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

Mars 17, 2022


Some Irish for St Pat's

Every year on March 17, everybody's celebrating St. Patrick's Day, a.k.a. St. Guinness, but although I haven't really checked that (my God, 20 years) I don't think we've already done that on little WF. It's never too late, they say, but let's do this randomly and see how far we'll manage to swim…

Drumshanbo 'General Release' (43%, OB, Single Pot Still, Irish, +/-2020)

Drumshanbo 'General Release' (43%, OB, Single Pot Still, Irish, +/-2020) Three stars
From a proper new distillery, Shed Distillery, and made from a mashbill containing malted barley, barley, and oat. So it is 'single pot still', but probably not 'pure pot still'. It is a first on WF but indeed, there are many these days. Colour: white wine. Nose: fresh butter spread all over fresh bread, with whiffs of linseed oil in the background, then some rather soft spices from the wood, around soft paprika perhaps. Wee touches of apple and walnut peel. Very pleasant, elegant nose. Mouth: rather wood-led, I was about to add 'of course', but all in all balance was achieved, thanks to a nice breadiness. Notes of quince tarte and sunflower oil and seeds. Finish: not that long but nicely spicy, with cloves nailed into an orange. Oaky/bready spiciness in the aftertaste, plus salmiak. Comments: really very fine, it's just that the 43% vol. make it a tad weak. Ish.

SGP:451 - 81 points.

Perhaps one of those famous pure pot still whiskeys…

Redbreast 12 yo (40%, OB, single pot still, Irish, +/-2021)

Redbreast 12 yo (40%, OB, single pot still, Irish, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
I haven't tried the 12 since… hold on, 2010! (WF 84 back then). And hold on again, this is a 'single pot still' as well, while I remember older bottles used to display 'pure pot still'. Oh well, maybe that's the same, and maybe oat is allowed. Colour: light gold. Nose: certainly 'pure pot still' as far as its style is concerned, which I would describe as 'gently metallic, slightly cereally and delicately tropical'. In other words, mango and maracuja juice kept in a copper jar. I have to say this style has grown on me over the years and I certainly enjoy these notes of eglantine tea, or rosehip. Or, in French, gratte-cul (which makes your bottom itch – ha, the French.) Mouth: sure we'd have preferred a higher strength but other than that, it's a lovely whiskey indeed, soft, with some acacia honey plus stewed peaches, orange salad with olive oil, a very soft fudge, and a slightly weaker middle. The finish comes a little early… Finish: and it's rather short, but these flower jellies are excellent. Poppy jelly, soft honey, redcurrant jam… Comments: great delicate juice, very recognisable, just a tad thin on the palate. But it's true that there is a C/S version too… Score unchanged, shall we say.
SGP:530 - 84 points.

Glendalough 'Double Barrel' (42%, OB, Irish, +/-2021)

Glendalough 'Double Barrel' (42%, OB, Irish, +/-2021) Two stars and a half
I believe this is grain whiskey. It's been finished in oloroso. Colour: light gold. Nose: extremely funny! New rubber boots, pine smoke, sage and tarragon, orange skin, charcoal, bandages, rhubarb juice, then a growing graininess, with some candies, perhaps lavender sweets… Indeed, great fun here, this is absolutely not what I had expected. Mouth: exactly not what I had found in its nose. This is much lighter, all on sweets, with just curry-like touches and some juniper from the wood. Say 90% grain whisky plus 10% gin. I suppose it was that gin-ness that I had detected on the nose. Finish: medium and even more on sweet gin. Comments: should we call this style a ginsky? Now I'm totally sure there is no gin inside (and neither is there any juniper). Good fun anyway.
SGP:531 - 78 points.

Since we were having grain…

Single Grain 10 yo 'Batch 2' (48%, W.D. O'Connell, bourbon & rye series, 2021)

Single Grain 10 yo 'Batch 2' (48%, W.D. O'Connell, bourbon & rye series, 2021) Two stars and a half
This one was bottled for Germany, Luxembourg & the Netherlands (Europe, right) and is said to be Cooley, so Greenore I suppose, which is Cooley's grain if I'm not mistaken. Colour: white wine. Nose: mashed turnips, moussaka, custard and marshmallows, then maize bread, barley syrup and pumpkin seed. Not too sure this time (other W.D. O'Connell having been extremely convincing). Mouth: for grain freaks for sure. Thinnish distillate, all the rest being perfect (vanilla, leaves, fruit peel, IPA). Saccharose. Finish: short, totally cask-dominated, not in a bad way. Sugar syrup 'aged' in great wood. Comments: I know many friends will love this, it's just not for this malt enthusiast. Who's the Irish alter-ego of David Beckham?
SGP:720 - 78 points.


Single Irish Whiskey 19 yo (46%, W.D. O'Connell, PX Series, cask #144104, 348 bottles, 2021)

Single Irish Whiskey 19 yo (46%, W.D. O'Connell, PX Series, cask #144104, 348 bottles, 2021) Four stars
A drunken little bird with a strange accent told me this was from Cooley's too. Colour: gold. Nose: massive mangos, gueuze lambic, orange wine (it's pretty fermentary) and nectarines. Not much to add, except that I totally love this. In my book, only 10% of the orange wines are worth it, but when they are, they are (bravo, S.!) Mouth: fermenting tropical fruits (do you really need a list) plus rooibos and earl grey. Tends to become a little leathery, having said that, that may have been the PX cask. Orange wine made and grown in new French oak. Finish: rather long and much spicier. No more fruity extravaganza here, this has become leafier but this baby's fruity heart beats still. Comments: a little complicated this time, it is not one of those in-you-face fruity Cooleys and that's probably the PX, which, I agree, sounds a little counterintuitive. They say one cannot change his own nature. Great drop, still.

SGP:561 - 85 points.

We could try another potential fruit bomb by W.D. O'Connell …

Single Malt Irish Whiskey 13 yo 2008/2021 (59%, W.D. O'Connell, oloroso sherry butt, 294 bottles)

Single Malt Irish Whiskey 13 yo 2008/2021 (59%, W.D. O'Connell, oloroso sherry butt, 294 bottles) Four stars
This should be Bushmills. Well, it is Bushmills. Colour: gold. Nose: class act. It is firmer than the Cooley, with fruits that are not, this time, trumpeting all over the place while singing some of the Pogues' best (hard to do, I know). Fruitcake, balsa wood, green tea, then sawdust… I would suppose water will do it much good. With water: linseed oil and grist. Not a fruit bomb at all. Mouth (neat): oily arrival, with lemony barley at the power of ten. A feeling of unreduced limoncello. With water: no, no jams and no jellies, rather all kinds of fruit peelings and then white peaches. Finish: long, rather on barley, beer and cider. Comments: the Colley was much fruitier, but quality was the same in my book. Excellent middle-aged Irish al natural (despite the finishings).
SGP:451 - 85 points.

Perhaps some Cooley again…

Cooley 20 yo 2001/2021 (52%, Liquid Treasures, for Singapore, barrel, cask #3145, 175 bottles)

Cooley 20 yo 2001/2021 (52%, Liquid Treasures, for Singapore, barrel, cask #3145, 175 bottles) Five stars
Another funny label. When we started this madness, you would only have found A. stags, B. pipers, C. thistle, D. nada, E. Mel Gibson, F. Jim Clarke or Jackie Stewart. Quite. Colour: light gold. Nose: grapefruit, Chablis, passion fruits, and repeat. Perfect. With water: weissbeer and grapefruit juice, plus sourdough. I'm not sure you could do greater than this. Mouth (neat): fruit bomb alert. Pink bananas, papayas, mangos, passion fruits and granny smith. From Chablis to Sancerre, or from chardonnay to sauvignon blanc. Immaculate palate. With water: a little rounder, sweeter… Do not add more than one drop of water, if I may. Other than that, this is pure sauvignon blanc. Finish: long, perfect. Comments: we've long been hoping some distinguished whiskey bottlers would add Rory Gallagher to their labels. Please! Brilliant blues… I mean Irish malt anyway.

SGP:651 - 90 points.

Holy Rory, what a Cooley! Let's change style, with some Midleton blend…

Midleton 'Very Rare Release 2013' (40%, OB, blend, Ireland)

Midleton 'Very Rare Release 2013' (40%, OB, blend, Ireland) Four stars
We utterly adored the 2022 the other day (WF 91) while some earlier vintages had been a little, say unnoticeable in our little book. What's great is that Pernod/Irish Distillers have sent samples of some of their earlier vintages along that 2022, so, thanks to them. Believe me, it is extremely unusual that some Distillers would mail you some of their older stuff. Isn't the industry beginning to see the light? Colour: gold. Nose: looks like I haven't been paying attention all those years. Perhaps because of those lousy 40% vol…. Barley, melons, fresh vanilla pods, peaches, acacia blossom, wee whiffs of wood smoke… This is extremely elegant and delicate, let's just hope it won't nosedive on our palates…  Mouth: the main problem here is that you could down litres of this. The arrival is perfect, rather on precious fruits, apples, jujubes, perhaps goji, also soft honey, nougat… But the 40% start to feel after just twenty seconds, actually it's lacking muscle. And yet, what a luminous drop! Finish: short, sweet, honeyed. Pastries in the aftertaste. Comments: I'm sure I'm not the only one to dream about these being bottled at 46% vol. Perhaps even within I.D. Anyway, glorious drop, even if the 2022 is on another planet.

SGP:641 - 87 points.

Let's put an end to this with some older malty fruit bombs, if you please…

Teeling 28 yo (43.1%, OB, for Rudder, Japan, rum cask, cask #10704, 2020)

Teeling 28 yo (43.1%, OB, for Rudder, Japan, rum cask, cask #10704, 2020) Five stars
Colour: very pale white wine, perhaps the palest muscadet ever. Nose: as usual the rum doesn't feel much, what we're getting being rather a whole, generous, luscious east-west fruit salad. Bananas, pink bananas, pears, greengages, papayas, guavas, vine peaches… In fact, this is just totally glorious. Mouth: same. Puréed fruits, fruit salad, compotes and smoothies… Pears, peaches, bananas, and since we're often mentioning wine, we'll say an old Graves blanc from a great vintage. What they now call Pessac-Léognan, while I'd go as far as mentioning Laville, or H-B blanc. Alternatively, a good Bouscaut Blanc would do the trick just as well. Rum? What rum? Finish: medium, magnificently fruity. Comments: a true 'wine malt', I could have mentioned Condrieu just as well, crazy viogniers, or why not mad sémillons? Both worlds are merging with these kinds of whiskies.

SGP:741 - 91 points.

Under those circumstances, we'll have more rum…

Teeling 25 yo (50.7%, OB, for Bresser & Timmer, rum cask, cask #100132, 2021)

Teeling 25 yo (50.7%, OB, for Bresser & Timmer, rum cask, cask #100132, 2021) Four stars and a half
Let's do this fast and quick. Colour: white wine. Nose: firmer, thicker as well, greasier, oilier, more on sunflower oil, perhaps peanut paste, with a tiny metallic touch (remember that copper that we found in Redbreast 12?) then patchouli and mangos. With water: towards herbal teas, rosehip once more, orange blossom water, bergamots… No no no, I've promised I would not mention combava anymore. Mouth (neat): indeed, a whole fruit salad and a blend of honeys. Not sure it needs any water but since we've already filled the pipette… With water: more citrus yet. Grapefruit, citron, lemon caviar, combava (what?) … Finish: medium, immensely fruity, and since we've mentioned wine before, this time we'll say small-grain muscat. Comments: as sweet as a Carole King song.
SGP:741 - 89 points.

That's it, happy St. Pat's!

(Thank you KC!)

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