Tag Archives: West Cork Distillers

Dundalgan Single Malt, Sherry Edition, 42%

I’d put off trying out the last of the attractively priced Dundalgan Whiskey range mainly as sherry cask finishes are not my top pick.

Sherry Edition Dundalgan c/othewhiskeynut

I found all the others; Blend, Charred Cask, IPA & Stout Edition Single Malts to be highly enjoyable & flavourful.

The Sherry Edition followed suit with a lovely depth of warmth.

An engaging bite to enliven the experience.

All wrapped up with a lovely long lasting succulent finish.

Recently available for the bargain price of €20 – I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging this whiskey is.

A cracker of a malt.

Sláinte

Peaky Blinders, The real story of Birmingham’s most notorious gangs. Carl Chinn.

The popularity of the Peaky Blinders show continues to enthrall viewers with the much anticipated last series – and talk of a film too!

Peaky Blinder book c/othewhiskeynut

This very well researched & easily readable book traces the origins of the Peaky Blinders – or rather peaky blinders – a generic term attributed to street thugs operating in Birmingham from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

As in a lot of popular culture – the facts paint a different picture to the highly stylised fictional tales of the Shelby family.

Those looking for historical authenticity would do well to read this book – it doesn’t preclude you from enjoying the show – & may even add to the experience.

Another way of heightening the enjoyment might be pouring a glass of Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey!

Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey – Product Of Ireland c/othewhiskyexchange

Halewood International have played a – ahem – blinder in releasing a range of spirits to accompany the success of the show.

New bottles c/obetterretailing

So much so they’ve announced the building of a new distillery in Birmingham to satisfy the demand!

Fact, fiction & reality all wrapped up in one!

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What Price Whiskey Flavour? – 2 Dundalgans & a Teeling, Beer Barrel Aged Whiskey, 42% to 46%.

There’s been a sprinkling of articles questioning the price of whiskey.

Rant And Whisky, – Whisky And WisdomDairiesOfADramMerchant.

If cost is an issue – look around!

There are an increasing amount of attractively affordable alternatives available.

Lidl Ireland whiskey choices 2020 c/othewhiskeynut

The Dundalgan range from Lidl is one example.

Comprising of 5 bottles – none above €26 – displaying a broad array of styles & finishes, I’d suggest there’s something to suit all palates.

Having tried the entry level blend – & the entertaining IPA finished single malt – I grabbed the opportunity to sample more in a trio of beer barrel aged whiskey tasting.

Dundalgan IPA c/othewhiskeynut

Dundalgan IPA Cask Single Malt, 42%

A light, fruity & summery style of malt full of attractive flavours & a touch of character too.

Nice easy drinking.

Dundalgan Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Dundalgan Stout Cask Single Malt, 42%

A more solid, rich & heavy malt feel about this one. Very engaging – very moreish.

Lovely.

Teeling Stout c/othewhiskeynut

Teeling Galway Bay Stout Cask, Blend, 46%

The delightful bouquet of aromas from nosing were slightly diminished on drinking by the sweet grainy influence. A lighter offering with contrasting deeper notes & a prickly finish.

Very refreshing.

Thoughts

Overall – Dundalgan Stout Cask won the day.

Considering one Teeling costs around two Dundalgans – what price are you prepared to pay for flavour?

Sláinte

Dundalgan Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

The recently released diverse range from Dundalgan Whiskey have benefited from a fresh restyle – especially their standard blend.

Classic! c/othewhiskeynut

Sporting a classic red topped green bottle livery – the labelling proudly displays it’s West Cork Distillers origins & establishes an attractive uniformity to the series.

info c/othewhiskeynut

After being impressed by the IPA cask finished Dundalgan Single Malt – I thought I’d get back to basics with this ex-bourbon matured blend. Well – over 95% of Irish Whiskeys are blends – so says the Irish Whiskey 2010-2020 report.

Dundalgan in the Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

Golden brown in colour – a soft light honeyed nose greeted me.

Very easy on the palate – gentle vanillas & richer darker caramels gradually made their presence felt.

A frisson of tingly spice on the finish gave a lift to this elegantly simple sipper.

Punches beyond it’s pleasing price point!

Sláinte

Dundalgan Single Malt, IPA Edition, 42%

A few years ago I walked into a Scottish supermarket & noted the variety & depth of whisky choices far exceeded that provided in similar Irish stores.

Aldi Scotland whisky choices 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

Well not any longer!

Lidl have just released 5 different styles of whiskey under their own exclusive Dundalgan brand – made for them by West Cork Distillers.

Lidl Ireland whiskey choices 2020 c/othewhiskeynut

Comprising of a blend, charred cask blend & 3 single malts finished in Stout, IPA or Sherry casks – there’s a bottle to suit every palate!

Having recently enjoyed West Cork’s own Stout Cask – I thought I’d diversify into the Dundalgan IPA.

Dundalgan IPA & Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

I wasn’t disappointed!

A fresh, light, bright & gently fruity note greeted me with a bit of depth.

Quite rich on the palate, the IPA cask brought some interesting & complex notes to this malt.

A touch of welcoming spice & gentle prickliness on the finish gave character to this engaging edition.

Back label info c/othewhiskeynut

Ironically I’m not an IPA fan when it comes to beer – I find them too bitter – but this Dundalgan whiskey works a treat!

Makes me want to try out the whole range!

Sláinte

Cask Strength Calamity!

My continued blind tasting sessions threw a bit of a wobbler recently.

Randomly chosen from a selection of 8 bottles – I failed to identify any of the 4 samples – failed to detect some of the cask influences & failed to enjoy the cask strength couple.

They were – in order of preference;

Stout Cask c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

West Cork, Black’s Stout Cask, Blend, 40%

I found this a very easy & enjoyable, quite clean & sweet, attractively approachable whiskey which despite being relatively simple – hit the right notes.

The reveal surprised me a little as I didn’t detect any stout influence.

Black Op’s c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Black Op’s, Blend, 43%

A more complex whiskey offering greater depth of flavour from a sherry influence – I guessed Oloroso? – that again satisfied.

It just lost out to the simple pleasures of the Stout Cask.

Dark Silkie CS c/oSliabhLiag

Dark Silkie, Cask Strength, Blend, 64.5%

Wow!

The high ABV was noticeable from the go. Nice clean & fresh flavours – but the high strength just obliterated my palate & left me reeling.

The peat influence must have been subtle – as I didn’t detect it!

Currach CS c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Currach Founders, Cask Strength, Single Malt, 60%

Again the high ABV swamped my senses. The more subtle & smooth flavours emanating from this whiskey were lost in a powerful alcohol hit.

I was disappointed by the reveal – I really enjoyed the 46% version & thought nothing had been gained by being 60%.

So there you go.

A good clean & simple 40% blend won out over the high strength competitors.

What would your palate pick?

A Gelston’s Whiskey Zoom Tasting

L.Mulligan Whiskey Shop – along with other establishments – offer a variety of virtual whiskey tastings over the internet.

I’d highly recommend them.

The opportunity to try a flight of whiskeys – some possibly beyond your budget – with an introduction by the brand ambassador or owner & interactions from fellow whiskey fans.

What’s not to like?

Well – 2 things.

The vagaries of a courier system overwhelmed with demand due to COVID resulted in some folks not getting their physical tasting packs in time.

Your computer skills – or lack off – or outdated software – may need an update.

Gelston’s Tasting c/othewhiskeynut

Thankfully it all came together on the evening as I sat down to enjoy 6 samples of Gelston’s Whiskey.

Samuel Gelston first began a whisky merchants business back in an 1830’s Belfast. Later joined by HJ Neill, the company successfully bonded, blended & bottled the whisky of the day. The current Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey has been founded by direct family descendents who wish to revitalise the family tradition.

Gelston’s SPS c/oDropStore

Gelston’s Single Pot Still, 40%

Being independent bottlers, Gelston’s source their spirit from a number of sources – in this instance West Cork Distillers (WCD) using a 50/50 malted/unmalted barley mix. Displaying some nutty notes, oily mouthfeel & an enjoyable spice on the finish – this is a very easy going, accessible & engagingly pleasant introduction to the Single Pot Still category.

Gelston’s 5yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Gelston’s 5 Year Old, Single Malt, 41.2%

Again WCD supply the base malt – a combination of sherry cask & bourbon cask matured barrels that have been married together to produce this characterful 5yo which exhibits a fine degree of richness & depth for it’s young age. Very satisfying.

Gelston’s 10y c/oDropStore

Gelston’s 10 Year Old, Single Malt, 40%

A very fruity & fresh exbourbon cask matured malt signified a marked doubling in age – along with a change of supply – a triple distilled Cooley. It was also stressed acquiring these barrels can often happen at very short notice with little prospect of future supply to guarantee a core & consistent product. Makes it all the more enjoyable to taste such an engaging whiskey!

Gelston’s 15yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Gelston’s 15 Year Old Single Malt, 43%

The higher up the years we go – the flavours were enhanced – the price escalated & the availability of barrels decreases – Bushmills malt sourced via John Teeling’s Great Northern Distillery (GND). I found a rather quiet nose belied the delights within completed with a gorgeous flourish on the finish. A beauty of a malt.

Gelston’s 26yo c/oLMulligan

Gelston’s 26 Year Old, Single Malt, 54.2%

I was enveloped in the warm embrace of a joyously returning old acquaintance on tasting this one! Again – GND sourced Bushmills malt. This is probably my 3rd or 4th encounter with these venerable old barrels. Various independent blenders, bonders & bottlers have a cask or 2. Simply stunning!

Gelston’s SPS Pinot Noir c/oDropStore

Gelston’s Single Pot Still, Pinot Noir Finish, 40%

How do you top a beautiful, rare & superb single malt? How about a soon to be released SPS finished in Pinot Noir casks supplied by the Gelston/Neill family descendents vineyard? Rich dark fruits on the nose, great depth & complexity & a lovely long luscious finish. The Pinot Noir casks had added so much more to the original WCD SPS we started with at the beginning – and rather being an unicorn bottling – this one is set to become part of the core range! Fabulous!

Gelston’s Irish Whiskey

Gelston’s Whiskey are a wonderful example of the fine art of independent bottlers.

Sourcing from all and sundry – blending where needed – finishing in self sourced casks – releasing limited stock that might be deemed too small to market by the big companies.

May the current generation Gelston/Neill family be every bit as successful in the Irish Whiskey scene of today as their relatives were in the past.

A highly enjoyable & enlightening whiskey tasting!

Sláinte

New Irish Whiskey

There’s hard sell – & then there’s soft sell.

A duo of distilleries in Ulster have recently released their first whiskeys to market.

Being small concerns they lack the advertising might, supply chain connections & brand recognition of established players to garnish much attention.

Blind tasting c/othewhiskeynut

My Northern correspondent obtained a trio – added a pair of wild cards – & presented 5 blind samples for my tasting pleasure.

In order of preference – this is what I found.

Mourne DEW Irish Whiskey c/oMourneDEW

1st place, Sample 5, Mourne DEW Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

‘Soft vanilla, mellow soft & slightly smokey, dry smoke on finish.’

I knew some of the releases had a peaty element – which I like – & I found it in sample 5. It wasn’t overpowering – gently balanced, easy & attractive. A delightful blend.

May-Lóag Peated c/oMayLóag

2nd place, Sample 1, May-Lóag, Peated, Blend, 40%

‘Sweet fresh & honeyed, complex rich flavours, lovely spice on finish.’

I was immediately taken by this one. The reveal surprised me being peated – as I didn’t detect it on tasting! I did get a very enjoyable & characterful whiskey!

The above two captivated me – I’d happily purchase both – leaving the rest somewhat in the shadows.

Bushmills 10yo c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

3rd place, Sample 4, Bushmills 10 Year Old Single Malt, 40%

‘Clean & fresh ex-bourbon cask, soft & mellow, prickliness on rear, drying, hint of smoke?’

A standard of Irish Whiskey. It just didn’t shine against the new entrants.

May-Lóag Small Batch c/oMayLóag

4th place, Sample 2, May-Lóag Small Batch, Single Malt, 40%

‘More mellowed, sweet & earthy, flatter on palate, nice spice on long lasting finish.’

Lacked a certain ‘oomph & character’ of it’s peated sister. Pleasant easy sipper.

West Cork Virgin Oak c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

5th place, Sample 3, West Cork, Virgin Oak Cask, Single Malt, 43%

‘Honeyed hint of smoke?, soft mellow & earthy palate, prickliness on rear.’

The reveal surprised me again. I’d have expected richer vanilla & caramel with some peppery spice from the virgin oak casks. Obviously being ‘finished’ rather than ‘matured’ hadn’t brought out enough flavour for my liking.

So there we go.

A very enjoyable tasting session where 2 of the newest entrants to the Irish Whiskey scene excited me.

I look forward to many more!

Sláinte

A Blind Tasting Experience

In a departure from the usual – today’s blog is courtesy of the Irish Whiskey Stone Company who received one of my blind tasting packs.

This is the experience they enjoyed!

“About a week ago I saw a post on Twitter by a whiskey reviewer, @2DramsofWhiskey of Westmeath Whiskey World, in which he showed a picture of some vials of whiskey and informing us that he was going to be doing a blind whiskey tasting. I replied to his tweet asking what was a blind whiskey tasting and how does one go about doing it. Not really expecting an answer, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got a reply telling me that it could easily be arranged!

This was followed with some private messages in which I then had to admit that I know next to nothing about whiskey (which may surprise some of you, considering I sell whiskey stones but how and ever…)

That didn’t put the reviewer off and before I knew it, here I was with 3 samples of whiskey to try out.

I have to admit, it took me a few days to get around to doing it and a certain amount of mental preparation (don’t know why but I was quite daunted by this task!).

Anyway, today was the day. I got out the samples, I found three glasses, got a spittoon glass at the ready and a bottle of water to clean my palate between tasting.  

I got a pen and paper out ready to make some notes and cracked open Sample D. I poured some into a glass and first took note of the aroma, which struck me as quite sweet. I sipped and let it rest in my mouth, closed my eyes and thought for a moment about the flavours. The two flavours that struck me the most was citrus and wood. I then added a wee drop of water to see what flavours this would release and the sweetness became more intense. I found this sweetness too much for my liking to be honest.

Sample D West Cork Peat Charred Cask

I washed my mouth out with some water and proceeded to try out Sample E. Again, the first thing I noted was the aroma. This time I could almost detect the freshness of the sea. (probably not remotely a technical whiskey tasting term but it fits for me). This whiskey had a very pure taste and I found it very pleasant indeed.

Sample E Kilbeggan Rye

On to Sample F I went. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could catch a hint of peatiness. I like peat but not too much of it so I was wary. However, this was not overbearing at all. I tasted. Wow, what an explosion of flavour in my mouth. There was an almost orange tang of it but it was a little sharp for me. Having said that, I think this would be an amazing after-dinner tipple.

Sample F Mackmyra Reserve Cask

I gathered my notes and what you have just read is my semi-coherent interpretation of them. 

So, there you go. My first whiskey tasting. I actually really enjoyed it and it was a good challenge to write about it too!”

Many thanks to Irish Whiskey Stone Company for sharing their thoughts.

Have you tried blind tasting yet?

Sláinte