Google A large bag of Irish whiskies

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2015


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

September 2, 2015


A large bag of Irish whiskies

We don’t taste Irish very often, so let’s not waste this opportunity to go relatively deep… I said relatively. New bottlings, older bottlings, officials, indies...

Jameson 'Select Reserve' (40%, OB, Irish blend, small batch, batch #JQ-058548, +/-2014)

Jameson 'Select Reserve' (40%, OB, Irish blend, small batch, batch #JQ-058548, +/-2014) Two stars and a half A newish blended Midleton. Retails for 35/40€. Colour: gold. Nose: the pot still components speak loud, with whiffs of copper, overripe apples, tea and tropical fruits (rather around guavas). Broken branches. I find this style fairly dry, in fact. Mouth: sweeter, and yet there’s this dryness in the background. Dried breadcrumbs, bitter chocolate, always these metallic touches, and these overripe apples, peaches, and greengages. Perhaps a little PX or other sweet wines. Cornflakes, toasted bread. Finish: a little short, and rather on herbal teas, as ‘usual’. Hawthorn springs to mind. PX again in the aftertaste, cocoa powder, and always these metallic touches. Comments: certainly good, but I find it a little thin and lacking power. Must be the 40% vol. We’re still quite far from Midleton’s excellent pure pot still whiskeys. SGP:441 - 77 points.

Bushmills 10 yo (40%, OB, Irish single malt, +/-2014)

Bushmills 10 yo (40%, OB, Irish single malt, +/-2014) Two stars Time to try a newer batch of Bushmills 10. Mixed feelings back in 2007 (WF 74). Colour: pale gold. Nose: very soft, vanilla-ed, with some barley syrup and light all-flower honey, then more tropical fruits than in the Jameson, especially bananas. Maybe tangerines and only a smidgen of passion fruit. Tinned peaches. Mouth: some might call this ‘girly’ but that would mean being horribly sexist. Light and fruity, with more or less the same flavours as in the nose, bananas, cornflakes, light muesli… But it tends to become a little tea-ish and dry. A little thin. Finish: short, rather grassier. Comments: it’s perhaps a little narrow for a malt. The fruitiness tends to fade away. SGP:431 - 76 points.

Teeling 'Single Grain' (46%, OB, Irish grain, wine casks, 2013)

Teeling 'Single Grain' (46%, OB, Irish grain, wine casks, 2013) Two stars Some great whiskeys by Teeling already, but a grain finished in wine wood? Sounds very unlikely, let’s see… Colour: pale gold. Nose: very soft. Vanilla, bubblegum, marshmallows, a little green tea, a little saw dust. Blackcurrant buds, perhaps. This shy baby whispers… Mouth: easiness! Good fruity, sweet arrival, with Haribo’s best and some vanilla and white chocolate, while it tends to become grassier later on, with some green wood. The body’s not thick. Finish: rather short, with sweets and green tea. Comments: bizarrely, we’re pretty much in Bushmills 10 territories, although that one was a malt. Fine, but not characterful spirit. Rather for cocktailers and master mixologists? SGP:430 - 75 points.

The Irishman '70' (40%, OB, pot still Irish, +/-2009)

The Irishman '70' (40%, OB, pot still Irish, +/-2009) Two stars and a half An older bottle of The Irishman. The label states that this is ‘unique Irish pot still whiskey with 70% malt Irish whiskey’. Okay! Colour: pale gold. Nose: oilier, it seems, more syrupy than all other ones, with rather melons that hint at… Redbreast? It’s a pleasant nose, with this typical oily fruitiness. I also get fresh almonds, orgeat syrup… Mouth: a little light, perhaps. Here we go again… Tinned fruits, a little fudge, melon wine, light honey… It’s light, but I find it pleasant. It’s got rather more depth than the others. Finish: quite short, on honeyed herbal tea. Your pick. Comments: very fine Irish. It doesn’t sing loud, but you wouldn’t dump it into Coca-Cola either. SGP:541 - 79 points.

We may have the solution at hand…

The Irishman 'Rare Cask Strength' (56%, OB, Irish, 1400  bottles, bottled 2008)

The Irishman 'Rare Cask Strength' (56%, OB, Irish, 1400  bottles, bottled 2008) Three stars The label wouldn’t tell us whether it’s pure pot still, blended Irish, or malt… Colour: straw. Nose: not too sure. Vanilla and overripe fruits? With water: herbal teas and a curious soapy tone. Bourbony vanilla. Mouth (neat): fruits, as expected. Rather around kiwis, apricots, then drops of sunflower oil and light honey. Very easy despite the strength. With water: unfolds like a newborn butterfly. Papayas and guavas, bananas, vanilla, blond cornflakes, oatcakes, sugarcane syrup. Pleasant. Finish: medium, with this oily mouth feel, quite some vanilla, and plenty of tinned fruits. Comments: really fine, I find. I’ll try to taste a newer bottling one of these days. Weeks. Months. Years! SGP:541 - 81 points.

While we’re trying older bottlings…

Cooley 9 yo 1999/2009 ‘Our Angel’ (46%, The Nectar, Daily Dram, Irish single malt)

Cooley 9 yo 1999/2009 ‘Our Angel’ (46%, The Nectar, Daily Dram, Irish single malt) Four stars From when there were quite a lot of indie Cooleys around… Say ten ;-). Colour: straw. Nose: starts slightly eau-de-vie-ish, but bright, fruity yet not too fruity, with a little shoe polish and putty. I especially love these whiffs of grapefruits that rise to your nostrils, as well as the earthy side. Feels like some… excellent margarita! Mouth: old Tyrconnell with more oomph, more grass, more malt, and more fruit skins. More honey too, more citrus… Very good! Finish: long, fruity, always with this oily side. Comments: a young Irish with depth and body. It was a great bottle! But it seems that these casks are nowhere to found anymore. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Cooley 15 yo 1993/2008 ‘The Angel’s Port(al)’ (46%, The Nectar, Daily Dram, Irish single malt, finished in a Port cask)

Cooley 15 yo 1993/2008 ‘The Angel’s Port(al)’ (46%, The Nectar, Daily Dram, Irish single malt, finished in a Port cask) Four stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: really lovely, really complex, and certainly not Porty. Earth and teas, blond tobacco, wulong tea, then, perhaps, touches of old red wine. Cherry stems, old barrel, a wee meatiness (cured ham, Spanish of course). Mouth: full-bodied, rich, earthy, with litres of herbal teas and drops of beef bouillon, red peach juice, toffee, and something like Linzer Torte. That would be raspberry jam and spicy pastries. Very good. Finish: quite long, marginally smoky, jammy, spicy… This baby’s got depth and complexity. Comments: for the record of course, you can’t find these bottles anymore. Excellent Belgian selection! SGP:562 - 88 points.

Oh, while we’re at it…

Cooley 15 yo 1993/2008 ‘The Mad(eira) Angel’ (46%, The Nectar, Daily Dram, Irish single malt, finished in a Madeira cask)

Cooley 15 yo 1993/2008 ‘The Mad(eira) Angel’ (46%, The Nectar, Daily Dram, Irish single malt, finished in a Madeira cask) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: typical Madeira, with this unusual combination of walnuts, sweet mustard, ham, fig jam, and earthy old wine. Quite some leather too. Mouth: sweeter and rounder than expected. Walnuts for sure, sweet mustard sauce, then fudge and, once again, this feeling of Linzer Torte. The leathery side is perhaps a little extreme. Cinnamon cake, mint-flavoured liquorice, pepper… Finish: quite long, spicy. An idea of aquavit, somehow… Comments: it’s hard to know where the flavours came from, cask or spirit. For once, I liked the Port version rather better, much better in fact (yes, Serge speaking). SGP:461 - 80 points.

We’re back (the next day)…

Connemara 8 yo 2001/2009 (59.2%, OB for Limburg, cask #K01/101196)

Connemara 8 yo 2001/2009 (59.2%, OB for Limburg, cask #K01/101196) Three stars and a half A peated Cooley from when some bottlings started to become pretty impressive… Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s not the peat that’s impressive, it’s rather the fruits, around white peaches, then all this lapsang souchong. The strength is rather impressive too, so… With water: gets much more medicinal. Bandages, all that. Antiseptic. Got much drier. Mouth (neat): it’s got this slightly burnt side that wasn’t absent from several young Connemaras as far as I can remember, some candy sugar, burnt herbs, sugar coated fruits… A little strange so far. With water: much more to my liking. Raw sweet peat, and much less burnt herbs. It remains a little barnyardy, though. Finish: long, very smoky, peppery, citrusy. More ‘Islay’, whatever that means. Comments: needs water, then swims very well. A bit rough, though. SGP:457 - 84 points.

Oh Limburg, maybe we could try one that was bottled for some Limburgian entity, and that was distilled around when that Connemara was bottled… And why not?

Irish Malt 6 yo 2009/2015 (51.4%, Limburg Dramclub, 141 bottles)

Irish Malt 6 yo 2009/2015 (51.4%, Limburg Dramclub, 141 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: pale white wine. Nose: it’s the much lighter side of Irish malt, probably from Cooley’s as well, but unpeated. Barley syrup, pink grapefruits, watermelons, ripe apples, and more sweet barley. It’s not often that you come across malt whisky that reeks of sweet barley this much. With water: same, plus grass and a touch of wax polish. Or rather engine oil. Mouth (neat): a whole pack of jelly babies or beans, more grapefruit, more sweet barley, and then a slightly grassy side, with a discreet buttery/feinty side. Very discreet. With water: the citrus comes out more. Crystallised lemons, some lemon grass… Finish: pretty long, grassy and bubblegumy. Some ginger, green pepper, and lemon skin in the aftertaste. Great zing. Comments: it’s funny that this young Tyrconnel-style Cooley’s just as good as the Connemara in my book. Excuse me? Not that funny? You may be right… SGP:651 - 84 points.

Cooley 1999/2012 (53.3%, Thosop by The Whiskyman, 179 bottles)

Cooley 1999/2012 (53.3%, Thosop by The Whiskyman, 179 bottles) Four stars Thosop used to be a wee company operated by our friend Luc Timmermans, before he handed over the wheel to The Whiskyman. Colour: straw. Nose: a light peat and some rather elegant whiffs of all kinds of precious teas. Certainly wulong! Lime, then pine sap and eucalyptus. Much freshness. With water: more raw Islayness (I know), with seaweed, antiseptic, garden bonfire, band-aid, and just whiffs of ‘a working kiln’. Mouth (neat): smashingly excellent. Extremely precise, zesty, unexpectedly salty (come on, you added some salt to this little Cooley, didn’t you), and, just like the first indie peated Cooleys by Cadenhead, pretty Ardbeggian. Don’t try this blind in front of your best whisky buddies, especially if your fiancée is around ;-). With water: loses point here, it gets a tad cardboardy and feinty. Just a tad. Ha, water! Finish: long, curiously vegetal. Beans? Grass for sure. Comments: I was ready to go very far, until the finish. But this will remain a high score, which should tell you about the rest (nobody’s following you anymore at this point, S., you may drop cryptic writing). SGP:456 - 87 points.

Cadenhead, he said… Pfff, Cadenhead…

Cooley 12 yo 1992/2004 (60%, Cadenhead, World Whiskies, bourbon barrel, 234 bottles)

Cooley 12 yo 1992/2004 (60%, Cadenhead, World Whiskies, bourbon barrel, 234 bottles) Five stars One of those first indie Connemaras… Imagine the surprise at the time. Colour: straw. Nose: indeed, imagine the surprise. A massive smoky and partly medicinal hit, unknown in Ireland at the time, with plenty of burnt herbs and then some leather and rubber and sour cream and Riesling. Phew! With water: wet dogs (apologies, dogs), kilny smells, raw wool (yes it’s wooly), sour dough… All this is perfect. Mouth (neat): in-cre-di-ble. Extreme peat and lemon, a bit in the style of a blended malt that would have involved 80% of Supernova-style Ardbeg and 20% of the most citrusy Rosebank. Does that give you a proper idea of the stuff? With water: gets a tad bitter and too grassy, careful with water. Finish: very long, perfect, zesty peat, ridden with phenolic… stuff, and lemons and salt and oysters. Comments: I remember a lot of easy tricks have been played on punters at Feis Ile back in 2004. “Try this, what do you say? What is it?” “- A-r-d-b-e-g!” But of course… Too easy, too easy… A shame that they seem to have broken the mold. SGP:368 - 90 points.

Irish Single Malt 22 yo 1991/2014 (48.6%, Eiling Lim)

Irish Single Malt 22 yo 1991/2014 (48.6%, Eiling Lim) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: the exact opposite of Cadenhead’s Cooley. Not in quality of course, but styles are running in the exact opposite direction. Superb whiffs of fermenting tropical fruits (mangos), then herbal teas aplenty. Banana skin, and huge notes of cigar tobacco, which I find very, err, funny. Perhaps summer truffles as well, as well as a little Jamaican rum. Very, very, and I mean very unusual nose. Mouth: tropical fruits, cigars, and sugarcane. No, really, I know this is totally un-Irish. It’s even rather salty, leafy, olive-y, briny, smoky… Some kind of metanoical spirit, perhaps? Aliens? G.W. Bush? Mossad? Who was involved? Finish: long, leafy, and with the same very unlikely, but very appealing notes. Comments: I don’t know where this whiskey’s going to, and after all who cares. Oh forgot to say, I find it excellent. Vive la difference!  SGP:563 - 88 points.

Ireland 13 yo 2002/2015 (52.2%, Exclusive Malts, 10th Anniversary, cask #20021, 336 bottles)

Ireland 13 yo 2002/2015 (52.2%, Exclusive Malts, 10th Anniversary, cask #20021, 336 bottles) Four stars and a half Oh no, is 2002 already 13 years old? How time flies! (that’s probably the only thing I don’t like about age statements, you see time shifting like sand through your hands.) And imagine the totally crazy and very engaging people at Whisky Advocate have just awarded this baby with their Best-of-Something-Probably-Quite-Important award! Colour: gold. Nose: ha ha ha, I understand why, this baby’s got something bourbony. Delicately bourbony. Other than that, it’s got a clear Bushmills style, with tropical fruits (bananas) and tinned pears. But it could be Cooley/Tyrconnel as well. Love the overripe litchis. With water: perfect leathery, leafy, tea-ish, very complex notes. I won’t argue. Mouth (neat): nah, seriously, this is brilliant, you gotta agree with the Americans. Mead, fig liqueur, vanilla cake, sweet fortified wine (say light young PX), and then something that’s pretty unusual in whisky, unless that was a Muscatel finish… I mean, Muscatel! With water: and so you say they dumped fifty litres of muscatel into… I’m joking. Frankly, I find this just a tad too sweet(ish), with a faint liqueury side, but other than that, it’s great. And very talkative, it just wouldn’t let you get a word in. Finish: long, fruity, sweet, very aromatic. Comments: sweet and extremely expressive. In a way, it’s some rum of whisky. I find this superb, just don’t try to quaff more than 10cl in one go (but who would do that? Our dear American friends? ;-)) SGP:741 - 89 points.

Perhaps is it time to say goodbye, and to have a very last one for the road? Make that a peater, please…

Irish Malt Peated 1991/2015 (52.2%, The Whisky Mercenary)

Irish Malt Peated 1991/2015 (52.2%, The Whisky Mercenary) Five stars Rumour had it that this ain’t Cooley and that it’s rather peated Bushmills. Peated Bushmills? Why not Mother Theresa singing Nicki Minaj? Colour: gold. Nose: tja. Sehr schön, ausserordentlich, ausgezeichnet, tip-top, echt Klasse… Oh entschuldingung, I mean, apologies, this nose is so nice that it makes you speak German. It’s got Bushmillian bananas indeed, then a little fresh butter and orange pekoe tea (oh S., whatever), then rather blond cigarettes, Camel-style, and mint liqueur. Some eucalyptus, perhaps. With water: exceptional herbal complexity. Oils, leaves, waxes, putties… Fabulous nose. Mouth (neat): oh yeah yeah yeah… Ardbeg, Longmorn, Rosebank, and Springbank. Plus some salt. With water: we’ll keep this short, this is semantically splendid (time to go to bed, S., perhaps…) Finish: why the officials hardly ever come up with such bottlings, I don’t know. Perhaps because they’re afraid everybody would start asking for this very quality, while it was just one exceptional cask or batch? Comments: seriously, what was that? Peated Bushmills, really? I find this whisky plainly and utterly stunning (perhaps just a tad tiring – oh please, let it go, S….) SGP:476 - 91 points.

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







Whiskfun's Home
Whiskyfun's Facebook page Whiskyfun's Twitter page Whiskyfun's RSS feed