Category Archives: Irish Whiskey

Green Spot Château Léoville Barton

Green Spot Château Léoville Barton Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Bordeaux Wine Casks
46% ABV
$65
Website
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What the Distillery Says:
Château Leoville Barton is hte latest addition to the Spot whiskey family. This whiskey represents the coming together of two historic families, two stories of Irish endeavor and enterprise who together are the inspiration for this special edition whiskey.

Initially matured in a traditional mix of ex-Oloroso sherry and ex-Bourbon barrels the whiskeys were then transferred into the ex-Bordeaux wine casks for between 12 and 24 months. This imparted distinctive, floral flavors of varying intensity, resulting in a perfectly balanced whiskey. Celebrating an Irish heritage, the collaboration between Green Spot and Château Leoville Barton is not just the coming together of two unique stories; it is the fusion of two unique histories that as one deliver an exceptional whiskey.

Nose: It is the contribution of the French oak which drives the initial aroma adding some crisp woodland notes to the spicy Single Pot Still character. The wine seasoning brings a delicate touch of floral perfume and a hint of ripe berries such as raspberries and strawberries; these are in addition to the orchard fruits typical of Green Spot.
Taste: The familiar mouth coating effect is a very satisfying balance of oak and spices. Some vanilla sweetness works in harmony with the dry wine influence, while the fresh orchard fruits and French oak combine effortlessly with barley grains to complete the complexity.
Finish: The rich French oak character is slow to fade leaving the wine and spices of France and Ireland with the last word.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Crisp apples, green grapes, wine tannins, and cedar wood.
Palate: Wet toothpicks, black pepper, orange blossoms, and a nice vanilla cream sprinkled on Granny Smith apples and peaches.
Finish: Tannic with lingering black pepper.
Comments: As I’ve shared this whiskey with others it tends to be polarizing. Those that drink a fair amount of Irish don’t like it as much as those that are relatively new to the spirit. I like it okay but it doesn’t stun me like Yellow Spot and the Redbreasts do. It is a nice diversion from the regular but not something that I would go out of my way to seek out.
Rating: Stands Out

Jameson Cooper’s Croze

Jameson The Cooper’s Croze Irish Whiskey
43% ABV
$70
Website
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What the Distillery Says:
Our 5th generation Head Cooper, Ger Buckley, knows everything there is to know about wood, casks, butts and barrels. To celebrate his passion for Coopering, we have created The Cooper’s Croze, the first of the Whiskey Makers Series to launch in the U.S. Focusing on the profound influence the wood yields on a whiskey’s character, The Cooper’s Croze uses virgin American oak, seasoned bourbon and Iberian sherry barrels.

The whiskey’s namesake – the croze – is named after Ger’s favorite tool, an implement used to make the groove into which the head of the cask or barrel is positioned.

Tasting Notes
This non chill filtered whiskey effortlessly carries the charred virgin oak character with vanilla sweetness from the seasoned bourbon barrels and rich fruit flavors and a fine balance of floral and spice notes from the sherry barrels.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Sweet vanilla cream and hints of sherry fruits.
Palate: Creamy, fruity, sweet, and grassy.
Finish: Light and mildly woody with lingering vanilla notes. It turns spicy and bitter late in the finish.
Comments: This is the first of the “Whiskey Maker’s Series” that I’ve seen in Atlanta. It’s clearly Jameson and a tasty Jameson but not anything exceptional up against Jameson’s regular line up. At $70 this is pretty pricey with not much payoff. Average retail prices but if it was in the $40 range it would stand out a bit more.
Rating: Average

Glendalough 13 Year Old

Glendalough Single Malt Irish Whiskey Aged 13 Years
46% ABV
$90
Website
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What the Bottler Says:
While we’re talking numbers and lucky numbers… Did you know 13 is Ireland’s luckiest number? For us it means a glimpse at Ireland’s heroic age, a new golden age and a perfect age for an Irish single malt whiskey. This very special whiskey herald’s a second coming of Irish single malt that’s been a long time coming. After almost a century of blends defining Irish whiskey, Glendalough brings you a 13 year old single malt that has put in the hard yards. The style of whiskey that first made Irish whiskey great. The style of whiskey your great grandad drank. And a stylish whiskey whose time to be great is once again. It comes to you with hints of spice, creamy vanilla, biscuity malts, and that unmistakable clout of dedication that embodies the outstanding spirit of Ireland.

TASTING NOTES:

The nose is deep butterscotch, honeycomb and rich lemon meringue balanced with citrus fruits and just a hint of a clove spice.

The taste. Jumps to the front with an intense vanilla fudge luxurious sweetness and almost rock candy mixed with touches of fruit – lemon citrus, peach and dried apricot.
This is followed by deep spices; red peppercorn and light cloves. A truly velvety mouth feel that just hovers on the palate.

The finish. The spice is left lingering with under-layers of robust malt characteristics and deep oak notes. And again vanilla fudge reoccurs with a finish that lasts an eternity.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Rich, with dark notes of stewed cherries, raisins, cinnamon, and caramel.
Palate: The flavors are very forwardly sweet. Heavily sugared dark chocolate covering a chocolate orange.
Finish: The finish is a mid length with vanilla cream and polished oak.
Comments: Wow, I’m really impressed with this offering. $90 a bottle is steep for the age but Irish Distillers’ offerings in that age range are all near that price point. I find this to be a very interesting and pleasing offering from Glendalough’s sourced whiskey stock and something that you should try if you are an Irish whiskey fan.
Rating: Must Try

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

Glendalough 7 Year Old

Glendalough Single Malt Irish Whiskey Aged 7 Years
46% ABV
$50
Website
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What the Bottler Says:
The 7 seas bridge 7 continents that some say were made in 7 days. Even the light we see them in splits into 7. It’s the world’s favourite number and some say, a lucky one. But that’s not why we’ve released the first of our single malts as a 7 year old. Here at the Glendalough Distillery, we’re not superstitious, we find it brings bad luck.

As ever it’s all about the man on our bottle, St Kevin. Before he built his “City of 7 Churches” at Glendalough, Kevin spent 7 savage years in the wilderness. You see the number 7 has always been associated with the seekers, the thinkers and the searchers of truth. St Kevin was all of these and more.

He lived off the land around the upper lake, completely at one with nature, he was the kind of outdoorsman that’d put some of today’s action-men to shame. Tested through 7 sharp winters and inspired by the blush of 7 summers, it shaped him to be the man we revere. This whiskey was made in the traditional style its character shaped by 7 years.

Have a look on our bottle, you’ll see 7 silver crosses. These will lead you to each of the 7 churches, should you ever be stirred into going to Glendalough.

TASTING NOTES:

The nose is rich and sweet, a premium single malt Irish whiskey with a touch of cinnamon and more than a hint of citrus fruits – orange zest, lemon infused with vanilla ice cream. A touch of fresh floral notes like meadow flowers.

The taste. A silky velvety smooth palate with the returning orange zest tones to the fore, with rich creme brulee and dark chocolate notes
and just enough cinnamon and white pepper spice to keep it interesting, followed by the beautiful robust malt and oak influenced flavours, almost butterscotch, which mix wonderfully as the warmth expands through.

The finish is luxurious and lingering, the spicy, sweet notes elegantly marry on the finish and stay an eternity. Everything you’d expect from the perfect sipping whiskey.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Raisins, orange marmalade, peach preserves, and a crispness that reminds me of a mix of fresh split hardwood and dewy grass.
Palate: The palate is a bit of a struggle between a stone fruit sweetness (peaches and apricots), a cinnamon and pepper spiciness (Red Hots sprinkled with black pepper), and woody bitterness.
Finish: The finish is slightly hot but a bit of water will tame it. The lingering notes are cayenne pepper, mild tobacco, and bitter wood.
Comments: This is a fun dram to play around with. There is a lot going on and layers to unravel if you find yourself in a contemplative mood. The only detraction for me is that the different parts of the palate just don’t seem to bring themselves together as cohesively as I would like. Even still, this is a nice pour. The flavors and proof bring more to the table than like priced Irish competitors. Glendalough doesn’t say where this whiskey comes from. They are laying down whiskey and distilling gin and poitin too but this and the 13 year old are too old to have been distilled there. My guess would be Cooley. That’s not a bad thing at all. We in the States have been raising hell about bottlers pseudo pretending to have distilled spirits but it hasn’t hit that fervor level in Ireland yet. Regardless of who distilled the spirit it is good. Oddly enough, I’ve enjoyed the Cooley spirits bottled by others like Glendalough and Teeling a lot more than I ever cared for Cooley’s bottlings. So give this one a try when you see it.
Rating: Stands Out

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

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.