Rúa American Single Malt
American Single Malt — North Carolina, USATasted April 18, 2022In March I was in Killarney for a work conference and before dinner I ambled down the town hoping to take a look into the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder on my wander. Having found it, I would recommend a visit for any whiskeyphile - what a selection they have there! I hummed and hawed for several minutes before selecting a dram of Arran 14 as my aperitif. While nursing that at the bar I spied this bottle (Release 11, Batch 19-21) and I recalled @BDanner being a fan of it. So I asked the barman to prepare a measure for takeaway (another good reason to visit). Nose: Hay shed, sweet tea, light orange, honey Taste: Light bodied, malty, cherry, milk chocolate, orange No off notes, no burn. Very light and drinkable. Perfect for summer sipping. This is a remarkable whiskey! Remarkable insofar as it is this good while this young. Surely it can’t be 15 months old, can it⁉️Confirm or correct me someone, please.
Teeling Distillery Exclusive Irish Virgin Oak
Blended — IrelandTasted February 19, 2022This is the 2021 distillery exclusive which was only available at the Teeling distillery or from their online shop, and for each exclusive in the series they take their Small Batch whiskey and finish it in a different cask. Exclusive releases from earlier years were finished in Hungarian virgin oak or Chin-kapin American white oak, and I previously reviewed the chestnut finished release which was an interesting concoction but (for me) ultimately a failed experiment. For this release they took their Small Batch (which is a 75/25 blend of corn and malt aged for about 6 years in ex-bourbon casks) and they applied a 9 to 15 month finish in Irish virgin oak casks. Cream and warm fruits greet the nose, and it reminds me particularly of a Solero Exotic ice cream with vanilla, peach, pineapple and mango to the fore. But there are also some slight herbaceous and floral undernotes. This is unchilfiltered which may account for a more than expected heft on the palate. It's not chewy or oily but it isn't thin either. Some of the same warm fruits come through in taste, along with "a warming oak spice" as the official notes from Teeling suggest. But, boy have they understated that spice! Sorry, Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower. That's how my tongue feels after rolling this whiskey around a while, and a dry pepper dominates the finish. It's good. It's interesting. It's different. And I've got that loving feeling.
Glendalough Pot Still
Single Pot Still — IrelandTasted February 6, 2022Be forewarned. This is more a rueful rant than a review. Glendalough is my local distillery and I drive past it daily. They are operational for about 10 years and produce a lot of well regarded gin, as many young distilleries do. For their initial whiskey releases they purchased Cooley stock and sold it under their own brand. Again, par for the course with young Irish distilleries. Some of them are excellent like the 17yo mizunara finish single malt. But they hadn’t yet produced their own whiskey. I fancied owning something produced in my area, so I decided to wait. This is a 4yo whiskey, and they released it with fanfare in 2019 as their first pot still whiskey. It came out around the same time as Teeling and Drumshanbo were doing likewise. Great, I thought. They used oak from a local forest for the final year of virgin oak maturation. Even better, I thought. It’d be warming to have an inaugural release so firmly rooted in the area I now call home: a fresh, first still-run from the distIllery down the road; a lovingly barrelled and carefully watched-over piece of Wicklow; nectar from the “Garden of Ireland“. Filled with romantic notions and local pride I bought a bottle. I later learned that this first release of Glendalough pot still was not their own distillate. It annoys me that I went ‘all in’ on an alluring fantasy. Poor research on my part, and I guess a lack of transparency on theirs. Even the official blurb here in Distiller describes it as “the distillery’s first pot still whiskey“. It was their first pot still whiskey release, but not THEIR first pot still whiskey. The provenance of the whiskey doesn’t alter the taste, I know that, and this is still a solid whiskey (I particularly like the virgin oak finish). But something leaves a bitter taste…
Sailor's Home The Horizon
Blended — IrelandTasted December 23, 2021The Horizon is a blend of 10yo grain and single malt whiskeys, matured in ex-Bourbon casks before a finishing period in Barbados rums casks. The nose initially was a not unpleasant mixture of paint and something that reminded me of a science lab (methylated spirits perhaps?). After some time and on subsequent nosing it was easy to pick out lemon and peach. I’m generally not a fan of a rum-finished whiskey as I find that it becomes overly sugary for my tastes (Tullamore DEW XO Caribbean Rum Cask for example). However, while sweet, this retains a peppery kick on the palate and some orange zest and lemon tartness that pulls the needle back from the red zone on the sugar dial. Definitely one I’d try again.
Teeling Collinstown Collection 12 year
Blended — Ireland, IrelandTasted December 23, 2021This Teeling bottling is a travel retail exclusive for Dublin Airport and is a non-chill filtered 12yo Irish whiskey produced from casks of malt & grain that have been blended and allowed to marry in ex-Loupiac wine casks. Apparently Loupiac is a sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region in France, and the sweetness really comes through in this blend. The nose is malty and biscuity, with pineapple and lemon creamsicle the primary fruit aromas I could find. In the mouth it just thrums with sweet bright zesty fruits (lemon, orange, grapes and grapefruit). There is some spice and light tannins in the development, and the finish is a trailing dry, white wine sweetness with a lingering light pepper. Altogether, it is an impressive age-stated blend.
Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Special Reserve
Blended — IrelandTasted December 21, 2021Gold medal winner at the 2021 Irish Whiskey Awards in the 'Blended With Age Statement' category. Tasted from a sample and it could be an off night for my senses as I thought this was nowhere near as good as I remembered it. The nose holds up with a bit of juicy fruit chewing gum, pear, stewed apple, raisin and a delicate cardboard mustiness. The palate is fruity and malty, with light salt and spice but it is maybe a touch too tannic. Last time round I scored this 4 stars, but it doesn't merit it tonight.
Celtic Cask Tríocha a Cúig (35) 1999 Oloroso Cask
Single Malt — IrelandTasted December 10, 2021At the 2021 Irish Whiskey Awards the Celtic Cask 35 not only took top honours in the best Single Cask category, but out of a total of 150 different whiskeys it emerged overall winner as Irish Whiskey of the Year 2021. Don’t let the cask number 35 fool you into thinking it is a 35 year old whiskey. It was initially matured in a first fill bourbon cask for 18 years before being partly decanted in March 2018 for a further period of maturation in an old 125 litre solera sherry cask that previously matured oloroso sherry. [Lengthy aside: one of the proposed changes to the Irish whiskey technical file that were submitted by the Irish Whiskey Association is to remove the use of numbers on labels that may be misinterpreted as an age statement. Conor McGregor’s Proper No. Twelve is seen to be the most popular transgressor and it has been mooted as the reason why the change was suggested. The most significant member of Irish Whiskey Association is Irish Distillers (Pernod Ricard) who are the makers of Jameson.] The sherry influence is significant in this whiskey and maybe overpoweringly so. The nose is a festive winter bouquet of mince pies, brandy, banana, fig, dark chocolate, and Christmas cake. The sherry influence dominates the palate and finish where it comes across as dry, sweet and tannic dark fruits much like a tonic wine. At 53.25% abv it is a bit numbing and it is all the better for a good dash of water to dampen its tannic and the spirity nature. As it happens, as a lottery winning member of my whiskey club I was one of the many judges for the Irish Whiskey Awards this year, and this was one of the 35 whiskeys that I blind tasted and rated. I rated it 33rd out of those 35 drams 😮 which goes to show how individual taste is or how pants I am at this whiskey lark. Most likely a little from column A; a little from column B.
BenRiach 16 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted November 7, 2021Nose: rhubarb crumble, touch of chocolate, apple tart crust, custard, tiramisu, red wine, musty red grape skin, toffee Taste: salt, oaky, spice, red apples, winey, nothing peaty, slight walnut Finish: salt, tea This smells better than it tastes but the palate improved after a while in the glass, and again with a drop of water - less salty and tannic. It doesn’t remind me of any other scotches. In fact it more closely compares to some wine-aged Irish malts from the Cooley distillery that I have tried. I got this 3cl sample in a gift pack from Tasting.com and the accompanying booklet shows the image of this regular 16yo which is ex-bourbon cask matured. But my guess is I was given the 16yo Sauternes Finish. I tasted this alongside BenRiach’s Septendecim and for me this was better.
Egan's Fortitude Single Malt
Single Malt — IrelandTasted October 17, 2021This is another sample received from the Celtic Whiskey Club and on the face of it, Egan’s Fortitude single malt should have a lot going for it: ✅ Non-chillfiltered ✅ 46% ABV ✅ Full maturation in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks The nose started off well enough with a pleasing smell of Cadbury’s fruit & nut chocolate and Christmas mince pies. However, I found the palate was hot and spirity and seemed to betray a rather young distillate and the sherry maturation delivered a dry, musty, tannic taste. The finish continued the hot and tannic theme, with pepper, strong tea, and nut being the flavours that were most prominent for me. Overall it was pretty unremarkable, bordering on not nice. There was something harsh and young about it, and the full maturation in PX seemed a vain attempt to knock the edges of it rather than a thoughtful means of achieving balance or complexity.
Egan's Legacy Reserve IV
Single Malt — IrelandTasted October 16, 2021Released in 2021, this is volume IV of the Egan’s Legacy Reserve series. It’s aged for 17 years in ex-Bourbon barrels before a further year of maturation in Moscatel De Valencia casks. Each volume release gets a year older than the last, and each release is limited to 1000 bottles.I got a sample of this year’s release by way of the Celtic Whiskey Club. The nose is a little muted, but I guess there isn’t much in the sample. ‘Not brash or overpowering’ would be another way to put it. Leather, blackberry, orange. Bodes well. Mmmm! Rich, nutty taste that develops into an eruption of delicious fruitiness – hard to pick out what. The finish is a warm and long spiciness with a slightly tannic taper. This is hella nice! What’s nicer is that as part of the Celtic Whiskey Club.tasting session I was lucky enough to bag a bottle as a prize. Whoop!