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

December 7, 2018


Some very unusual new Irish

Indeed, some will be simply sourced and doctored-up, some others rather ueber-terroiry. Or so they say, let’s see…

West Cork ‘Glengarrif Series’ (43%, OB, Irish, single malt, Peat Charred Cask Finish, +/-2018)

West Cork ‘Glengarrif Series’ (43%, OB, Irish, single malt, Peat Charred Cask Finish, +/-2018)
So some whisky finished in wood that was charred using peat, apparently, which I thought would be quite impossible to do, but I was probably wrong. Charring oak using peat, really? Colour: gold. Nose: we already tried a ‘bog oak’ version that’s been pretty difficult, but this is rather nicer at this point, with a rather delicate fruity peatiness that reminds me of… not too sure, this is a first. Pears, for sure, and a wee touch of hand cream, orange-scented liquid soap, cherry-flavoured beer, a pack of cinnamon mints… A first indeed. Sadly things won’t improve after that... Mouth: cloves and caraway, Fanta, pepper, fresh oak, and more pears. The oak’s becoming drying. Finish: medium, a little sour and bitter. Burnt aftertaste, burnt pears, wood smoke... Comments: I give up, this is not really my scene anyway. Do you feel the need to ‘innovate’? Rather do A.I. bottles that talk or listen or stuff like that!… But innovation in food will be so out of fashion in 2019 anyway (that’s what I’ve heard…)…
SGP:563 - 50 points.

Not exactly a good start…

Tipperary 8 yo (59.5%, OB, Irish, red wine cask finish, cask #RC00117, 2018)

Tipperary 8 yo (59.5%, OB, Irish, red wine cask finish, cask #RC00117, 2018) Three stars
Sourced whiskey finished in red wine, what could go wrong? I know, pretty much everything, but I remember I’ve really enjoyed a Tipperary ‘Watershed’ in July this year (WF 83), so who knows? Colour: damson juice (working on my descriptors, you see). Nose: rather okay so far. Very strong, with touches of peonies and cassis buds, plus some pepper and nutmeg… As they say, the jury’s still out and we need our nostrils tonight. With water: pretty nice. Grenadine, cherry juice, pomegranate, clafoutis… This is coherent. Mouth (neat): at least it was a fruity distillate in the first place, and not a fat/greasy one (Clynelish, Mortlach, Springbank, Benrinnes and such). So it’s pungent, but there aren’t any clashes of civilisations yet, rather red berries and some fruitcakes (yep the season is coming). With water: more oak spices, ginger, some earthiness, red apples, raspberry liqueur and chocolate, cherry sweets… Finish: long, a tad leafier, as almost always with these casks. Some ginger and tobacco in the aftertaste, perhaps a wee touch of stewed spinach. Comments: surprisingly coherent, and even good. Proof that the chef is as important as the recipe.
SGP:661 - 81 points.

And now, this one, the reason why I wanted to do some Irish today. Because this is a first on WF (well, not quite, I had tried some early new makes, but this is different)…

Waterford 261 days old 2018/2018 (68.34%, OB/cask sample, Irish single malt, cask #8224)

Waterford 261 days old 2018/2018 (68.34%, OB/cask sample, Irish single malt, cask #8224) Five stars
That’s right, Mark Reynier’s Waterford, bio-dynamic at that. The barley came from three farms, Trevor Harris’s, John McDonnell’s, and Alan Mooney’s. They could even give you the kind of soil (fine loamy drift) and the GPS coordinates (we’ll spare you that). In short, wine concepts in whisky, and… terroir. Soil, climate, orientation, and generally, ‘a sense of the place’. There are several definitions of terroir, and even dedicated terroirists don’t always agree, but to me, it’s there if you let it be there, and it isn’t if you don’t. But killing something will not allow you to claim that it did not exist… Anyway, let’s try this! Colour: gold. Nose: f**k! (hold your horses, S.!) I’d hate it when anyone would believe I’m biased here, because I know some people, or because I’m a wine guy too, or for whichever reasons, but really, f**k! With water: s***w ‘em! Mouth (neat): totally f**k! With water: putain de bordel de merde ! (I’m saying it in French so that it would sound gentler and more polite – does it not?) Finish: yada, yada, yada. Comments: good, let’s get serious if you please. One little flaw in my book, the oak’s already ‘bigly spicy’, and that may come from the fact that they’re filling at 70+%, but I may be wrong. Other than that, it’s glorious whi… I mean, spirit, with extraordinary breads, honeys (old Mersault), dried figs, mead, ‘rounded’ chalk, touches of mutton suet, marrow, a drop of orange blossom water, overripe pears, citrons, prickly pears, panettone… The closest whiskies I’ve tried were some Westlands, in case that helps. By the way, I know some folks believe that bio-dynamy is all about esoterism or only for people with their heads in the moon, but it is not, it’s all about science and rationality. Serious! Anyway, looks like Waterford are onto something, especially if, like me, you’re rather into distillate and raw material-driven spirits…
SGP:451 - (no score) points.


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