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

December 4, 2019


A little tour of Ireland

Angus-in-Edinburgh had had quite a bag of old Irish the other day, which made me kind of jealous. Let’s have some newish Irish to recover!

The Pogues (40%, OB, Irish blend, 2019)

The Pogues (40%, OB, Irish blend, 2019) Three stars
This is the band’s official whisky. It’s said that it is what keeps Shane MacGowan alive (although not exactly kicking). Hey, my words, not an official statement of any sorts! Colour: gold. Nose: certainly not unpleasant, even if a little light and with whiffs of sawdust and coconut, certainly not something unseen in Irish blends. Notes of milk chocolate, café latte, walnut cake, and some engaging freshness. Mouth: it really is good whiskey, with this feeling of coffee-schnaps, notes of sweet ale, overripe apples, and a touch of soot and green smoke. A drop of lapsang souchong, shall I say. The body’s a tad thin but not exactly weak. Finish: a little short but with good presence and a sour-sweet aftertaste. More ale, in other words. Comments: I’ve been told this was made at West Cork, but I think it’s got more bone and more flesh. Very good Irish for the price.
SGP:452 - 80 points.

While we’re at it…

The Pogues Single Malt (40%, OB, Irish single malt, 2019)

The Pogues Single Malt (40%, OB, Irish single malt, 2019) Three stars
As it says. The 40% vol. are bad news here, feels a little scrimpy. Colour: paler gold. Nose: feels a little younger, quite bizarrely, and certainly much maltier, breadier, sourer and even more on ale. Wee touches of tequila and white rum here and there, some gingerbread, walnut wine, and then even grappa. It is kind of grappa-y, and that works. Mouth: misery and putrefaction, why oh why not 43% vol.? Because this is very good juice, with the same slightly ‘meta’ flavour palette, with pears, grappa, rum… How funny and how good! A feint metallic side in the background, which is very Irish in my book. Also rosehip tea and more gingerbread. Finish: sadly a little short, with more spices around cinnamon and just plain sawdust. Comments: not my business but I would do a version at 46 or 50% vol., the juice would stand it.
SGP:451 - 81 points.

Jameson ‘Triple Triple’ (40%, OB, Irish blend, 2019)Jameson ‘Triple Triple’ (40%, OB, Irish blend, 2019)

Jameson ‘Triple Triple’ (40%, OB, Irish blend, 2019) Two stars
A fairly new Jameson for travel retail. Triple triple does not refer to the number 9, it’s a matter of being triple-distilled and matured in three kinds of cask, namely bourbon, sherry and malaga. Colour: gold. Nose: at bit hard after the Pogues’ malt, as this JJ&S is much shier and almost silent, although I’m starting to find nots of raisins after a minute or two, and then hints of eucalyptus. Very light, but this is another one that’s not unpleasant, without the raw harshness of some of the Scotch blends that are sold for similar prices. Mouth: less defined and refined than both Pogues, and rather on wood and fruit peeling. I suppose most people drink these juices on ice, or as mizuwari. Yeah I can use that word too. Probably refreshing once you’ve added a lot of fresh water and ice cubes. Finish: short, a tad sweet and ethanoly. Comments: not a bad tipple (wow!) there are some very nice parts, such as the nose. The palate is not necessary, I would say.
SGP:341 - 73 points.

Tullamore D.e.w. 12 yo (40%, OB, Irish blend, 2019)

Tullamore D.e.w. 12 yo (40%, OB, Irish blend, 2019) Two stars and a half
40% vol. once again, but this is a disease! This is the 21st century, good folks!  Colour: gold. Nose: nice, fresh, on apples and peaches, then sawdust and these wee sooty and metallic touches. Then hints of brioche and baked raisins, or perhaps panettone, with whiffs of orange blossom. Very light, but balanced and rather seductive. Mouth: ah, good, fresh, with banana cookies and some chocolate, IPA, some mead, some gingerbread, but sadly a little sawdust once again, beyond cinnamon. A higher strength would have improved that part, for sure. The middle is thin. Finish: short, even abrupt. Leaves only sawdust and two raisins. Comments: good but frustrating.
SGP:341 - 77 points.

Tullamore D.e.w. 14 yo (41.3%, OB, Irish single malt, 2019)

Tullamore D.e.w. 14 yo (41.3%, OB, Irish single malt, 2019) Two stars and a half
Comes with a very William-Grant-ish cask-strength look-alike A.B.V. Come on, 41.3%, that’s just like 40%, is it not. This was matured in bourbon, sherry, port and madeira. Madeira can work very well, let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: pear cake, melon cream, preserved peaches, custard, acacia honey, tinned litchis, and a drop of gewurztraminer. Not a bad combo, I have to say. Mouth: good. IPA and the same flavours that we found on the nose, that is to say (I’m copy-and-pasting) pear cake, melon cream, preserved peaches, custard, acacia honey, tinned litchis, and a drop of gewurztraminer (S., you lazy piece of a so-called whisky blogger!) Finish: good but a little too short, and probably a little too sweet, as if some syrup was added, which cannot be the case. Very sweet malmsey? Comments: certainly a good drop! The body’s frustratingly weakish, though.
SGP:431 - 79 points.

More oomph, please!

Redbreast 12 yo ‘Cask Strength Batch B2-19’ (55.8%, OB, single pot still, 2019)

Redbreast 12 yo ‘Cask Strength Batch B2-19’ (55.8%, OB, single pot still, 2019) Two stars and a half
I had rather loved a 12 C/S at 57.7% but that was in 2011. Colour: gold. Nose: what a difference 15 more degrees make, used to sing Gloria Gaynor. Quite. Having said that I’m not quite finding the expected melons and mangos, I’m rather unearthing notes of rum and chocolate. Water, maybe… With water: some menthol, fabric, and above everything, metal polish and chlorophyll. Mouth (neat): bursts with fruits and sweet grains, which gives it a blendish side, rather than pure pot still. Popcorn, bubblegum, a little varnish, saccharine, sweet maize… With water: I must be doing something wrong, it keeps feeling young and blendy. Finish: medium, a little harsh and rustic. Comments: water is totally mandatory here, but even then, we’re very far from the previous Redbreasts, whether young or older. A much simpler, harsher spirit, without much of the trademark seductively arrogant fruitiness.
SGP:451 - 78 points.

Ireland, let’s talk!...

Eala 24 yo 1991/2016 (55.8%, The Whisky Cask Company, Celtic Trilogy, rum cask, cask #6847, 283 bottles)

Eala 24 yo 1991/2016 (55.8%, The Whisky Cask Company, Celtic Trilogy, rum cask, cask #6847, 283 bottles) Five stars
A Swiss bottling. I believe this stems from those parcels of casks of Bushmills that were sold before Diageo handed over the distillery and the brand. We’ve already tried the two sisters and both were magnificent. We had kept this one for harder days… Colour: chestnut wine. Nose: sweet Vishnu, hurray! Pipe tobacco, Jamaican rum, tar, tamarind jam, black olives, tomato compote, crude cocoa, chicken soup, miso, chestnut honey, Marmite… What a maelstrom! With water: melon liqueur and the most fantastic dried figs ever. Mouth (neat): sweet Vishnu, are you still there? In truth this is a little brutal, not quite properly polished around the edges, but the rest is luminous, on pomegranate juice, oloroso, straw wine, prune juice, molasses, pipe tobacco, tar drops, more miso… Well, you see. It’s just a little harsh. With water: we tamed it and brought out figs, dates, cinnamon rolls, and raisin bread. Oh and a little cane juice, perhaps. Finish: long, on fig wine and drops of arrack and raki. We’re almost in Turkey now. Comments: Extraordinary Irish whisky, even if we tend to like the cleaner counterparts even better. Like, you know, simply ex-bourbon.
SGP:651 - 90 points.

Irish Single Malt Whiskey 15 yo 2002/2019 (57.9%, Artful Dodger, bourbon, cask #346, 291 bottles)

Irish Single Malt Whiskey 15 yo 2002/2019 (57.9%, Artful Dodger, bourbon, cask #346, 291 bottles) Four stars
Mathematically speaking, a 2002/2019 cannot be 15 years old, it can only be either 17 or 16. Now speaking legally, it could be of any age, even 3. That would be fun! Colour: straw. Nose: all on coconut water, vanilla and sawdust at first nosing, it’s almost as if we were entering one of those huge palettised warehouses at Midleton. Then a little earth, prickly pears and oolong tea, which is very lovely. With water: lovely touches of soft hand-cream (Chanel, ha-ha) and marzipan, then fresh baguette. Mouth (neat): rich and creamy, slightly sour and yeasty (in a good way), with sweet pastries, greengages, and a good glass of artisanal mead. With water: loves water and swims well, getting fruitier, more honeyed, and more in the style of ‘B.’ Finish: rather long, going towards some kinds of pre-Brexit peppered thin mints of some sorts. Jaffa cakes as well. Comments: a superb middle-aged Irish that would just play with you. A teaser!
SGP:661 - 87 points.

An Irish 12 yo 2006/2018 (47.5%, Cadenhead for Flanders Finest Cask Selection, bourbon hogshead, 324 bottles)

An Irish 12 yo 2006/2018 (47.5%, Cadenhead for Flanders Finest Cask Selection, bourbon hogshead, 324 bottles) Four stars
This one for Belgium, so probably good with waffles. Or mussels. Or carbonnade flamande. Or garneelen croquettes. Or political stability. Colour: straw. Nose: super nice, although probably ‘coloured’ with some cask stemming from some not-too-distant island. I mean, not too distant both from Campbeltown and Ireland. A lovely medicinal side that’s got strictly nothing to do with Ireland (or only after a rugby match against the French, ha), and some melons. Unusual, but very nice. Mouth (neat): yeah, this is not quite ‘Irish’, unless some ex-peated Connemara wood was used. Peat, mercurochrome, preserved peaches, bananas, brown bread, cinnamon, breading, and some echoes of coal. Finish: long and really very peppery. We’re almost geared towards old young Talisker. Comments: it is all a little mysterious here. Connemara? Or some unpeated Irish that’s been finished in some ex-Laphroaig (respectively Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Caol Ila) wood? I couldn’t tell you, but I’m finding this hybrid baby very good.
SGP:553 - 86 points.

We’ve got many more Irish to taste, but that’ll happen… well, sooner or later. Please stay tuned.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Irish we've tasted so far







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