G’day guys and welcome. I’m here with my first malt from the Old Country, the Emerald Isle. I’d love to use this opportunity to gloat about my proud Irish lineage, but this is not a by-the-book Irish whiskey. The perfect intro into Irish whiskey by starting with this oddball.
This label is the new kid on the block I hope will go far and has certainly has had a lot of promotion. A few months ago earlier this year my liquor store was proudly rolling this bottle out to the public, posting ads online, keeping their bottles for sale right by the register, livestreaming videos over Facebook of representatives in the country from Ireland. I was happy to jump on the bandwagon also and by lucky chance, I managed to buy a bottle displaying a number “Batch #001″, naturally I kept it. I use it now with some empty wine bottles to store my cast lead fishing sinkers. This is a label that quickly became known for thinking outside the box with their unusual whiskeys infused with all sorts of different flavors, like using American oak Kentucky bourbon barrels, or their honeycomb liqueur whiskey. Their bourbon barrel whiskey, from memory was the blend of mellow silky smooth Irish whiskey and spicy sweet bourbon they obviously had in mind. The benefit of this article will be that the few months between their first batch they released earlier this year and whatever batch this is I picked up today for this article, since then they’ve changed the bottles branding and no longer bother to list the batch number (maybe the first batch was a special branding to roll out to the public to win over drinkers) and this means I can tell if there’s any difference in quality or taste with their whiskey. Since these small batch labels, including the blended whiskeys have this level of attention to detail.
I uncork the bottle and the nose is beautifully thick of bourbon, sweet and spicy, like molasses, rye, and cayenne. But the nature of the drink changes from bottle to glass. As I pour it into a tumbler, it changes to a mellow nose unmistakably that of Irish blended barley, a silky smooth aroma of healthy green flora. We know now why they call this the Dubliner, since the Concorde never stopped in Dublin so they couldn’t call it that, as this too darts back and forth to either side of the Atlantic. And Dublin is usually full of American tourists anyway. So let’s try a sip.
As I add ice, the nose changes yet again back to a bourbon spice. So let’s see if it’s taste changes similarly. To my surprise, it doesn’t smack you straight away with a burning sensation on the tongue, but eases you in with the same silky smooth taste of Irish barley. The welcoming comforting taste of Irish whiskey egresses you into the taste of it’s American upbringing. A sweet taste of oak comes in and brings with it a full-bodied warmth of the bourbon it once held in it. And on the finish it burns in the back of my mouth and down my throat like a Kentucky, blending with the traditional one last sting of Irish whiskey, each complimenting each other. And an aftertaste of oak soothes as if to make one last contribution.
In closing: This is an unusual and unique malt that deserves a place in everybody’s cabinet. If you can’t decide whether you want Irish whiskey or Kentucky straight bourbon, like the little girl in the Old El Paso ad says “Why not both?”. I’m a great fan of this whiskey, it’s a must-try. And as for whether or not this drink has improved since their first batch; I would have to say yes. What I imagine they had in mind, was a 60/40 Irish whiskey and bourbon taste. Though it’s been several months since the last bottle was killed, I remember it being the other way round, mostly dominated by the taste of bourbon. While this is not bad, per-se, it is certainly not what you would expect of any bottle sporting a label “Irish whiskey”, and therefore I am glad it has improved since. Cheers.