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

October 31, 2016


The new cream of the Irish

I have to say I sometimes feel that some Irish whiskies/whiskeys, especially the cheaper ones, are a bit like the proseccos of whisky. But no worries, we’ll rather have grand cru champagnes today… Expect some high scores (so high opinions, coz remember scores are only opinions, and that by the way, opinions are perhaps better when a little educated… oh well…).

Old Dunluce 14 yo 2001/2015 (56.9%, Single Cask Collection, single Irish malt)

Old Dunluce 14 yo 2001/2015 (56.9%, Single Cask Collection, single Irish malt) Four stars The very distinguished Austrian bottlers wrote on their website that this was a Northern Irish. Which, indeed, suggests it’s Bushmills. Which gets even more obvious when you know where Dunluce Castle lies. Colour: pale gold. Nose: much grassier and leafier than expected, rather spirity, almost farmy, with apple peelings and even rocket leaves. Unusual, but that may be the high strength. Let’s see… With water: laughing out loud! All the Irishness just jumps at your nostrils, with bananas, white chocolate, wee touches of pineapples, sweet honeyed cereals (Golden Grahams)… Mouth (neat): much more Irish when tried neat, with a lot of bubblegum, light golden raisins (sherry wood?), and some overripe bananas. The leafy side’s still there in the background though, and keeps making it a little rough(ish). With water: full fruity Irish again, rather with green tea and spicy herbs this time. A touch of burnt bacon. Finish: quite long, rather drier. Provence herbs? Comments: they should bundle a bottle of water with this excellent (when reduced) Irish baby! SGP:561 - 86 points.

Irish Single Malt 24 yo 1991/2015 (46.7%, Whisky-Fässle, barrel)

Irish Single Malt 24 yo 1991/2015 (46.7%, Whisky-Fässle, barrel) Four stars and a halfThis shouldn’t be too bad… Colour: straw. Nose: as expected. Green bananas, fresh butter, avocado juice, mangos, papayas, touches of tobacco, and a touch of patchouli for good measure. Pretty unbeatable. Mouth: unbeatable indeed. Many tropical fruits and herbal/sappy substances are marching like in a parade, especially the usual suspects, mangos , bananas, and papayas. Then a drop of cough syrup, as well as a little rhubarb juice, perhaps. A pristine profile. Finish: medium, but very fruity. Multi-vitamin fruit juice (you’ll need ‘B’ ones if you’ve got a bottle of this at home). Fruit skins in the aftertaste. Comments: I may have written this before, it’s unbeatable (yet we’ll try…) SGP:651 - 89 points.

Cù Chulainn 27 yo 1988/2016 (45.7%, TWCC, Irish, single pot still, cask #14370, 157 bottles)

Cù Chulainn 27 yo 1988/2016 (45.7%, TWCC, Irish, single pot still, cask #14370, 157 bottles) Five stars Rumour has it that this is Bushmills finished in rum wood. After all, Cù Chulainn is ‘an Irish mythological hero who appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle’. BTW TWCC stands for The Whisky Cask Company. Colour: gold. Nose: this one’s got a direct line to the Fässle, it’s just a little more, say subtle, with grapes (white muscat?) and wee metallic touches, which I always found very Irish. Copper kettle. Also some awesome notes of honeydew and ‘apples after three months in your basement’.  Mouth: all these 1988s are totally insane. There are more fruits than at Fortnum & Mason’s fruit department. I especially enjoy the fact that they’re rather more citrusy than the 1991s, and that there are ‘ideas’ of middle-aged estate cognac, with peaches and grapes. Finish: clean, tangerine-y. You just ate 5 kilos of assorted fruits. Love the leafier, mentholy signature. Comments: no quibbling. SGP:651 - 90 points.

Now let’s see if some official could compete… and call in a big gun...

Redbreast 25 yo 1991/2016 (53%, OB, for LMDW’s 60th anniversary, Irish single pot still, cask #42972, first fill sherry, 576 bottles)

Redbreast 25 yo 1991/2016 (53%, OB, for LMDW’s 60th anniversary, Irish single pot still, cask #42972, first fill sherry, 576 bottles) Five stars This is very important, this ultra-rare cask matured in Midleton’s warehouse #M16A bay 013! I believe it’s the oldest Redbreast ever bottled, and that it will be available pretty soon. Quite a coup, I’d say. Colour: mahogany. Nose: you’re in Vienna, having hot chocolate and pastries in one of these lovely old cafés. But does this whiskey waltz? Quite, and it does it well, even if the Irishness is less bright than in the others, and the sherry’s chocolate more obvious. Some almond cream, almond-filled croissants (did you know that croissants originated in Vienna, and not in Paris?), chestnut cake, cognac, a little crème de menthe…

With water: sublime development, on chicken bouillon, bone marrow, umami loud and clear, and parsley. Plus myriads of tinier herbal touches, certainly lovage. Mouth (neat): cognac, this is cognac! Really, I don’t think many spiritual enthusiasts ;-) would start to argue if you told them this comes from the Cognac region. Ripe peaches, a wee rancio, raisins, a touch of tinned pineapple, fruit ganache… With water: there, a splendid fresh Irishness comes out, with the usual suspects mangos and bananas. Finish: medium, and more honeyed. Glazed chestnuts covered with the honey made thereof. I mean, of chestnut flowers. The best honey in the world! (that’s a personal opinion too). A wee touch of coconut in the aftertaste. Comments: shall we call this a surprise? A half-surprise? What’s sure is that with this half-Irish, half-French profile, it reminds of quite a few rugby games. Epic whisky, wow, really. SGP:661 - 92 points.

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







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