Google Irish downs and ups

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

April 16, 2019


Irish downs and ups

It looks like we have a few Irish on the tasting table. I was having high hopes quite some years ago, but there’d been way too many ‘fake’ own whiskeys since back then. Sourcing is fine, but trying to let the public believe that you made your whiskey yourself is just demoralizing and bad for the whole category if you ask me. And not many people will be ready to surf the Web (remember when we used to surf the Web?) for hours and hours to unearth the truth. Same with Japanese malts by the way, but so, we said some Irish…

South Boston Irish Whiskey (40%, OB, Irish, +/-2017)

South Boston Irish Whiskey (40%, OB, Irish, +/-2017)
Better have a world map at hand now, because this is Irish whiskey imported and bottled by a certain ‘GrandTen Distilling’ company in South Boston, Massachusetts. Not sure whether it’s a blend, a malt, or a pure potstill, but their website would certify that ‘the traditional Irish method favors malted barley in the mash bill and copper in the pot still’. Okay, good, fine, thank you. A blend. Colour: pale gold. Nose: glue, grass, ink, banana liqueur, cardboard, wood alcohol, all that while then amp wasn’t working. Pretty weak. Mouth: no, it’s weak and disjointed, with a sugary side, cheap liqueurs, and then this feeling of cardboard and sawdust you’ll find on any supermarket’s lower shelves. I mean, in the bottles that are dying there. Finish: very short, with a little sugar and burnt wood. Comments: only in long drinks and only with a lot of ice. Some poor blended Irish – but I do love Boston!
SGP:530 - 40 points.

Good, I think we’re done with the apéro…

Cooley 11 yo 1992/2019 (49.5%, Cadenhead, World Whiskies, barrel, 162 bottles)

Cooley 11 yo 1992/2019 (49.5%, Cadenhead, World Whiskies, barrel, 162 bottles) Four stars and a half
Good, aren’t they better at making or bottling whisky than at math, in Campbeltown? And naturally, all online merchants to repeat the mistake ad libitum, as if no one would notice. So, 11 yo or 1992? Or, wait, some relabeled old bottle and actually no mistake? Because it IS a new bottling. We’ll find out, but first, let’s try this baby, while remembering that the early peated Cooleys had been instant hits back in the days. Colour: white wine. Nose: very peculiar, very unusual. Old tin box, copper kettle, mango peels, then some kind of camphored and mentholated porridge, a new pack of menthol cigarettes (Mum’s Kools back in the 1970s), and massive amounts of farmy molecules, old shed, yard mud, hay, clean cattle, cut grass… Mouth: starts with big lemons and simply peated barley, then that smoked porridge that someone will make and sell one day (you say that already exists?) It’s a tad binary, but in a perfect way. I remember when we first tried the peated Cooley around the early to mid 2000s, that was blind and that happened on Ardbeg’s car park during the festival. Big surprise (come on, the crime has been expired!) Finish: rather long, smoky, farmy, and rather less lemony. Big menthol in the aftertaste. Comments: some say that mathematics is never going to lead us to a higher truth. Unlike whisky/whiskey.
SGP:456 - 89 points.
UPDATE: Thanks to several friends, especially to Roland and Julian, we found out that the cask had been exported from Ireland to the UK (Campbeltown) at the age of 11, while under Irish whiskey law, only years spent in Ireland do count for the appellation. Which implies that should have CAD displayed an older age, such as the actual age, the whiskey would have lost the ‘Irish’ appellation. Funny, isn’t it!

Irish Malt ‘Very Old’ (49.6%, Liquid Treasures, bourbon barrel, 123 bottles, 2016)

Irish Malt ‘Very Old’ (49.6%, Liquid Treasures, bourbon barrel, 123 bottles, 2016) Four stars and a half
Called a summer dram on the label, let’s see… Colour: white wine. Nose: we’re rather going towards those famous ueber-fruity Bushmills, and indeed this ones ridden with passion fruits, mangos, pink bananas, guavas (very obvious, those guavas), then rather western orchard fruits, around plums, while the tropical fruits would rather bow out, which is funny. Perhaps not Bushmills in that case… Mouth: oh very good, if a tad varnishy at first. A perfect blend of pear and banana juices, with a dollop of guava juice again and touches of very fresh almonds, almond milk, or even oat milk… And a little barley syrup. Finish: fresh, fruity, with notes of pineapple this time. Perhaps a little sage? Comments: excellent, if perhaps not as majestic as those fantabulous 1988-1992s that the indies were having not too long ago. Oh and Teeling’s…
SGP:741 - 88 points.

Speaking of which… (well done S., very well done, really, we’re all impressed.)

Madra 26 yo 1991/2018 (49.4%, The Whisky Cask Company, bourbon, 156 bottles)

Madra 26 yo 1991/2018 (49.4%, The Whisky Cask Company, bourbon, 156 bottles) Five stars
A new one by our friends in Bern, capital city of Switzerland! Colour: gold. Nose: huge fruits! More fruits than in fruits, bananas, maracuja, papayas, guavas, the whole lot. What’s also really amazing is the way many smaller herbs and teas start to come out after those massively fruity first whiffs, with chamomile, very honeyed flowers (wallflowers), hay, lime blossom, honeysuckle, dandelions… It’s totally spectacular. Some are still wondering why Diageo have sold all those casks at that time, because they sure are of ueber-OB quality. Mouth: oh! Totally in keeping, full of tropical fruits, nut oils (hazelnuts, almonds, sesame, pine) and just absolutely marvelous. Possibly one of the very best irish whiskeys ever, really (together with a few sister casks that have already been bottled in the not too distant past). One could drink this all night while watching the most distressing series on Netflix – and still be happy. No I haven’t tried that. Finish: medium, a tad more herbal, always very elegant, with these wee mentholy touches that do come with age (I mean, in whiskies). Oranges. Comments: what’s Madra? Other than that, what an Irish stunner (sad to see it leave the EU, remember Bushmills’ in Northern Ireland)!
SGP:751 - 92 points.

Calls for a sister cask…

Capall 26 yo 1991/2018 (50.5%, The Whisky Cask Company, first fill bourbon barrel, 175 bottles)

Capall 26 yo 1991/2018 (50.5%, The Whisky Cask Company, first fill bourbon barrel, 175 bottles) Five stars
Colour: pale gold. Nose: crikey, I may like this one just as much, and yet it is much more herbal and grassy, less emphatic, less of a fruit bomb. There’s a little more dough and porridge as well, more damp earth, more sunflower oil, more mint, more camphor, and less wham—bam mangos and tralala passion fruits. With water: indeed, more on peels and fresh herbs. Lovage, rhubarb, green melons… Mouth (neat): no wait, we’re on fruits again, it’s just that it feels much stronger and a tad rougher. How bizarre that’s only .9 more degrees! Or a psychological effect, perhaps, as there’s clearly a kind of border at 50% vol. With water: ah, fruits up, all neat and tidy, just like a pretty little chorus line. It’s extremely good whisky. Finish: long and extremely complex. I’m even finding a little salt mind you, green bananas, butternuts, plantains, wild cardoons (I think this is the first time I’m using that descriptor, may not use it again!) Comments: one day, we’ll all say ‘we were dumb not to snatch up all those old Bushmills while they were still easily available’. Anyway, different profiles, same extremely high levels. I really is baffling that I’ve never encountered this level in any official Bushmills. Unless I haven’t been paying attention, which is not impossible.
SGP:651 - 92 points.

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