Google Revisiting Ireland, second part of the trip

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

December 13, 2022


Revisiting Ireland, second part of the trip

There will be some fabulous fruit bombs, but also quite a few 'Hawaiian Pizzas', a.k.a. Doritos Whiskies in WF vocabulary. First an apéritif…




Midleton 'Very Rare Release 2000' (40%, OB, Ireland)

Midleton 'Very Rare Release 2000' (40%, OB, Ireland) Two stars and a half
Signed by Barry Crockett, as it should be. I believe no one, or at least no one I've ever met in this life, ever understood why they have decided to bottle these 'jewels of the crown' at 40% vol. I've always felt the message was contradictory; however, some 'vintages' have been rather brilliant. Remember this is a blend. Colour: straw. Nose: really light and shy, whispering, but with good oils (sunflower), flowers (elder, honeysuckle, acacia) and vanilla plus ripe apples. Meadow honey, madeleines… Mouth: I believe they've improved the Very Rare big time, the 2022 being perfect, even at 40% vol. This 2000 is a weaker offering though, a little frustrating, with way too much coconut for me and a diaphanous body. Finish: short, all on grated coconut. The mangos in the aftertaste are arriving too late. Comments: I think we can spare this one, given the prices some retailers are asking for it. Try to catch the 2022! (WF 91).

SGP:630 - 79 points.

Please some knack, some oomph, some zing…

Teeling 15 yo 2006/2022 (57.8%, The Duchess, amburana cask, cask #6210, 216 bottles)

Teeling 15 yo 2006/2022 (57.8%, The Duchess, amburana cask, cask #6210, 216 bottles) Two stars
This is Cooley, all right, but what is amburana? I've seen that name on cachaças, as it is some South-American wood, the trees being able to reach heights of over 35 metres. I hope no one's cutting those just to make lousy whisky barrels! Amburana would be streng forbidden in Scotchland, but remember this is Ireland. Colour: light gold. Nose: more than just some LOL-whisky, with a lot of putty and fresh rubber, most probably from that wood. Otherwise some pear and apple pie, quince tatin, and really a lot of almondy notes, macaroons, marzipan, Mozart kugeln (insert the kleine Nachtmusik here)... With water: washing liquid, Schweppes Lemon, more putty and paint… Mouth (neat): that famous fruit salad these Teelings are famous for, with some sauna oils and bits of rubber thrown in. A little bizarre… With water: pineapples and grapefruits at times, rubber and linseed oil at other times, alternatively and for a long time. They would never merge. Finish: long, still bizarre. Something reminiscent of burnt tyres in the aftertaste. Comments: some very unusual Irish cachaça. The only bottling by the lovely Duchess I don't like a lot, and I think we've tried a good two dozen of them.
SGP:562 - 75 points.

While we're trying odd ones…

Irish Diamonds 20 yo 2002/2022 (60.9%, Alambic Classique, French Syrah Red Wine, Cask #22062, 199 bottles)

Irish Diamonds 20 yo 2002/2022 (60.9%, Alambic Classique, French Syrah Red Wine, Cask #22062, 199 bottles) Two stars
More Teeling from Cooley, and another whacky cask type that may lead to HPE (remember, Hawaiian Pizza Effect). But indeed you never know, Alambic Classique's bottlings being usually rather superlative. I think we're ready, let us proceed… Colour: apricot. Nose: tomato leaves, cherry stem tea, geranium, turnips, grapefruit zests, thyme tea, pine needles… It is clearly winey, but there is hope… With water: indeed, this works better, we're rather on damson tarte, or Zwetschgentorte. Rather enjoy that, with a lot of cinnamon powder. Mouth (neat): holy featherless crow named Suzy! It's pure cherry jam, spread with turmeric and cracked pepper. Stuffy stuff, as they say in rock and roll. With water: it's too bizarre for us, too leafy and leathery, even if there are lovely notes of lotus and jasmine tea. Aren't we too old-skool? Finish: long, okayish, less dissonant than expected, but the aftertaste remains leathery. Comments: yeah, syrah/shiraz and whisky, that's a crazy story. Remember the stupid and distasteful official Ardbeg 'Cote Rotie' a few weeks ago? By the way, we love syrah at château Whiskyfun.
SGP:361 - 76 points.

We need instant recovery…

Knappogue Castle 1997/2022 (54.4%, LMDW, Ex-Libris, 'Wind of Spices', sherry cask, cask #84601, 516 bottles) Five stars
Last year's Knappogues Ex-Libris almost killed a thousand French whisky enthusiasts so much they were great, as everyone has been fighting for them. It was also about Oscar Wilde, this year it is about James Joyce. Colour: amber. Nose: back to reason, normality, and splendour indeed. Would you say you could make some kind of tarte tatin using mangos? Enough said, this is one of the most flabbergasting noses I've come across in 2022. Exceptional honeyness. With water: a walk in an orchard, early in the morning. Mirabelles and quinces in majesty, plus these metallic touches that are very typical (copper), a little shoe polish, fresh oil paint, parsley and coriander… Well this is simply wow wow wow (diving to yet new lows, S.) Mouth (neat): perhaps a tad hot. Ish. There. With water: extraordinary, the complexity is astounding. Say many herbal teas and many small fruits and berries. Careful, only one thing, it's not the best swimmer ever, so please only add one drop of H2O or you could flatten it (believe me, I just did it). Finish: medium, complex, tropical, with a few gamey raisins. That sauce they sometimes add to grouse… Cranberry? Comments: I was about to go even higher but my difficulties with water have somewhat tempered my enthusiasm. Just a wee bit.
SGP:651 - 91 points.

Knappogue Castle 2000/2022 (56.8%, LMDW, Ex-Libris, 'Wind of May', ruby Port cask, cask #45429, 630 bottles)

Knappogue Castle 2000/2022 (56.8%, LMDW, Ex-Libris, 'Wind of May', ruby Port cask, cask #45429, 630 bottles) Two stars and a half
Alert, alert, red ruby Port in approach… Colour: red amber. Nose: we're okay, there are raspberries and peonies, wild strawberry jam, gingerbread, cherry jam and liqueur, old boy's jam, fig jam… we're okay, we're okay… With water: musty old barrels and more cherry jam, we're okay, we're okay… Mouth (neat): too much for me. Too many red fruits, berries, sweetness, syrups, liqueurs… Oh and ruby Port. With water: we're okay. Finish: medium, sour/sweet. Pickled cherries and various leaves. Comments: I admit that I do not hang on so much here. But that 1997, my God!
SGP:661 - 78 points.

Irish Single Malt Whisky 29 yo 1989/2019/2022 (50.1%, C. Dully Selection, rum cask and demijohn)

Irish Single Malt Whisky 29 yo 1989/2019/2022 (50.1%, C. Dully Selection, rum cask and demijohn) Five stars
Much interestingly, this baby aus der Schweiz was first matured in bourbon for 28 years, then in rum for 1 year, then in glass for 3 more years, 'French style' (their own words, the actual French style being rather 'let's quaff it all a.s.a.p.' in my err, rather French experience). Seriously, that would be the cognac way, letting the spirits marry and settle down before bottling etc. Colour: gold. Nose: Bushmills style. There is a little 'funk' (for lack of a better term), possibly from the rum, the rest being a bed of roses, literally. Wonderful mangos and apricot, mint leaves, chartreuse, peaches… With (only a drop of) water: may I ask who's added shochu and sake? Mouth (neat): it's got a feeling of super-blend, or of seasoning, as there are flavours that do not quite belong here (smoky olives and petrol? Come on) but that works beautifully, as if the Gods of Spirits had given a hand. So, smoked mangos, salted peaches, plums in olive brine and tarry papayas… You'd almost believe the 'French trick' just worked. I'm sure it did, actually. With water: end of the story, marriage complete and flavours mingled together. Finish: some winey touches coming out, which is a little incomprehensible. Where do those come from? But no worries, it remains lovely, with slightly spoked peaches in the aftertaste. Comments: what have we just tried, exactly? What's sure is that we rather appreciated it. Bigly.
SGP:652 - 90 points.

Many funny Irish on the tasting desk today. Let's try to get back to normality…

Bushmills 30 yo 1991/2022 (50.5%, OB, LMDW, Causeway Collection, second fill Madeira cask, 580 bottles)

Bushmills 30 yo 1991/2022 (50.5%, OB, LMDW, Causeway Collection, second fill Madeira cask, 580 bottles) Four stars
I'm not sure Madeira is normal, but I remember that the Irish have always used a higher proportion of Madeira than the Scots, unless that's a false impression. I've seen many ex-Madeira casks in Irish warehouses… But it seems that this is simply a finishing. Colour: rich gold. Nose: smoke? Cigarettes? Thuja and balsam? Botrytis? Old cognac for sure, rancio, mead and pollen, pack of Camels (they'll catch us one day), juicy peaches and mangos… It's a little slow for starters, but when it takes off, it takes off. With water: walnuts! You cannot beat walnuts in my book. Mouth (neat): malmsey/Malvasia? It's really sweet, rich, syrupy, liqueury, the good news being that the fruits are fresh and even a little acidic, tangerine-style. But other than that, it's syrup. With water: it would remain rather syrupy. Raisins and nutmeg, gingerbread liqueur (some Alsatians are crazy enough to make that for tourists), leaves, tobacco… Finish: long and much grassier, dry, leathery… Mustard sauce in the aftertaste. Comments: this one too I just loved, it's just that the composition is not one of my favourites. Psst, the Madeira cask was a little bugger, in my opinion.
SGP:571 - 86 points.

A last one for good…

Bushmills 31 yo 1989/2021 'The Willow Tree' (51.4%, The Whisky Cask Company, Demerara Rum barrel, 122 bottles)

Bushmills 31 yo 1989/2021 'The Willow Tree' (51.4%, The Whisky Cask Company, Demerara Rum barrel, 122 bottles) Two stars and a half
Phew, we've seen it all today, syrah, madeira, demerara, amburana, ruby Port, Coca-Cola (spot the odd one out)… Does that mean that Irish whiskey can't stand on its own legs? Or is that just because I for one have selected only crazy finishings? Just guess (wink wink)… Colour: gold. Nose: here we go again, putty, fresh paint, salty spinach, rubber, pine resin, hand cream, amburana (LOL), pistachios, tequila… With water: glues and Ikea's crazy meatballs, Soylent Green style. Mouth (neat): much, much, much better than on the nose. Between us, the nose was a wreck, while this, at least, has limes and olives… Well the rum's still doing all the talking, but it was a nice rum, which has simply taken over. Adios, old Bushmills. With water: rum and raisins. Finish: long, grassy and dry. Totally un-Bushmills, if you ask me. Salty and raisiny aftertaste, which sound strange too, I agree. Comments: willow tree branches are said to be very good for our health. I'm not sure that's the case with this whacky Bushmills by an otherwise extraordinarily good Swiss whisky bottler.

SGP:453 - 77 points.

New WF rule (#45,763): old Bushmills al natural = great; old Bushmills finished in whichever unlikely wood = run off as fast as you can. Anyway, next time we'll have the new Blackwaters, should be interesting…

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Irish we've tasted so far







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