It wasn’t planned.
I was supposed to be revising for an exam – but the Teeling Small Batch on the Aer Lingus flight only reacquainted myself with this lovely little blend & provided a taster for what was unknowingly to come.
After checking into the city centre hotel – a quick read over the course book – it was out for a wander to visit the Whiskey Jar pub.
The promise of 400+ whiskies to whet my appetite accompanied by a tasty pie for the late Sunday afternoon lunch sounded too good to miss.
On entering I was taken aback!
Gathered in the pub were a clutch of whiskey companies displaying their wares.
A small cover charge – along with a tasting glass – had me at the first stall.
Now any company that puts out a bottle called Fighting Cock emblazoned with a fiery red rooster just calls out for a tasting!
At 51.5% this high rye bourbon packs a lively spicy punch on the nose.
It followed through with rich warming vanilla & caramel in a mouth filling flavour explosion.
My kinda bourbon.
The rep guided me onto the Rittenhouse Rye.
A much more cultured well balanced offering than the beast that is Fighting Cock.
In the interests of exploration Mellow Corn also hit my palate.
Normally corn wouldn’t be a favourite of mine – but the high ABV – 50% – along with a minimum 2 years in virgin oak casks had imbued this whiskey with some very attractive notes & flavours.
I could be a corn convert with this one!
Old Pulteney were up next.
They’ve had a little brand update – new labels & new expressions – I do miss the old fishing boat motif however.
The Huddart NAS – with the peat influence coming from the barrels rather than the barley – was a pleasant little easy peaty sipper.
The 15 year old was well balanced – just lacked a little character – whereas the top of the range 18yo had gained some gorgeous drying woody tannins from the extra years in the cask & pulled me in.
Jameson were on show too.
I had a quick chat with the rep who informed me Whiskey Jar have a monthly whisky showcase which is usually well attended & seems to be growing. Check out the Whiskey Jar link for further events.
Being familiar with the Jameson on show – I was guided to fellow Pernod Ricard brand Glenlivet for a vertical tasting of their core range.
All very grand – but nothing exciting.
Only the Captain’s Reserve had a bit more going on to entice me.
Cotswolds showcased their very enticingly fresh single malt.
Having already polished off a bottle I was just congratulating the rep when this was produced.
A cask strength single malt matured in American Oak which previously contained red wine & has been shaved, toasted and charred too!
At 60.9% there is no burn on the nose.
It does fill the palate – but the rich flavours shine through in a fabulous frenzy of taste more like a 50% offering!
Dangerous stuff – yet oh so gorgeous.
Without doubt my prize pick of the evening!
For a last pour it was back to Heaven Hill and a shot of Elijah Craig Small Batch.
Despite being a low rye bourbon this had an attractive spice from the years in virgin charred oak. The rounded complexity of the drinking experience surprised me.
Show over – most of the whisky fans departed.
I settled down to a hot pie washed down with my original intended choice for the evening – English Whisky.
Chapter 15’s a heavy peat hitter. I like it for that – but it’s rather one dimensional otherwise.
I got chatting to some other late departees so another pie – and another whiskey – were ordered.
Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye.
Like Chapter 15’s peat – the rye dominated here – but with additional fruity notes too.
Very fresh & enjoyable.
Time to head home – or I should say the hotel bar?
I pondered over a glass of Hibiki Harmony – which sang to me a lot sweeter than on my first encounter – while shooting the breeze with a fellow late night imbiber.
A hot mug of tea eventually rounded off my supposedly Sunday afternoon few.
I did make the exam the next morning.
A hearty breakfast works wonders.
WSET Level 2 Spirits – with distinction if you were wondering.
I think the liquid training added to the pleasure!