Google A rather mad Irish session

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


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2016


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

January 19, 2016


A rather mad Irish session

And I mean, truly mad. Something I’ve always wanted to do, one day, without being sure I’d ever make it. And now’s the time, Charlie. First, we’ll post the very first tasting notes (or some of the very first?) for one of the newest Irish distillates, and then some notes for some of the oldest Irish whiskies humans could still find here or there, at auctions. And between them, maybe other Irish whiskies, we’ll see. So, first, this brand new Irish distillate…

Waterford's still house

Waterford 2015 (+/-70%, OB, Irish single malt new make, very first run) That’s right, this is the heart of the very first trial run made on December 9 at Waterford Distillery. Some of the owners are probably the most barley-and-distillate obsessed distillers I know (as opposed to carpent… I mean, wood-obsessed ones), which may partly come from their wine background.

As you may guess, we just cannot be against that at WF Towers. The stills that have been used were the ex-Inverleven ones that used to be stored at Bruichladdich. Let’s (re)taste this baby (baby in all senses of the word)… Colour: white. Nose: it is deep new make. There’s a rather wonderful breadiness instead of the usual pears-and-basta, a very surprising feeling of rye, and some kind of phenolic side that may be a bit ‘Highlands’, which is just great news. It is not one of these new makes that could be a little too easy, but it’s not crude oil either. With water: the viscimetry is very profound! What’s absolutely incredible is to which extent this gets very barleyish. Which may mean that they’ve rather used yeast that ‘respects’ the raw materials, instead of yeast that creates and pushes fruity aromas (and yield). Mouth (neat – with caution): some kind of limoncello poured over a large slice of wholegrain bread… But it is extremely strong, so without further ado... With water: it is very fat, always with quite some lemon (which balances that feeling), and then more ‘Highlandness’, with perhaps touches of crushed salted anchovies, some kind of greenish putty, and simply more wholegrain bread. I could sip this! Finish: long, grassy, rather austere, which is certainly great news. Coz remember what the old Scots used to say, if the new make’s too easy, the whisky will be crap. Or something like that… Comments: only one word, smart. SGP:362 – (useless) points.

The Irishman 'Founder's Reserve' (40%, OB, Irish blend, +/-2015)

The Irishman 'Founder's Reserve' (40%, OB, Irish blend, +/-2015) Two stars and a half This is a NAStified blend of pure pot still and single malt. There is no column still whiskey in this (no grain). Colour: gold. Nose: very fruity, with whiffs of pear, banana, and peach liqueurs, and a little more coconut and vanilla in the background, which gives it a bourbony side. After a few minutes, rather more honeysuckle and touches of elderflowers. Mouth: smooth (some friends don’t like that word but since the whisky police isn’t watching…), certainly malty, less fruity than I would have thought. A wee harshness suggests this is young spirit on average, but it’s a pretty composition. Lemon pips in the aftertaste (when you cut them in halves while making slices for some cocktail). The body’s a little thin. Finish: a little short, but both grassier and a little oilier – not talking about the body, rather about the taste. Comments: fine, honest, and loyal, as I sometimes write. A higher strength would have put it at or a little above 80. SGP:540 - 78 points.

The Irishman ‘Single Malt’ (40%, OB, Irish, +/-2015)

The Irishman ‘Single Malt’ (40%, OB, Irish, +/-2015) Two stars and a half Sadly no age statement either. Colour: full gold. Nose: we’re not that far from the blend. Perhaps do we have rather more bananas and vanilla, as well as a little more fudge and butterscotch. Some kind of sweet sunflower oil. Mouth: it’s a fatter, and livelier version. Oranges, banana liqueur, sponge cake, tinned peaches, a little bergamot, perhaps, then a touch of lemon squash. A little green tobacco, just like when you’re having those Indonesian green cigars in your mouth. Very pleasant. Finish: short, but again, a little fatter. Fruit syrups, a little coconut. Comments: very easy, quite light, and most, yeah, pleasant. SGP:551 – 79 points.

Bushmills 10 yo (40%, OB, Irish single malt, bourbon and oloroso, +/-2013)

Bushmills 10 yo (40%, OB, Irish single malt, bourbon and oloroso, +/-2013) Two stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: close, a tad nuttier, perhaps. A little more raisins as well, but the differences are minimal. Mouth: same comments. Good fruity juice, extremely easy, pleasant (here we go again), going down well, with a slightly oily texture. Finish: a notch coarser, but it’s no coarse whiskey, of course (don’t do that again, S.) I enjoy the little earthiness in the aftertaste. Comments: we’re progressing, aren’t we. I believe these batches did improve over the years, I used to find them weak around ten years ago. SGP:651 - 79 points.

Whiskey, we have to talk…

Liqueur Whiskey 36 yo (75° proof, Charles Deighton Ltd, Irish, bottled 1940s)

Liqueur Whiskey 36 yo (75° proof, Charles Deighton Ltd, Irish, bottled 1940s) Four stars and a half Charles Deighton Ltd used to be wine and spirits merchants in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England. That would be West of Birmingham. The company doesn’t exist anymore, but what’s sure is that finding such an old Irish – and even if we’d love to know about the Distillery that produced it – is very rare. Only whisky super sleuth can do it! This is, obviously, very early 1900s distillation, and another proof that age statements were not uncommon around WWII. Colour: deep amber. Nose: incredibly focused at first nosing, almost narrow in the good sense of that word, rather on mocha for a good three minutes. And then we have quite some mint and pinesap, plus whiffs of roses, sandalwood, and patchouli, perhaps a little beef bouillon, with marrow quenelles while we’re at it, and lastly, these touches of copper or other metals that are sometimes to be found in old Irish whiskeys. This nose is beautiful, possibly pure pot still, but we cannot be sure. Mouth: oh this is great! It’s a three-step whiskey, in fact. First, roasted chestnuts and this little metallic side. Then something oriental, with Turkish delights and Corinthian raisins, and then an uncommon combination of jams and fruit syrups, with perhaps some tamarind, or maybe grape jelly? It does have something muscaty. The whole’s very peculiar, and certainly very good. Finish: not too long, but perhaps a little jammier. More raisins, always this metallic side, and perhaps a little mead. No, there’s even more mead in the aftertaste. A little tobacco as well. Comments: only the body was a little light, perhaps, but other than that, it’s a very lovely old Irish. The oldest I ever tried! SGP:452 - 88 points.

And now, more History, and we’re done.

Dunville's Special Liqueur Whisky (70° proof, OB, rotation 1948)

Dunville's Special Liqueur Whisky (70° proof, OB, rotation 1948) Two stars This old glory was distilled at Dunville’s old Belfast Distillery. The brand’s been revived last year, but this is the real, legendary Dunville’s pure pot still. New whisky bloggers or journos may have noticed that this was spelled ‘whisky’, not ‘whiskey’. Just saying. Dunville stopped operating in 1936, but the whisky was still sold until around twelve years later, which implies that this one’s one of the very last bottles of genuine Dunville’s. Colour: gold. Nose: to be honest, there isn’t a lot happening. I find poached pears, a little sunflower oil yet again, some barley for sure, these faint metallic touches again (copper coins), and just a drop of soy sauce. Like in many old whiskies – I mean, from very old bottles – there is some kind of umami developing, but you’re never quite sure about its provenance. Spirit or bottle ageing? Or both?

Mouth: how interesting, and how good! Well, perhaps not ‘good’ by today’s standards, because it’s fairly dry and grassy, but the texture’s quite fat, which creates an unusual contrast. Licking an old tin box, stock cube, a touch of sour cream, perhaps, some kind of dry toffee, drops of dry white wine, then a little ink, with a sooty side… And perhaps a little slightly stale lemon juice? A pinch of salt? Nah, it’s perhaps not ‘very very good’, but it’s got more fatness and body than the contemporary Irish, in my opinion. Unless, you know, Waterford, we’ll see… Or of course the other new Irish Distilleries! Finish: medium, with more cardboard. That’s normal with these very old bottles. Comments: a very moving session, not sure I’ll ever be able to do it again. I’ll give this legendary baby a score, but I’m feeling a bit of shame. Bah… SGP:231 - 75 points.

Dunville's advert, 1925 ->

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






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