While shopping in a foreign nation, I have my questions down to a science: I ask if they have any store specific bottlings, any single casks, and any store specific bottlings. I then give them a price range, snap my fingers, and put my nose up. As is expected of me.
So while at the Celtic whiskey shop, I discovered a range that is specific to them called the Celtic Cask Series. They pick a cask from an Irish distiller and then add them to a cask from either a European bodegas or wine house.
Thus I see these, and they are out of my price range. Because I’m cheap. Unless it’s about food, then you better hope I’m kinky based on how much I’ll cost you.
Getting back to it, I walk into Dingle Whiskey Bar, and low and behold they have 6-8 of these Celtic Cask Series. I ask for the best one for the money, and the extremely smart bartender recommends Celtic Cask 2000 – Sé Déag 16.
So what is this? Well it is a double distilled single malt from an Irish distiller. Given it’s not triple distilled, and is a single malt, my guess is Bushmills. However I have nothing to back that up.
But they don’t stop there. No, after being aged for 14 years in ex-Bourbon casks, it’s placed in a special Anima Negra red wine barrel. What’s that? It’s a red winery off the coast of Spain near Felanitx in Mallorca. They use Callet grapes.
So that’s a lot to take in. I’m glad that I a) didn’t research this at all while drinking it and b) was now a bit tipsy due to the hot temperature and the alcohol.
I did take my time on this though, I did have a large water before, and did give myself time before reviewing it.
So this is a rare independent cask that was finished in a rare cask. Glad I got a dram. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: €250 in Ireland, however I think it’s sold out.
Cask No: 1747
Cask Type: Anima Negra Red Wine Barrel Finish for the final 2 years
Casked On: 19th September 2000
Bottled: 17th November 2016
Bottle No: 358/369
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Lilac buttercream icing, tangerine, cinnamon raisin bread, honey, malt/milkshake, cardamon
It’s hard to separate the floral aspect from the sweets. And the sweets go from light sugar to a more molasses based sugar as it opens up. Lots of malt, good amount of orange and spice.
Really nice unctuousness on the nose. Very inviting with lots of Xmas spices, developed sweet bread notes, and floral aspects. Hell I’m not the biggest orange fan and I love the acidic nature and what it does here.
Taste: Violets, plum, heather/honey, candied yogurt, raisins, cereal
Floral continues with some darker fruit notes. Not as complex on the taste than the nose. It’s the right amount of cereal, right amount of sweetness, and an odd creamy note.
I guess the closest I can say it is is those yogurt covered raisins but not developed enough for both of the flavours to be intrinsically tied together. Does that make sense? Maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. I feel like this could almost be given a few more months and they would connect.
Finish: Malt, candied plum, floral chocolate, oak, pickled hot pepper
There’s some vinegar here with some sweet heat. Floral and chocolate aspects can’t be separated. Good amount of candied flavour.
This tries to be close to the nose, but the malt aspect hasn’t grown as much. Or rather there’s still a “raw” malt flavour here with the other flavours that grew out of it.
Conclusion: Wow, what an interesting whiskey. Honestly has some really unique, interesting, and complex notes.
Finish was a lot longer than other Irish whiskies I’ve had. The finish needed some more time, or picked up some heat from the red wine. Could be either. The honey/floral elements throughout are amazing. The unique aspects are picking up.
Add to that this isn’t cask strength. I can only imagine what 4% more would have done. Maybe too hot? Or perhaps some of the disconnected parts wouldn’t have been. However that’s just me going back and forth. This is like a nice Lowland that hung out with some older Bourbons or some strong Sherry casks. Really tasty, not to be missed.
World Whiskey review #224, Ireland review #42, Whiskey Network review #1043