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The Whistler 7yo & 10yo Single Malts, 46%

Standing outside the Whiskey Live Dublin event after the first session – shooting the breeze with a few fellow attendees – a gentleman passed by whistling away to himself. Only when he stopped to chat did we realise it was none other than Pat Cooney, founding father of the Boann Distillery in Drogheda, County Meath, and after whom their sourced range of single malt whiskeys are named!

It reminded me I never actually got round to sampling the 2 miniature malts I was given as part of my very enjoyable & informative tour of the distillery last summer!

At the time of my visit the Green Engineering stills were in situ and made a very impressive sight contrasting with the glass & wood of the statement building.

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Worship the copper! c/othewhiskeynut

The pipework meanwhile hadn’t been connected – although I now believe it has – and I’m certainly looking forward to the start – or should that be re-start? – of distillation in Drogheda.

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Just put your lips together and Whistle! c/othewhiskeynut

In the meantime – to bridge the gap –  the current unnamed sourced range comprises of the 7  & 10 year old – my 2 samples – as well as a cask strength 7 year old. There are other expressions outside of Ireland too.

All are non chill filtered & presented naturally coloured at 46% – or a powerful 59% for the cask strength which certainly packs a punch.

The 7 year old – otherwise known as The Blue Note – comes over very subtle on the nose for me. A hit of alcohol faded to reveal gentle vanilla followed by a dry metallic sherry influence.

The 10 year old – otherwise known as How The Years Whistle By – provided a softer, smoother & more woody influence with it’s extra 3 years maturation.

The tasting continued in this vein. Both were crisp & clear expressions with orchard fruit notes merging into that dry prickly sensation I enjoy. Again the 10yo exhibited more warming vanilla & caramel from the bourbon cask maturation which elevated the flavours – cue for a song.

Both had suitably long finishes with enjoyable heat.

I found them rather safe standard bearers of bourbon cask matured, sherry finished Irish single malts exhibiting that delightful orchard fruit feeling with subtle sherry notes intertwined. A lot of people like them  – awards have been won too – but I must admit to preferring something a bit more bolder & stronger flavoured.  The softer sublime & more subtle – perhaps even more balanced notes  –  are a little lost on me.

What isn’t lost on me however is the quiet determination & hard work all the Cooney family have put into the Boann Distillery site. Behind the gleaming copper, glass & wood of the actual distillery is a large working brewery which produces some tasty beers & ciders under the Boyne Brewhouse & Cooney’s Irish Cider brand names.

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Boyne Brewhouse workings c/othewhiskeynut

There is also a very large modern bottling facility which was hard at work on the day I visited.

I also cannot fault the hospitality & warmth of the Cooney family members. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them on a number of occasions. They all display a well deserved sense of pride & passion in what they are trying to achieve & build with this combined distillery & brewery project just off the main M1 motorway north of Dublin.

I congratulate their present achievements and wish them continued future success.

Sláinte.

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Jameson Deconstructed Series x 3, 40%, Blends.

Flying.

We all do it.

Short haul, long haul, weekend breaks, trips of a lifetime.

There are disadvantages.

Security queues, liquid bans, baggage allowances.

And advantages.

Travel retail exclusives.

For the whiskey fans at least.

And usually tasters. Which I’m ever so happy to sample.

The Jameson Deconstructed Series had eluded me for a long time. Now I can’t say I was entirely bowled over by the landside Makers Series. The flavours were a little too mild & subtle for my liking. Perhaps soft & approachable – which can almost be a Jameson tag line – and one they’re highly successful with. Generally I prefer something bold – which happens to be the name of one expression in the airside Deconstructed Series.

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Jameson Deconstructed Series c/othewhiskeynut

Contrary to perceived wisdom – which is to start with the mildest then move on to the more robust not to overpower the subtleties – I asked the rep at the Loop Dublin Airport for the strongest flavoured expression first.

Round was chosen. An expression ‘giving the barrel the final say‘ according to Jameson.

Well yes! This was nice. Big bold tannins, leather and a little bite at the end.

Suitably impressed I moved onto Bold.

It too was rather pleasing. If only slightly more ’rounder’ on my palate. This one highlighted the pot still character.

Lively meanwhile only delivered what I expect from Jameson. Soft & approachable – yet perfectly drinkable all at the same time.

All in all I came away very happy with the Deconstructed Series.

There are notes & flavours here you can get your teeth into.

Pity they hadn’t moved up from the 40% chill filtered & added caramel presentation. The flavours would have been even more enhanced.

But maybe that’s too ‘bold‘ a step for Jameson – even though Round came out tops for me.

Slàinte.

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The One, Blend, 40%, x 3.

My first foray into English whisky!

Well – not exactly.

The One is a blend using whisky from the 4 corners of Great Britain – as it exists at present – Scotland, England, Northern Ireland & Wales.

More of a British blend.

The standard expression – bottled at 40% as they all are – is aged in bourbon casks and delivers a perfectly fine tasting experience for a decent well rounded blended whisky.

The sherry finish adds a delicate sweetness to the mix.

Whilst the port finish delivers added body, depth & colour to my palate – as well as a more satisfying heavy mouthfeel.

The Lakes Distillery near Keswick in Cumbia have yet to release their own distillate – but I look forward to the day they do.

Sláinte

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I sampled all the above whiskies on the Living Room Whisky stall at the 2017 Whisky Birmingham show.