Category Archives: Irish Whiskey

Bushmills Sherry Cask Reserve

Bushmills Sherry Cask Reserve Single Malt Irish Whiskey
The Steamship Collection

40% ABV
$89 per liter
Website
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What the Distillery Says:
THE STEAMSHIP COLLECTION™ is new innovation range, inspired by travel, from Ireland’s oldest working distillery
15 February 2016: BUSHMILLS® Irish Whiskey today announced its first new range of limited edition Irish whiskeys available exclusively to shoppers in select travel retail outlets – THE STEAMSHIP COLLECTION™. The first release in the collection, SHERRY CASK RESERVE, combines the centuries-old fine Irish whiskey making craft with intercontinental flavours, to mark the 125th anniversary of the maiden voyage of SS Bushmills.

The limited edition collection is inspired by the extraordinary voyages of the SS Bushmills steamship to new corners of the world and introduces a range of special cask matured Bushmills Irish Whiskeys. In 1890 the ship, commissioned by then owners The Boyd Brothers, set course for America, travelling as far as Philadelphia and Yokohama, before eventually returning refilled with casks of rum, fortified wine and bourbon – the gateway to new flavour possibilities.

David Phelan, Director of Jose Cuervo® Global Travel Retail, said: “The launch marks an exciting phase for Bushmills and demonstrates Jose Cuervo’s commitment to unlocking the potential of this legendary whiskey in the high profile travel retail channel. The Steamship Collection is available now in Belfast, Dublin and London Heathrow, and while it can’t be purchased elsewhere, we hope distribution will extend across the world, just like the voyages of SS Bushmills to the USA, Asia and beyond.”

SHERRY CASK RESERVE is exclusively matured in first-fill Oloroso sherry butts to deliver additional spiced honey, dark chocolate and rich dried fruit flavours. The bottle is presented in a distinctive maritime-designed packaging featuring a replica illustration of the famous Bushmills steamship.

Speaking about Bushmills’ tradition for innovation Colum Egan, Master Distiller at The Old Bushmills Distillery, said, “For centuries distillers have experimented with different barrels so naturally I was inspired by the adventures of the ship and the opportunities it opened to experiment with various casks from around the world. So, together with Master Blender Helen Mulholland, we created a whiskey with a rich, complex flavour and a smooth finish – a characteristic synonymous with our range of triple distilled whiskeys.”

A limited number of bottles of SHERRY CASK RESERVE are available now exclusively to travellers in Belfast City, Dublin and Heathrow T5 priced at €80, £65, $89 for 1Litre. It is the first release in the collection, which will soon comprise three permanent expressions plus regular special releases.

TASTING NOTES
Oloroso (‘scented’ in Spanish) is a darker sherry, with a rich and nutty flavour profile. This adds to sherry’s intense raisin characteristics and provides a new layer of complexity within the whiskey.

Colour: Medium rich gold
Nose: A full bodied intriguing aroma with dried fruit, spices and burnt sugar sweetness
Taste: Bushmills’ distinctive honeyed maltiness is intensified in this robust, darker liquid. Dark chocolate, nuttiness and spice with sweet oils mingle with vanilla and honey.
Finish: A long, sweet and smooth finish with subtle liquorice notes.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Brown sugar oatmeal, allspice berries, prunes, dried cranberries, and raw almonds.
Palate: Creamy honey mouthfeel that is way ahead of the 80 proof strength, chocolate covered almonds, and cloves.
Finish: Mint and fennel seed with a fading tannic finish.
Comments: This is one of the more un-Bushmill whiskeys from Bushmills I’ve had in some time. It is a very tasty whiskey in its own right but I find it even more intriguing as a different facet of the Bushmills stock. The sherry balances supremely well with the other components. Delicious!
Rating: Must Try

We would like to thank Bushmills for sending us a bottle for review.

Whiskey Irreverent with Stefan Part 2

Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton review (part 2): Consummation

Apparently based on reader feedback, some of you drunken SOBs felt slighted due to the lack of details around the actual contents of the bottle. While what follows is that actual review, I would like to say I write it under protest as I am not normally one to succumb to this new-fangled hipster lifestyle that you all have clearly adopted as your battle flag. I mean seriously, how do you call yourself a man when you focus on the actual contents of the bottle rather than the superficial packaging?! I was so outraged by this feedback that I had to spend an entire day with my beard trimming consultant and listening to music you probably won’t hear about for months just to get in the right headspace. But since Richard told me I had to here goes….

Yeah it was ai’ght.

Next.

– Stefan

Whiskey Irreverent with Stefan

A friend asked if he could post a review for our blog of the new Chateau Leoville Barton finished Green Spot. So of course I said “sure why not.” This is the first in a potential series titled “Whiskey Irreverent with Stefan” and I hope you enjoy.

Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton review : Foreplay

Let’s start from the beginning. Just looking at the packaging it is obvious this is not a bottle for the common man. There are no cute pictures of ponies or fruit or old men smoking cigars, just words. And not just regular words; there are not just Irish words on the cardboard tube but French ones too. Plus it’s green. I mean Pappy 23 doesn’t even come in a protective cardboard tube. Just some crappy velvet bag that will only contain the shards of glass if you drop it. This tube will let you get St Paddy’s day in Boston schnockered and still protect your coveted Irish coffee mixer without so much as even a scratch as the po-po grinds your face into the ground and books you for pissing in public. In a church. On a Tuesday.

Sinner.

Looking at the bottle, the label clearly states that it is better than all other Irish whiskeys. Which, by extension, means that he who possesses such a magnificent bottle (and cardboard tube) is clearly better than all those who don’t possess it. Which is most of you if you are still reading this review rather than sitting in the tank after emptying the aforementioned bottle into your drunken Irish gullet. In a church. On a Tuesday. The bottle is clear like a Flint Michigan water and the shoulders are abrupt and possess notes reminiscent of an Eastern European gymnast. Looking at the liquid inside, it is obvious that this is the creation of at least 5…no….6 men who possess beards of Paul Bunyan status. But you already knew that.

The cork is noble and draws influence from Lady Di (or is it Gaga?). The impact of both Greco and Roman wrestling is obvious and one wonders how the bottle ever made it to market with such an obvious conflict between the two styles, especially when you consider how global warming complicates the entire debate beyond that of common dinner table banter.

Clearly this is a bottle that transcends generations, except baby boomers, who can’t appreciate an expression of this voltage unless it is mixed with carrots and puréed. When one finally peels the foil off the cap like a bride’s gown on her wedding night to reveal its magical contents is there really anything else let to say?

– Stefan

Lord Lieutenant Kinahan’s 10 Year Old

Lord Lieutenant Kinahan’s Single Malt Irish Whiskey Aged 10 Years
Bottle Number: 080583, Batch 1

46% ABV
$60 to $70
Website
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What the Bottler Says:
Kinahan’s was founded in 1779 on Trinity Street, Dublin. In 1807 Kinahan’s attracted the attention of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, so much so that he ordered for the whiskey to be kept exclusively for himself. This resulted in each cask being marked ‘L.L.’ (Lord Lieutenant).

In 1863 the Court of Dublin awarded Kinahan’s L.L. whiskey with legal protection against other Irish producers who were trying to invade the brand. This event is recorded in the Dublin archives, precedenting the first protection of a whiskey trademark in history.

By the mid 19th Century Kinahan’s L.L. whiskey came to the attention of many American connoisseurs, including Jerry Thomas, “the father of American mixology”. Kinahan’s L.L. is known to have been the whiskey of choice for Jerry Thomas since 1862.

Our Single Malt Irish Whiskey has been matured exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels for at least 10 years. Our Malt Master carefully samples the aged whiskey, cask by cask. He will only select single malt which overlays the original mellow, rich and full flavoured character that is unique to a forgotten Irish Whiskey of ‘L.L.’ flavour.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Richer, fuller, more well rounded and robust on the nose. Dark fruits and oatmeal raisin cookies.
Palate: Pleasant creamy sweetness with just a touch of light saltiness. Oranges, cherry pie, and cocoa powder come forward with a peppery woody back palate.
Finish: The finish is slightly dry and a little bland.
Comments: I saw this and thought “ugh, another bland sourced Irish Malt” but this is really a nice and enjoyable dram. It’s more flavorful and attention grabbing than I expected. I can’t say it’s a $70 malt but if it was under $50 I would recommend it highly.
Rating: Stands Out

Egan’s 10 Year Old

Egan’s Single Malt Irish Whiskey Aged 10 Years
47% ABV
$50
Website
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What the Bottler Says:
While bourbon and Scotch get more press, Irish whiskeys have quietly become the fastest growing, barrel-aged spirit in America. They’re accessible, highly aromatic and loaded with an abundance of palate pleasing flavors. In addition, years of steadily increasing popularity have not significantly driven up their price, thus keeping them relative bargains.

Among the brands fanning the category’s popularity is recent arrival EGAN’S SINGLE MALT IRISH WHISKEY. Although new to the U.S. market, the whiskey can hardly be referred to as an overnight success. It actually represents a legacy of nearly 160 years. The founders established their firm on Bridge Street in the heart of Tullamore, County Offaly.

“For our initial foray into the American market we’ve selected a single malt that’s been barrel-aged for 10 years and bottled at 47% alcohol (94 proof),” says Jonathan Egan, 6th generation owner. “We firmly believe it to be one of the finest Irish single malts on the market. After a few minutes left alone with our whiskey, we’re confident that malt enthusiasts and aficionados will become lifelong fans.”

While I can’t speak for others, I’m convinced he’s right. The Egan’s Single Malt is bottled non-chill filtered, which leaves it unaltered and in full possession of its character. The whiskey has a fetching golden/amber appearance, a light, silky textured body and a generous fruit and malt bouquet. The longer you allow it to breath and fully oxygenate in the glass, the more of its engaging aromas will come forward. Egan’s has a slightly warm entry that quickly expands, filling the mouth with flavors of honey, malt, cranberries, apples and a bevy of baking spices. The long, dry finish reveals the added flavors of caramel and baking spices. With a price tag of under $50, it’s a virtual steal. Kudos

What Richard Says:
Nose: For a 10 Year old Cooley product the nose on this is more barrel forward. That lighter, grassy fresh, crisp apple Irish nose tucks itself way in the back behind the barrel.
Palate: Light, crisp, and fairly drinkable. I read somewhere that a fellow was referring to some of these rebranded Cooley malts as “relabeled Tyrconnell” or something to that effect. That’s fairly on par. I find this base whiskey to be unoffensive and fairly drinkable. However, in and of itself it does not leave much to bring you around for another go.
Finish: A little hotter than you would expect for an Irish whiskey of this age. It leaves you with impressions of wet wood and industrial solvents.
Comments: Meh. If this was $30 to $35 I would say average for a reasonably priced 10 year old Irish whiskey. Approaching $50 (and fortunately Matt bought this on sale) it’s an easy pass. There are a lot of whiskeys I would rather spend $50 on.
Rating: Probably Pass