Tag Archives: Virgin Oak

Jatt Life, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

There are Irish Whiskey brands existing catering soley for markets outside of Ireland.

Jatt Life in Tuath

That’s Jatt Life.

I picked this bottle up on a recent UK visit.

That’s Jatt Life.

The publicity is slick, contemporary, very active on social media & appears to target a demographic & culture of bling that wouldn’t include myself.

That’s Jatt Life.

Jatt Life info

There’s little information on the bottle – but tasting & enjoying the contents is my motivation.

That’s Jatt Life.

A lovely rich nose redolent of succulent dark fruits complemented by hints of woody oak.

The mouthfeel is deep & luxurious.

More woody spice comes through leaving a dry tingling on the long finish.

That’s Jatt Life.

Often virgin oak maturation can be quite aggressive – but additional finishing with sherry oak has introduced a wonderful luscious rich fruity interplay.

That’s Jatt Life.

Enjoying Jatt Life

A very engaging & characterful blend.

Congratulations to Jatt Life – expanding the Irish Whiskey category.

Sláinte

All images courtesy Whiskey Nut

Kinnitty Castle Irish Whiskey, The Dapper, Blend, 43%

Popping into my local Carry Out for some last minute purchases – I couldn’t help noticing the new Irish Whiskey on the shelves.

2020 – despite COVID – has witnessed the continued growth of Irish Whiskey in terms of sales, diversity of brands and distilleries being built.

Never before has there been such a glorious out pouring of whiskey.

The Dapper in a tuath c/othewhiskeynut

Kinnitty Castle is one of those new players.

Based just down the road from me in County Offaly, Kinnitty Castle has plans for their own distillery built on the Castle grounds within the old stables.

In the meantime – a couple of sourced releases are on offer to establish the brand.

The Dapper caught my eye.

Haunted castle? c/othewhiskeynut

Sporting a rather suave looking skeleton bedecked in glasses, sharp suit & tumbler of uisce beatha on the go – it exudes an air of cheeky fun yet steeped in heritage.

Very dashing!

There’s a bit of cask information on the rear – but a thorough tasting is far more enjoyable.

Back info c/othewhiskeynut

It’s almost if drops of the skeleton’s blood have imbued The Dapper with a ruby glow.

Dark rich & heavy aromas of fruity plums reeled me in.

A full mouthfeel bursting with flavour deliciously cascaded over my palate.

Contrasting dry & spicy vanillas danced merrily away on a long lasting finish.

The combination of Chablis casks & Virgin Oak barrels brought out a delightful depth & captivating complexity to this characterful blend.

A cracking little combo to introduce Kinnitty Castle Irish Whiskey to the world.

Sláinte

The Irish Whiskey 2010 -2020 Report is available here – IW 58pp A4 10 Year Report.pdf (9,061kb)

Sailor’s Home, The Journey, 43%, Blended Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey is experiencing unprecedented growth with new bottles & brands appearing all the time.

One that caught my eye was Sailor’s Home – a Limerick based brand recalling the city’s rich maritime connections.

Welcome home! c/othewhiskeynut

It also led me down memory lane.

Some of my formative years were spent sailing the seven seas crewing ocean going vessels.

Mid Ocean c/othewhiskeynut

The ship was your home for the duration of the voyage – yet it was constantly on a journey – a never ending journey for me – seeking out new whiskeys to explore.

Detail c/othewhiskeynut

Beautifully presented in an attractive bottle with lovely detailed touches. The Journey has been matured in virgin oak, ex-bourbon & the seafarers favourite – rum barrels.

Explorer’s Spirit c/othewhiskeynut

A dark caramel front sweeps over the fresh & engaging first nosing.

Waves of warmth embrace the palate in a silky coating.

Prickly peppery spice, bright vanillas & subtle suggestions of rum funk set a course to the finish leaving a dry yet lip smacking experience.

It’s a journey I’d happily explore again!

I raise a glass of Sailor’s Home to all the seafarers that didn’t return.

MV Derbyshire c/oLiverpoolMuseums.org

In particular those aboard MV Derbyshire – a newer & larger bulk carrier sister ship to the one I happened to be on half way across the Atlantic when news of the tragedy came through.

May all your journeys lead you home.

Sláinte

Michter’s Whiskey Launch, Dublin, 2019

There’s some whiskey launches I didn’t get round to writing up – Michter’s being one of them.

It’s nothing to do with the quality of the product – nor the hospitality shown on the day – which were both outstanding I must say – other things & life just got in the way.

So in February 2019 a packed crowd of whiskey fans gathered in a Dublin venue to sample the delights of Michter’s Whiskey. Oh those heady days of pre-COVID freedom!

I was already convinced of the marvels of Michter’s having sampled the core range at Whisky Birmingham.

Michter’s Birmingham 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

A brief history of Michter’s served as an introduction.

Originally founded in 1753 & incorporating the Shenk’s & Bomberger’s families too, Michter’s – along with many others – collapsed during the lean years of the 70’s & 80’s.

A couple of entrepreneurs bought the brand names in the 90’s, selected choice casks from distilleries & proceeded to build up a reputation for fine bourbon & rye. This was Phase 1.

Phase 2 started in the early 2000’s. With dwindling stocks of barrels & increased sales a more steady supply was needed. Contract distilling in Kentucky began with specific mashbills, filling percentages, maturation policy & filtration standards all being controlled by Michter’s exacting standards.

Phase 3 is Michter’s producing their own whiskey in their own distilleries. That is currently in play right now – so for the moment – the whiskeys presented to us at the event were from Phase 2.

9 Michter’s awaiting c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Straight Rye, 42.4%

Distinctive rye nose, candy sweet & spicy dry. Smooth & easy palate. Decent complexity with long dry peppery spice on the finish.

A solid rye to start the proceedings.

Michter’s Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Sweet & surprisingly spicy nose. The rye content isn’t too high – the exact ratios weren’t revealed – & it was suggested the spice emanates from the char 3 level virgin oak casks used. Whatever the method – it resulted in a warmth of flavour rounded up by a long peppery spice finish.

Lovely.

Michter’s Sour Mash, 43%

Being neither 51% corn or rye – Sour Mash has a mixed mashbill offering an intriguing sweet & sour nose. Lovely mouthfeel with soft spices & quite a dry finish.

Entertaining.

Michter’s American Whiskey, 41%

Using 2nd fill barrels for maturation & a corn, rye & barley mashbill – American Whiskey cannot be called Bourbon or Rye. Lighter on the palate than the others, there was still a richness of flavour & slight spice which reeled me in.

Alluring.

The above 4 made up the core range – & very engaging they were too! In a divergence from my love of rye – I have to say the combination of rich warm flavours along with a peppery dry spiciness of Straight Bourbon won me over in this group.

But there’s more!

Crowded table c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Part of a limited release range, Toasted Barrel benefits from extra ageing in – no surprises – toasted barrels which impart a slight smokiness to the bourbon. Not a peatiness nor BBQ style however – more a gentle wood fire vibe going on.

Very pleasing.

Then a couple of age statement whiskeys – rare enough for America!

10 Year Old Straight Rye, 47.2%

Great classic rye nose – boosted with more depth & warmth – which flowed through into the palate. Smoother, richer & more complex than before.

A gorgeous rye.

10 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 47.2%

Again this bourbon impressed! A winning combination that just dialled up the overall experience a big notch.

Fabulous.

Yet the goodies kept on coming!

I was particularly looking forward to the next pair from the Legacy Series.

Shenk’s Homestead c/othewhiskeynut

Shenk’s Homestead, 2018, 45.6%

Finished in French Oak Barrels – there was more of a rounded dark fruity sweetness on this one. Very chewy – although the finish fell away a bit quickly.

Luxurious.

Bomberger’s Declarartion c/othewhiskeynut

Bomberger’s Declaration, 2018, 54%

Finished in Chinquapin Oak – a gorgeous dry tannic spice gave wonderful richness & depth to this bottle which immediately propelled it to my top spot!

Stunning.

Such a fabulous showcasing of the Michter’s range & generous hospitality of the brand!

There was much milling around & happy chatting afterwards & I managed a cheeky sampling of the 20 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 57.1%

20yo Michter’s c/othewhiskeynut

Ooops!

Despite being such a rare opportunity – I must admit to finding the dryness & high strength combo being too much for me & obliterating the welcome warmth & engaging flavours of it’s younger stablemates.

So what did I take away from it all?

Well I really enjoyed Michter’s!

Their attention to detail certainly comes through in the fabulous flavours of the range.

For my part, age, high ABV & rye aren’t automatic winners. A combination of elements & ingredients along with careful maturation in varied cask regimes can bring about stunning whiskey.

I wish Michter’s future success with their own distilleries!

Sláinte

Teeling Distillery 5th Anniversary Whiskey Tasting

Even before Teeling Whiskey Distillery opened in 2015, I eagerly attended a guided tour of the nascent facility by none other than master distiller & blender Alex Chasko himself.

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Careful now! c/othewhiskeynut

I’ve been avidly watching the rebuilding of Irish Whiskey – especially the role Teeling plays in that growth – ever since.

Teeling’s 5th Anniversary took place during COVID – and like many events – moved online.

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Online tasting c/othewhiskeynut

So instead of a lavish party inside the fabulous distillery itself – it was me, my computer & 5 samples of Teeling Whiskey made in that very distillery.

Alex Chasko was again present – along with brand ambassador Robert Caldwell – to regale us with tales of those 5 years. From a dream to reality, a building site to a fully functioning whiskey distillery and from brewing beer in Oregon to distilling whiskey in Dublin.

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Welcome to the Bang Bang bar & Distillery Shop! c/othewhiskeynut

To date most of the Teeling bottles on the shelves are sourced product – and very good they are too!

Alex is responsible for maturing that stock, choosing the casks, finishing, blending and releasing a wide variety of styles & flavours.

Now before me are 5 differing samples drawn from casks distilled at Teeling’s Distillery in Dublin itself.

This is the dawning of a new age in Irish Whiskey.

So what does it taste like?

A trio of Single Pot Stills started the show. All triple distilled using a 50/50 malted/unmalted mashbill presented at 46%, non chill filtered & natural colour.

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SPS Bourbon Cask c/othewhiskeynut

SPS Bourbon Cask

Immediately captivating!

The combination of rich vanillas, bourbon sweetness with a joyful youthfulness followed by an attractive prickly spice just won me over.

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SPS Virgin c/othewhiskeynut

SPS Virgin Cask

A more tannic, sawdusty element with a sharper spice came through. Still enjoyable – if less balanced.

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SPS Sherry c/othewhiskeynut

SPS Sherry Cask

Milder, mellower & more subtle & sweeter than the other 2. Not my favourite.

The 3 casks demonstrate the influence wood has on the whiskey. They also show the building blocks Alex uses to blend together to achieve a relatively consistent product for the Single Pot Still release which can iron out any excesses within the individual components.

A wonderful insight into the world of the blender.

Next came a duo of single malts – Crystal & Peated – which demonstrate the role raw ingredients play in developing flavour.

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Crystal SM c/othewhiskeynut

Crystal Single Malt

Crystal malt is commonly used in craft beer circles to boost flavour, depth & colour. A throwback to Alex’s brewing days.

Crystal malt has been roasted for longer – allowing richer, darker flavours to come through.

I found a farmhousey saison type of nose, rich vanilla on the palate with a gorgeous spice on the finish.

Very attractive!

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Peated SM c/othewhiskeynut

Peated Single Malt

Well anything with peat in it is a winner for me – and Teeling’s didn’t disappoint!

Very well balanced from start to finish.

A sheer delight!

A wonderful way to celebrate Teeling’s 5th Anniversary with such delicious whiskeys.

Having followed their growth along every step of the way it reassures me no end – the quality & diversity of whiskey being produced at Newmarket is a joy to experience.

Hats off to Teeling Whiskey – and all the team involved – Happy 5th Anniversary!

Sláinte

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Jim Beam Black, 8 Year Old, 43%

There’s an attractive quality to miniatures.

The opportunity to try out unknown treasures – or non runners – before buying a full bottle.

The ease of transport – particularly when flying!

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Jim Beam 8 c/othewhiskeynut

And the chance to taste a wide variety of styles without breaking the bank.

This Jim Beam was part of a job lot auction acquisition.

A simple yet bold label design pleased me.

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Packs a punch! c/othewhiskeynut

Signature sweet bourbony notes with a touch of oakiness on the nose.

The charred casks coupled with added ageing had boosted the depth of the palate with more warmth & richness.

At 43% it packed a spirity punch – which I found attractive.

Miniatures are fleeting memories.

Especially when you find out the 8 Year Old was dropped in favour of an NAS – non age statement – I encountered here.

Sláinte

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Redbreast 27 Launch Night at Sonny Molloy’s, Galway.

In what felt like the ‘last hurrah’ before impending restrictions increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Sonny Molloy’s Bar in Galway held an impressive evening celebrating the launch of the highly esteemed Redbreast Whiskey range’s latest addition – the 27 Year Old.

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Redbreast 27 c/othewhiskeynut

The numbers attending were slightly reduced from previous events – and a certain awkwardness regards hand shaking & social distancing were always in the background – yet the company, the whiskey and the gorgeous food won out!

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Whiskey & food pairing. c/othewhiskeynut

There were 3 whiskeys on offer. All introduced by the Irish Distillers Brand Ambassador – Ger Garland.

Sonny Molloy RB27
Tasty trio c/oSonnyMolloy’s

The first one was a bit of a mystery.

Very sweet on the nose – almost liqueur territory here – quite light on the palate – someone suggested cream soda – before the cask strength made it’s presence felt – leaving the pleasant softer flavours dancing away on the finish.

I was very pleased to hear it was an oat whiskey!

Oats were formerly a common ingredient in Irish Whiskey and it’s marvelous to see it’s return into offerings such as Kilbeggan SPS, Drumshanbo Inaugural – as well as experimentation at Killowen Distillery – and quite clearly at Midleton too!

Just how the results of this experimentation will end up in an actual final product are yet to be decided – but clearly exciting times indeed!

The second offering – also at cask strength – was a much more contemporary affair.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, Knockrath Wood, Tree 3, 56.6%.

The use of virgin Irish Oak casks – as well as ex-bourbon casks – had accentuated the dry tannic spiciness over and above the initial rich warming vanilla notes to the front capped off by a prickly tingling from the high ABV.

I really enjoyed this one.

The grand finalé?

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It’s in the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

Redbreast 27 Year Old, 54.6%.

Unlike other Redbreasts – the 27 has seen maturation in ruby port casks.

This has given it a darker, even richer fruitiness. I’m thinking plums, figs & raisins here. The high ABV kicked in at this point & I’d need the addition of water to calm things down a touch.

To be honest – I wasn’t bowled over.

I didn’t find it an easy whiskey to appreciate – and I’m not just talking about it’s €495 price tag. I found it a bit of a challenge.

Redbreast 27 – not for me.

Sláinte

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I’d like to thank all at Sonny Molloy’s for the warm hospitality on the evening.

My views – as always – are my own.

Eden Mill, Burns Day 2017, 2 Year Old Spirit, 43%

Well, if your gonna do Burns Night you might as well open something special.

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What’s inside the box? c/othewhiskeynut

This Burns Day 2017 Spirit from the Eden Mill Distillery in Fife, Scotland, was part of a trilogy marking the coming of age of their own distillate.

I picked it up whilst visiting the distillery in Guardbridge a few years ago.

It has a number of things going for it.

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Eden Mill distillate c/othewhiskeynut

The use of different malt varieties –  Crystal & Brown malts have had additional roasting to boost flavour – as well as virgin oak maturation – would suggest this is an eminently quaffable & flavoursome spirit.

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Back label c/othewhiskeynut

In other jurisdictions – America – this is whiskey.  Just as it would have been in Burns day before the advent of age rules.  So I cracked it open to sample the delights within.

First off – the colour.

In keeping with Eden Mill’s ethos, I’m banking this is natural colour from both the toasted malt & virgin oak barrel.

Second off – it’s young, it’s fresh & it’s very engaging!

A lovely strong vanilla from the virgin oak casks comes through with a bit of bourbony toastiness – and a spirity kick.

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In the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

On the palate it starts off smoothly. There’s not much body or depth – but the flavours are clean, fresh & lively!

There’s a slight tannic spiciness on the finish leaving a pleasant prickly tingling.

For a 2yo – there is no new make aroma – this possesses the rudiments of a lovely young malt.

Very enjoyable.

Looking forward to future releases from Eden Mill.

Sláinte

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Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye, Port Finish, 47%

When in Manchester recently I did a quick internet search to find a suitable watering hole.

The Whiskey Jar won the day.

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Whiskey a plenty! c/othewhiskeynut

One of the many whiskeys on offer that took my eye  – Dad’s Hat Rye – ended up in the glass.

A satisfyingly welcoming peppery rye spice greeted my nose – although it seemed to be muted somewhat by sweet dark fruits.

Oh!

I didn’t notice the bottom line – Finished In Port Wine Barrels.

Now that’s a novel approach which does seem to add additional flavours to the standard rye offering.

The fruity notes held sway on the front before that spicy pepper hit I love kicked in towards the latter half.

A gorgeous little combination of elements to tease the palate.

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Aged for how long? c/othewhiskeynut

I was taken aback when I read the maturation times on the side label.

For only 9 months old – the virgin charred american oak quarter casks & ex-port barrels have worked their magic to create a wonderfully fresh rye with a fruity twist.

A very enjoyable baby rye!

Sláinte

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