Distillery here.

VodQuila, WhisQuila, RumQuila – An Exploration of Blending.

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.

My donor bottles were;

Tequila Azteca, 38%

Absolut Vodka, 40%

O’Neill’s Irish Whiskey, 40%

Ron Pelicano Jamaican Rum, 40%

Pressing on the coloured highlights will take you to my original blogs on the liquids.

VodQuila

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!

WhisQuila

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!

RumQuila

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!

Thoughts

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.

I’m certainly glad I did!

Sláinte

Red Eye Louie’s website here.

A Trio of Blacks Irish Whiskey, Triple Threat, Maple Mayhem & Black Smoke, 40% to 43%.

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.

Engaging!

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.

Enticing!

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!

Thoughts

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?

Sláinte

Blacks of Kinsale website here.

The Spirits Business article on economic situation here.

Bottle images courtesy Blacks of Kinsale.

La Medida, Mezcal Artesanal Joven, 40%

I enjoy exploring Mezcal.

Rather than use 1 type of agave for distillation like Tequila – Mezcal uses up to 40 different varietals offering a far wider flavour spectrum.

Mezcal Artesanal must also prepare that agave – agave angustifolia for La Medida – in earthen or stone pits giving a smoky element to the product – which attracts me.

There’s a stack of information on the back label – but how it tastes is paramount to me – so I poured a glass.

The earthy agave notes are quite soft & subtle, augmented by a gentle smokiness which enticed.

Smooth oily mouthfeel slowly develops an engaging dry vegetal smoke giving a warm embrace to the proceedings.

Leaves with a dry prickly pepper fading away.

La Medida is a well balanced offering showcasing a complex interplay between the vegetal agave notes & those fabulous smoky vibes.

Very engaging!

Sláinte

For an explanation of Mezcal rules read here.

La Medida website here.

Method And Madness, Rye & Malt, 46%

After falling in love with Shortcross Rye And Malt I thought I’d order up a sample of Method And Madness Rye & Malt from Tiny Tipple for a comparison.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Reassuringly pale in colour.

Where’s the rye on the nose? It’s rather timid & tame.

Mild & malty mouthfeel.

It’s only on the finish a rich peppery spice develops showcasing the rye that’s in there.

After Shortcross I must admit to finding Method And Madness a bit of a letdown.

Despite a 60/40 rye/barley mix there was a distinct lack of warmth from this whiskey.

Too much of the method & not enough madness for me.

Sláinte

Method And Madness Rye & Malt website here.

My Shortcross blog here.

Tiny Tipple website here.

Johnnie Fox’s & Henry Downes & Co No 9 Irish Whiskey, Blends, 40%

Johnnie Fox’s is a well known pub which does a roaring tourist attraction trade in the mountains just outside of Dublin.

They released a whiskey a few years ago & this is my 1st time to try it.

I’d never heard of Henry Downes before – so had to look them up. Turns out they are also a bar – situated in Waterford City – but originally started out as spirits merchants.

Nice to see some traditions last with this release!

Obviously these are both sourced whiskeys from unnamed Irish distilleries – so what did I find?

Image courtesy apoma.dk

Johnnie Fox’s, Blend, 40%

Pale straw in colour, a fruity little number with hints of darker depth, clean fresh grain palate develops some pleasing spiciness towards the rear finishing with a little spirity kick.

An attractive blend to entice you into the Johnnie Fox’s establishment!

Image courtesy Whiskey.Auction

Henry Downes No 9, Blend, 40%

Whatever happened to the other 8?

A slightly darker shade of pale straw, soft malty nose with hints of wet leather, sweet biscuity palate finishing with a dry peppery spice & slight frisson of excitement.

Grand.

Thoughts

For me Johnnie Fox’s came over as a fresher & livelier style of whiskey which instantly appealed to me.

Can’t help thinking Henry Downes was beginning to suffer from being too long in the bottle & might have been more enjoyable when originally released.

Happy however to have tasted a couple of early pioneers who paved the way for the positive explosion of Irish Whiskey brands entering the market today.

Sláinte

Johnnie Fox’s website here.

Henry Downes bar information courtesy Publication website here.

Samples purchased from Drams Delivered here.

Langs Banana Jamaican Rum, 37.5%

The rum world appears to be far more willing to embrace new flavours, styles & experimentation than that of whiskey.

Langs Banana Jamaican Rum is one of many flavoured rums to have hit the market lately – and it’s a growing market too!

Langs Rum is part of the diverse range of drinks offered by the Ian MacLeod Distillers empire.

The nose was very sweet & well – banana-y!

The sweetness followed through into a smooth & oily mouthfeel with the banana being complimented by hints of Jamaican funk & a welcome soft tingling spice on the rear.

Makes for a very easy & highly entertaining tipple.

Sláinte

Langs Rum website here.

Spirits Business report on Rum sales outselling Whisky here.

Ian MacLeod Distillers website here.

Quinn’s Barrel Rested Poitin, 45% & Seagram’s VO, 40%

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?

Image courtesy Drams Delivered

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!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

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.

Preferences

For my palate Quinn’s provided a richer & more entertaining tipple.

Which one would you choose?

Sláinte

My samples were purchased from Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder here.

Great Wagon Road Distillery website here.

Seagram’s VO webpage here.

Sazerac invest in County Sligo here.