Dunville Distillery, Belfast | by National Library of Ireland on The Commons, Circa 1900.
All of the following five whiskies are made by Irish Distillers, at the New Midleton Distillery, in County Cork, Ireland.
Midleton Very Rare. Combines both pot still and grain whiskeys, no age statement, but the individual contents are generally at least 12 years old, with some much more than that. Aged in ex-bourbon American Oak barrels. So – what is it like? Well, if you think that you enjoy Irish whiskey because you like Jameson then you’re in for a surprise – most Irish whiskeys are nothing like it! Midleton Very Rare was perhaps the lightest of what I tasted today. I didn’t enjoy it at first, yet enjoyed it a lot more when I circled back to it at the end of the tasting.
Green Spot. Brighter note on the nose. Very different from the 1st, better.
not bad. 7 to 10 year old, non chill filtered. Crisp apple or pear notes. Notes of vanilla, honey. Bourbon casks. Creamy mouth feel. Circling back, still not a favorite.
Redbreast aged 12 years. Nose is bitter compared to bourbons. Single pot still whiskey. First fill Bourbon, then Sherry casks. Nowadays there are no guidelines for what a sherry cask is. 500 liters. Sherry aged for a minimum of 2 years. Has Autumn notes.
Redbreast Lustau. Made to pay homage to the sherry industry. Dryer. Start in 2nd fill casks. Less influence from the casks initial spirit. More tannic, spice notes. Then oloroso sherry casks for another year of aging. Non aged statement. 10 to 13 years old total. 92 proof. The Irish call this Christmas cake spice flavor 🙂 that’s an Irish term. Dry at first, but it seemed to sweeten up greatly when I circled back around. Amazing how increasing levels of alcohol in the blood can change one’s perception.
Powers John’s Lane Release.
Big, bold, non chill filtered. I don’t like the nose at all, smells like rubbing alcohol. Flavors are baking spice, honey notes. More of a malted barley flavor. Circling around, I still don’t enjoy this one.
I went to an Irish whiskey tasting event at Kappy’s Fine Wine & Spirits, in Medford, Massachusets.
The word “whiskey” is an Anglicisation of the first word in the Gaelic phrase, uisce betha, meaning “water of life.” This is a translation of the Latin term aqua vitae, which was commonly used to describe distilled spirits during the Middle Ages. Peat is rarely used in the malting process, so that Irish whiskey has a smoother finish as opposed to the smoky, earthy overtones common to some Scotches. There are notable exceptions to these rules in both countries. Although traditionally spelled with an ‘e’, Irish whiskey may be marketed as “Irish whisky”
There are legal standards that must be met for something to be sold as Irish Whiskey. It must be distilled on the island of Ireland from a mash of malted cereals , and which has been: saccharified by the diastase of malt contained therein; fermented by the action of yeast; distilled at less than 94.8% abv; aged for at least three years in wooden casks, such as oak; only water and plain caramel colouring may be added (E150a); have a minimum alcoholic by volume content of 40%, all done on the island of Ireland itself.
– adapted from Wikipedia, “Irish Whiskey”
Glendalough Poutin Sherry Cask $38- A mash bill of malted barley and sugar beet, so it technically isn’t a whiskey. Aged in oak casks. Very nice, but not special. More expensive that the Double Barrel, so it again shows me that I don’t always favor the more expensive forms.
Glendalough Double Barrel $27.99. distilled in a Coffey still. Aged in ex-bourbon and finished for six months in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. Really quite good!
Glendalough Single Malt, aged 7 years. $44.99. Just like a Scotch! Non-chill filtered, made in a copper pot still. Slightly smoky, yet not peaty. Sweet, perhaps a hint of citrus. Since I hate strong peat, I was able to enjoy the subtle smoky tint. I could get used to this 🙂
Glendalough Single Malt, aged 13 years. $79.99. Also smoky, a bit dark for me. Hints of spice and vanilla.
Glendalough Poitin – Made with barley and beets, so it technically isn’t a whiskey. This is traditionally a common form of Irish moonshine. Not much nose to it. vegetal. It was easy to drink, no burn, but there’s no real flavor there. Seems like moonshine or whiskey; not sure that it has much purpose other than as a mixer, or as a vehicle to get drunk.
Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey- Their standard, younger whiskey was okay. It was light and bright, easy to drink. Similar to some other Irish whiskies that I have tried. However, didn’t seem like anything special. Not planning on buying this.
Tullamore Dew, Aged 12 Years, Triple Distilled. Now this was different. Darker, with a richer flavor. Really stands up to other good whiskies out there. Irish whiskey aficionados might like to try this. It’s not hitting my favored flavor profiles, but it was nice to try.
Flaming Leprechaun Irish Whiskey
Made by Malcolm Brown Ltd. (Dundalk, Ireland.) The distiller says “Flaming Leprechaun Irish Whiskey is an original blend that is naturally golden in colour, with a slightly sweet smell and taste coming from the unique wood character of each hand picked cask. To keep the taste authentic, honest and true to the rich heritage of previous generations of distillers we ensure that no flavours, sweetness or allergens are added to the whiskey during the blending process.”
I was told that this aged for 4 years, and is advertised as being part of a line of “premium distilled spirits.” Yeah, okay 😉 You can just taste a hint of smokiness from the sherry casks that it was aged in. It was … nice? No burn, not a strong nose. Just nothing special here to recommend it.
Jameson Irish Whiskey, from Jameson Distillery, now owned by Pernod Ricard, a French liquor production corporation. 80 Proof. Aged in sherry casks, and then in bourbon casks, aged for 7 years. An amazingly smooth and delicious spirit. From Smithfield Village, Dublin, Ireland.
Jameson Caskmates – Well! This was hard to review… but it’s basically stout beer barrels used to age whiskey. I couldn’t stand the taste of this at all, it’s just not whisky. There was even a hint of cocoa – which normally makes a whiskey a real winner for me, but I couldn’t get around the beer flavors. But for those people who like to mix beer and whiskey? This might be for you.
Jameson Black Barrel – Extra aged in charred barrels – and as expected, it added a beautiful hint of smokiness (yet without the peat flavor) Darn good
Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
My friend Craig and I engaging in purely scientific research, again. From their website: “Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey combines a high amount of malt whiskey matured in former Oloroso Sherry casks, with a sweet, batch-distilled grain whiskey.”
Black Bush, a blend of whiskies from 7 to 11 years old. 80 proof. Aged in Oloroso Sherry casks, and in ex-bourbon casks. Distilled in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Old Bushmills Distillery is now owned by Jose Cuervo. A far better drink that Dewar’s, and it has an audience, but I’m not a fan. Gentle sherry nose. A thin palette, although you can definitely taste the sherry influence.
Redbreast Single Pot Still, Lustau Edition
From their website “As are all Redbreast whiskies, Lustau Edition is crafted from a marriage of malted and unmalted barley, which are milled and mashed before being triple-distilled through traditional copper-pot stills. The inclusions of unmalted barley in the whiskey’s mashbill, along with the tradition of triple distillation, are uniquely Irish approaches to producing whiskey.”
Finished in first-fill oloroso-sherry butts . This had a floral nose yet almost a peaty flavor. Decent, but not worth $70.