Category Archives: Taste of the…

Greenore 18 Year Old

Greenore 18 Year Old Single Grain Irish Whiskey
46% ABV/92 Proof
$100 to $120
Available in select markets

What the Distillery Says:
The Greenore 18 Year Old is the oldest bottling of an Irish single grain whiskey in the world. It follows on from the highly successful Greenore 15 Year Old which was voted the World’s Best Single Grain at the IWSC in 2009 and 2010.

This small batch bottling has been limited to just 4000 bottles; it has no chill filtration and is bottled at 46% alcohol by volume.

By using modern distilling techniques, Ireland’s only independent Irish whiskey distillery has created a whole new expression of Irish whiskey. With the smoothest, sweetest taste of an style of Irish whiskey, we feel this will make it accessible to a whole new generation of Irish whiskey consumers.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Fresh cut hay and honeysuckle. With water it leans toward roasted oats and a hint of cinnamon and bananas. There is also something floral like cherry blossoms but not quite as sweet.
Palate: Citrus notes and an antiseptic quality. With water is opens up nicely to a more buttery, creamy, and sweeter palate.
Finish: Crisp, dry and short by itself. If you add water it actually intensifies the antiseptic quality on the finish but also makes it hang around for a while.
Comments: I’m always rooting for grain whiskey in the same way I do for blends. I feel they aren’t appreciated and maybe not understood as fully as they should be. Greenore 18 leaves me in a quandary. It has a lovely nose all around but the palate blossoms with water and finish shines more without water. I’m sure there’s a perfect ratio of water out there somewhere but I just haven’t found it. I think it stands out but with a caveat. Among grain whiskeys it is a standout and being Irish it’s also something of a curiosity. However, I do think it is a slightly unbalanced drinking experience that would move it more toward average on the spectrum of all whiskeys. That said, it is worth a try if you’re will to understand and appreciate it for what it is.
Rating: Stands Out

What Matt Says:
Matt has not had a chance to try this whiskey yet.

We want to thank Cooley for providing us with review samples.

Dalmore Gran Reserva

The Dalmore Gran Reserva Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky
40% ABV/80 Proof
$64.99
Widely Available

What the Distillery Says:
The Gran Reserva offers a lively, youthful expression of malt whisky derived from the combination of 60 percent sherry wood and 40 percent American white oak-aged malts ranging from 10 to 15 years of age. The sherry cask proportion is increased to around 60 percent, delivering an intense citrus and spicy
experience with balancing sweet, vanilla finish.

Color: Mahogany, trending toward soft gold hues, rather than amber.
Nose: Firm; spirituous. Pleasing citric notes dominate the forceful bouquet, which is balanced by soft shadings of sherry and vanillin oak.
Taste: Distinctive malt flavors predominate at first, before yielding to sweet marmalade and spice cake. Hints of roasted coffee and dark chocolate complete an almost classic, single malt expression characteristic of The Dalmore.
Finish: Ripe oranges and lemon peel provide the zesty, top notes to a moderate finish with a kiss of peat.

What Richard Says:
Nose: A fine steakhouse dinner with orange zest. A heavy cabernet or malbec with perfectly broiled New York strip. There’s a meaty character that plays well with the sherry.
Palate: Sweet and zesty initially. It settles well in the mouth and reminds me of espresso and cocoa powder.
Finish: The finish is smooth with a little of that citrus zest. That meaty/sherry playfulness from the nose lingers in the throat.
Comments: A few years ago Dalmore went through a rebranding. Bottles were changes, expressions were rotated, bottling proofs moved a little. The Gran Reserva is the spiritual successor to the old Cigar Malt. I miss the Cigar Malt. It was a personal favorite. However, it was a bit sweeter than the Gran Reserva. As my appreciation for fine cigars has grown I realize the Gran Reserva is actually a better accompaniment. It flows in nicely next to the cigar rather that vying for attention.
Rating: Stands Out

What Matt Says:
Matt has not had a chance to review this whisky yet.

Our thanks to Laura with The Baddish Group for providing us with review samples.

Van Winkle 12 Year Old Lot “B”

Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Years Old Lot “B” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
45.2% ABV/90.4 Proof
$50 to $60
Available in the U.S.

What the Distillery Says:
Van Winkle Special Reserve is the perfect combination of age and proof. This sweet, full bodied whiskey has been described by some as “nectar.” We agree! The 12 years of aging and medium proof of 45.2 ABV (90.4 proof) seem to be just right in creating a very pleasant drink of whiskey. This fine whiskey can compete with any excellent cognac as an after dinner drink. The overall impression is rich and deep.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Very rich with lots of honey and a distilled fruit spirit note similar to cognac.
Palate: Creamy with a lot of oak comes through first. It’s very soft yet big. It is an interesting contrast. I get a few of those cognac notes from the nose too. This could be cognac’s big burly Appalachian cousin.
Finish: Very dry with just a touch of lingering wood.
Comments: I really enjoy this bourbon. It’s one of my favorites of the Van Winkle line. That said, the oak and dryness may not appeal to everyone. I think it definitely stands out and personally it is a must try. However, I can’t put it as a must try to the masses.
Rating: Stands Out

What Matt Says:

Matt has not had a chance to try this whiskey yet.

Redbreast 15

Redbreast Single Irish Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey Aged 15 Years
$75
46% ABV/ 92 Proof
Available in most markets

What the Distillery Says:
Unique among Whiskeys, Redbreast is a ‘single’, unblended, Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey which has been Triple Distilled and Matured in Oak Casks for not less than Fifteen Years. The uncompromising dedication to authenticity and Quality gives Redbreast a traditional smooth Mellow Character and a Taste which is Full Flavored and assertive but over Robust.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Malty, grassy, and herbal. It’s a little more muted on the nose than the 12.
Palate: A slight sweetness wit balanced wood notes but hotter than the 12.
Finish: A little spicy with a good bit of oak and malty notes.
Comments: Redbreast 12 is a classic. So the 15 should be more so right? Well, it’s a very nice whiskey in the same vein as the 12 but not necessarily an improvement. It’s definitely an Irish you should try if given the chance but I don’t think it’s worth paying up for a bottle of this over the 12 Year Old.
Rating: Must Try

What Matt Says:
Matt has not had a chance to try this whiskey yet.

Templeton Rye

Templeton Small Batch Rye Whiskey
40% ABV/80 Proof
$39.99
Currently very hard to find

What the Distillery Says:
Upon first impression, the unique, small batch rye whiskey presents a rye spiciness and almost bittersweet taste that is found in the rye grain. Other impressions are dried fruit, toffee, caramel notes and allspice flavors.

Color: Deep amber
Nose: Mellow, yet complex balance
Palate: Dense mixture of spiciness with sweet undertones of dried fruit, toffee, and caramel
Finish: Clean and spicy

What Richard Says:
Nose: Licorice, clove, cocktail bitters, and something meaty that I can’t put my finger on. It all comes together in a pleasant way.
Palate: You really get that characteristic spicy zing from rye. It plays with a notable sweetness reminscent of candy. Candied fruit maybe?
Finish: It finishes warm and spicy.
Comments: I really like this one. It’s a shame that it’s so hard to get a hold of. With LDI (the original source) running low on aged rye stock we may not see too much relief in that regard in the near future.
Rating: Stands Out

What Matt Says:
Matt has not had a chance to try this whiskey yet.

Our thanks to The Baddish Group for providing us review samples.