G’day guys. Mitch here. I was annoyed after last week’s review on the O’Mara’s Irish Country Cream that I could find no relevant information on it whatsoever. And ultimately, wrote a much shorter article than I thought my site deserved. Although reassuringly, people seemed to like it as much as the ones that followed it nonetheless, so thankfully I’m the only person who disliked it. Perfectionism isn’t always a bad thing. And apparently that was a bad writing week for the entire region. That Wednesday, our local newspaper wrote an article that was literally titled “Pier lightbulbs to be replaced”, proceeding to inform us that the Urangan Pier’s solar powered lights are having their LED bulbs replaced. Going on to mention that “This will also be an opportunity to inspect and clean all lights along the pier”. Surprised they don’t go on to feature a story about Bob who used to live down the road. You remember Bob? That nice old man who used to live two doors down from us when we lived over in Baddow? I bumped into him in Woolies the other day. He still has that old Ford Econovan, he’s getting it serviced in town next week. The workmen in the shop are quoted as saying “it’s a routine service, we do them every week”. He’s expecting to receive an oil change, a new oil filter and a new air filter. There’s also stipulation surrounding whether or not he will receive new transmission fluid and have his brake pads changed also, as Bob, being a pensioner, is known for driving round town at thirty kays an hour in front of people on their way to work, and the brake pads could easily make it to the next hundred thousand kay service. More on this story as it develops. Now over to the wines and spirits column.
So, let’s bypass the trap of writing about liqueurs, and get to my favorite, straight to good old reliable Irish whiskeys. The good ones. The single malts! Something I can easily write about. This week it’s Tyrconnell. And starts with a story more expected of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, than an Irish whiskey. The story starts when in eighteen-seventy-six, when an R.M. Delamere entered his horse in the National Producee Stakes horse race. A prestigious horse race run at the Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare, originally established in eighteen-forty-nine. A race still run to this day under the name of the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, run every September. Something the TAB crowd could tell me more about, I’m sure. Makes me wonder what the Irish equivalent of a Mint Julep is, or in the case of our Melbourne Cup the Australian equivalent. Maybe the same substituting rum for bourbon, something to look into perhaps? But I digress. Delamere struck luck that day. And the horse was flocked in admiration by the loving crowd. Including one A.A. Watts, a local distilling businessman. Who felt the occasion so special he created a small batch of whiskey in commemoration of the colt. And the name of the horse – Tyrconnell. Although the batch was intended to be a one off in the name of celebration, the whiskey ultimately became Watt’s best selling whiskey. And so it’s production continued. Before the advent of Prohibition, it was said to be the bestselling Irish whiskey. Nowadays, the Tyrconnell label is distilled from the old Kilbeggan Distillery, and is another one of the many labels owned and operated by the Beam Suntory Company.
The character of Tyrconnell is one of uniqueness and intrigue. Traditionally, Irish whiskey, is distilled from the fermentation of barley, malted or non and Irish ale yeast. Distilled three times, creating the silky smooth flavor profile that defines smooth Irish whiskey. The same distilling process, the abilities of the still itself aside, that makes the fermented starches to make vodka as near as makes no difference flavorless. Tyrconnell, deviates from this. And instead, is distilled twice, and only twice. The distilling process adopted by all other whiskey distillers except the Irish. The Americans, the Scots, the Charente. And is therefore, unusual amongst Irish whiskey. The bottle is a handsomely trimmed one, straw-coloured of the liquor inside and boasting a traditionally Irish green wrapper atop it. The label, the romantic depiction of the famous colt of which the legend lives on. The chestnut horse with the jockey furiously riding it for the finish line to victory with the other horses hot on it’s heels as the crowd cheers on in the grandstands. The label stating seventeen-sixty-two, the founding year of the parent company’s label, the distilling body that birthed Tyrconnell. The writing, outlined with a glistening shining gold, on what my closest description is a very pale cyan paper. I unwrap the cap and pop open the light brown capped cork. The nose of the whiskey is surprising and provocative, strong and characterful. To say, that this Irish whiskey, by acquisition of the logo of a racehorse has by default assumed the character of a bourbon would be childishly simple – The nose is what you could come to expect if, anthropomorphized, a Kentucky straight bourbon and an Irish whiskey had a child. The nose on ice becomes as straw as the colour. Now the clincher, the taste – A beautifully full-bodied wash of unmistakable single malt Irish whiskey. Malty, the balance of spice and smoothness, tannic and heated. Full of flavor and the fondness refreshed of every pleasant moment a single malt Irish has accompanied.
So to summarize: This is a beautifully indulgent single malt that embodies many whiskies above it’s pricetag. By comparison, most other single malt Irish whiskies vary somewhere from eighty to ninety dollars. Reminds me of the Bushmills single malt, though I prefer this. My exploration of Irish single malts has scarcely scratched the surface, and I intend to dig further. Like a healthy vein of liquid gold. Irish whiskey, has yet again proven itself to be my favourite liquor out of all. And I advise you to follow