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

March 23, 2021


Five Irish

I agree I should have posted this on St. Pat's. No sense of timing and sensationalisation whatsoever: you should ask for a refund.

Secret Irish 17 yo 2002/2020 (48.7%, DramCatcher, barrel, cask #11464)

Secret Irish 17 yo 2002/2020 (48.7%, DramCatcher, barrel, cask #11464) Four stars
Some copy on the label leads us to believe this is single malt from Cooley. Colour: white wine. Nose: lovely drop, one of the better Cooleys. Mango cake, sweeter sunflower oil, pink bananas, melons, whiffs of menthol, fresh caraway seeds… It's not as bombastically fruity as the indie Bushmills, but I find this extremely well built and irreproachable. One of the better ones indeed, so far. Mouth: same feelings, lovely softer citrus, a wee touch of demerara syrup, melons, mangos, bananas… It's just a tad sweeter (as in 'sugar', ha) than we expected when nosing it. Finish: long and almost liqueury. No ideas where that came from, as it is impossible anyone added any forms of sugar to this lovely make. Comments: I'm reminded of Corsican 'Cédratine' here. Stuff for connoisseurs only.
SGP:741 - 87 points.

An Irish 17 yo 2002/2020 (51.6%, The Whisky Mercenary)

An Irish 17 yo 2002/2020 (51.6%, The Whisky Mercenary) Four stars
Colour: white wine. Nose: to claim that this is similar would be an understatement. This one's just a tad grassier and more on leaves and stems, but that could clearly be because of the higher ABV. A little more kirshwasser too, but other than that, we're on those mangos and melons. And perhaps a drop of pear juice. With water: same herbs, oils and fruits, very lovely. Whiffs of wool, new sweater… Or new Irish cap, Peaky Blinders-style? Mouth (neat): a thick, hotter liqueur. Sugarcane syrup, tangerine liqueur, pear liqueur… All that at cask strength. With water: same as the DreamCatcher when at the same strength, more or less. Perhaps is this one a tad grassier, and a notch less liqueury? A hint of lovage in the back or the back of background. Finish: long and sweet, liqueury indeed. Comments: you could down 5 litres of each and keep wondering about those tiny differences here and there. No good move.
SGP:751 - 87 points.

Waterford 'Single Farm: Grattansbrook 1.1' (50%, OB, Irish, batch #F0312E01-01, 2021)

Waterford 'Single Farm: Grattansbrook 1.1' (50%, OB, Irish, batch #F0312E01-01, 2021) Five stars
I see no vintage on this new bottle and cannot not wonder if that's normal and sound that Waterford would have become Kings of Ireland this fast. Now, some names are really funny, I mean, Grattansbrook, that's singular! Colour: white wine. Nose: the raw materials, and most possibly 'terroir' even amplified. Breads, banana skin, some sweeter porridge, pumpernickel and muesli, Austrian riesling, toasted beech chips, semolina… Frankly, I couldn't tell you why, I'm finding an Austrian side to this one. Hope they won't take umbrage at Waterford. With water: entering a bakery at 5:30am. The smells of dozens of different fresh breads, all still warm. Mouth (neat): I know some good folks believe I'm exaggerating with my assessments of Waterford. I am not. I find this perfect. Citron is perfect, breads are perfect, doughs are perfect, everything's perfect in my opinion. I haven't even checked the 'cask-bill' (yet a new whisky term, ha) but I just don't care as long as you do not feel it. With water: candied bits of grapefruit and salt. Finish: long, spicier. Perhaps a wee tad too spicy/oaky? Was some French oak involved at some point? Comments: let's find something bad to say. Good, I find the blue of the bottle a little too dark, I would have gone for Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue instead. No? Other than that, I'm finding this one a little more citrusy than others, but I'm not actually comparing them, while only comparison is reason. Right.
SGP:461 - 90 points.

We're probably too high already, it's going to become tough… Let's try…

Knappogue Castle 12 yo (43%, OB, Irish, bourbon cask, +/-2020)

Knappogue Castle 12 yo (43%, OB, Irish, bourbon cask, +/-2020) Two stars and a half
A single malt. You'll find this one at 40% vol. too but that's really lousy. Sadly no more vintages either, but a proper age will still do the trick. Knappogue Castle has always been a favourite within proper whisky circles. Colour: straw. Nose: nice, easy freshness, on ripe apples as well as pears and pineapples. Which, in truth, makes it nose younger than 12. Jackfruit, sweet oriental bread, sweetcorn, marshmallows… Mouth: rather light but good, with some citric hops, Seven Up, little sugar eggs, foam bananas, in short stuff that wrecks the teeth of our children. Finish: rather short but not too thin. Very sweet and sugary. Bonbons, liquorice allsorts… Comments: I find this more than acceptable. To be enjoyed on a pile of crushed ice, while remaking the world with good friends, around the pool, with Kid Creole and the Coconuts on the stereo.
SGP:630 - 78 points.

Good, a fifth Irish please… Perhaps one with a higher voltage?

Dingle 'Batch No. 4' (46.5%, OB, Irish, single pot still, 2020)

Dingle 'Batch No. 4' (46.5%, OB, Irish, single pot still, 2020) Two stars
What's a single pot still whisky, exactly? Do they do the first and the second run in the same still? This one was matured in bourbon and oloroso, and I believe no single drop was sourced here, it's proper in-house distillate. Ireland is tricky in that respect. I believe earlier batches of Dingle were too oak-driven, but things may have changed… Colour: gold. Nose: a lot of metal polish, old tin boxes, patchouli, then fresh paint and putty, then pink bananas and guavas. That's a combination that rather works. Fresh marzipan. Mouth: very unusual, very 'secondary', with some mentholated notes, rotting fruits, sweeter vegetables (beets, carrots, tinned peas) and a little touch of sulphur, between truffles and cabbage. Finish: medium, on cabbage soup and gingerbread. I know, a little unlikely. Comments: I would love to try one without any sherry, just to check where this sulphur was coming from, cask or spirit?
SGP:452 - 74 points.

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