There are a plethora of new players attracted to the market buoyed by the confidence of future growth.
From Conor McGregor’s Proper No Twelve at one end of the scale – to An Fear Grinn – a single malt, single cask offering from private bottler Whiskey Factor at the other end.
I welcome them all.
It would be a far more worrying state of affairs if there weren’t any newcomers investing in Irish Whiskey.
What unites both of the above releases is they are both representations of spirit distilled at existing distilleries. Until the new crop of distilleries have matured stocks of whiskey at hand – most new entrants have no alternatives.
Whilst Proper No Twelve is a decent enough standard blend banking on it’s celebrity owner’s popularity – or infamy as the case may be – An Fear Grinn is a single cask bottling from an unnamed Irish Distillery. It showcases a liquid not usually available to the public. A liquid that is normally vatted & watered down as a core range single malt – or even potentially used – in small quantities – to give added flavour to a standard blend – like the one above.
I very fortuitously obtained a generous sample from the Whiskey Factor for evaluation & enjoyment.
Now the first thing you notice is the colour.
It’s very pale.
This is a 16 year old single malt matured exclusively in a single ex-bourbon cask.
It represents it’s natural colour.
Without the use of added caramel – it’s what most of our whiskey should look like.
The simple act of pouring a measure into the Túath glass revealed a pleasing waft of warm vanilla.
Clearly no chill filtering either.
At 57% you’d expect a bit of a punch – yet the nose is very fresh & fruity with a hint of tannic woodiness in the background.
Surprisingly smooth on the palate. The rich tannins make their presence felt before the warm vanilla & citrusy fruits shine through.
It’s only on the finish the cask strength of this bottling makes itself known. An explosion of alcohol mixed in with fabulous flavours dances around in a prickly heat before slowly subduing into an oaky spiciness & fruit finale.
An Fear Grinn is only available via Whiskey Factor here.