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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 1, 2014


A little bag of interesting Irish

… And probably good ones, according to their impeccable pedigrees… I mean, lineages.
Irish Malt 22 yo 1991/2014 (49.2%, The Whisky Fair, bourbon barrel, 184 bottles) Four stars In theory, this bottling should be either a Cooley or a Bushmills. Such old Irish are very uncommon! Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s a very fruity one, ridden with bananas and ripe mangos, with touches of vanilla and lemongrass in the background. In a way, it hints at some Benriachs, or maybe older Balblairs. Very sexy, very easy, very appealing. Mouth: same kind of profile, bursting with tart tropical fruits, grapefruits, oranges, passion fruits… There’s also a little more oak and a growing bitter sourness (apples) that’s anything but a problem in this context, as it adds balance and vivacity. Finish: long, grassy and oaky. Fruit peelings, green pepper and grapefruits. The aftertaste would rather be bittersweet. Comments: great sexy nose! The palate is unusually punchy for an Irish. Rather Bushmills than Cooley in my opinion, and if it’s well Bushmills, it’s certainly the biggest Bushmills I’ve ever tried. SGP:761 - 87 points.
Let’s double-check that…
Bushmills '1608' (46%, OB, Irish blend, +/-2013) Three stars and a half This recent batch of this NAS baby isn’t a malt, but it impressed me the first time I tried it (blind), while I had found the first edition a little underwhelming five years ago . Colour: gold. Nose: indeed, both are hard to compare because this one’s rather got the profile of a blend indeed, but there are obvious similarities, with these notes of mangos again, banana, then we have rather more fresh walnuts and almonds, some green tea and something slightly metallic. Mouth: creamy and sweet, with apricots and peach syrup, then rather tangerines and more green tea. Vanilla, cranberries, honeydew and something slightly metallic that I often find in these expressions. Very good body. Finish: quite long, still a bit syrupy. Tinned peaches, agave syrup, green bananas. Comments: I think it’s a great fruity tipple. In a way, it’s got something ‘pot still’. SGP:751 - 84 points.
Speaking of which…
Green Spot (40%, OB, Midleton, single pot still, +/-2013) Four stars I’ve tried this baby many times, but I just noticed that I’ve never published any tasting notes, unless I just couldn’t find them. Colour: straw. Nose: it’s fatter, more herbal, greener (obviously) than the Bushmills, with some hay, plantain bananas, fresh walnuts and then more tinned peaches. Having said that, we’re more or less in the same family, surprisingly (or not.) Very nice nose. Mouth: it’s big whisky again, the 40% don’t feel. Very nice mouth feel, rather oily, with peaches again, a little barley water, touches of sunflower oil and then more and more almond oil. Drops of coconut liqueur, sunflower oil. Finish: rather long, still quite fat, with more almonds and peaches as well as, maybe, a salty touch. Comments: it’s really excellent, and even complex. Great character. SGP:651 - 85 points.
Crested Ten (40%, OB, Irish blend, +/-2014) Three stars Ten is a brand by Jameson’s, so Irish Distillers. You don’t see it often, but it’s said to contain a lot of pot still whiskey. Colour: light gold. Nose: indeed, the pot still content shows, with these metallic touches and these notes of vegetables (zucchini), green coffee beans, fresh mint and various leaves. It’s very un-sweet and un-rounded. I also find a little lime tree tea and funny hints of tinned sardines. Must be the metallic part. Mouth: a little more disjointed, especially after Green Spot, but there is a presence. Butterscotch, sour tea (eglantine), custard, tinned peaches again and again, a little candy sugar, fudge, butter cream… I have to say I like this and would rather call it an ‘upper-Jameson’. Finish: medium length. Rather more on overripe apples and pears. Comments: upper echelon, no doubt. Why is Crested Ten so discreet? SGP:641 - 82 points.
St. Beccan’s Dram 22 yo 1991/2013 (55.3%, The Stillman’s, single pot still, bourbon wood, 210 bottles) Five stars The Stillman’s is an excellent little Swiss bottler. Let’s see if we can guess what this is… Colour: straw. Nose: reeks of Redbreast if you ask me, but it’s a little less rounded and polished than Midleton’s ‘usual’ output. Actually, there are more fresh fruits, and less fatty/oily parts. Tangerines, oranges, Williams pears… Some parts remind me of the Whisky Fair’s 1991 as well. These Irishes can lose you, I tell you! Mouth: absolutely terrific! Mangos, Juicyfruits, cassata ice cream, passion fruits, raspberries, mint, chives, aniseed, liquorice… This is simply superb! What it exactly is, I don’t know, but it’s a brilliant Irish. One of the best I’ve ever tried, in truth. Finish: long, fresh, superbly ‘nervous’ and citrusy, ultra-clean, sauvignony (!) Comments: I find this one absolutely exceptional. Very well selected, Stillman! I even forgot to try it with water… SGP:761 - 90 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Irish I've tasted so far


Whiskyfun fav of the month

June 2014

Favourite recent bottling:
Lagavulin 1995/2014 ‘Feis Ile’ (54.7%, OB, European sherry oak butts, 3,500 bottles)  - WF 94

Favourite older bottling:
Port Ellen 17 yo 1970/1987 (62.4%, Gordon & MacPhail for Intertrade, 243 bottles) - WF 93

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Glenlivet 16 yo 1997/2013 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-chillfiltered Collection, sherry butt, cask #123546, 742 bottles)  - WF 90

Favourite malternative:
Vallein Tercinier 'Grand Rue 34' (42%, OB, Cognac, Grande Champagne, +/-2012) - WF 93



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