Casks. They’re mostly needed to age whiskey. Mostly. Yes, that’s the word I want to use there. Totally not a bad idea.
But there are only so many trees, only so many people willing to turn those trees into barrels, and only so much that they’ll be paid. Thus the standard of using ex-sherry or ex-bourbon casks will eventually run out. There’s more distilled fermented grain juice than there is tree armour for it.
Enter Writer’s Tears Cognac Finish, one of many whiskies attempting to find the line, figure out the trick, buy casks from someone who isn’t selling tons of casks, and attempt just a finish. See how it takes to it. Also, Cognac casks are expensive already…. So my initial reason d’etre didn’t really apply and these aren’t really an alternative. But experimentation is a good reason for anything. Perhaps this means cheaper brandy barrels could work? We need to start somewhere, why not the top?
So we have a finished Irish whiskey, one which I typically enjoyed without the finish. However Read Head was good. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: $99.95 CAD at the LCBO
Cask Type: Cognac Cask
Colour: 10YR 7/10
Nose: Brown sugar, lots of oranges, heat/burn, seeds, grass
Brandy finish? The nose has the elements of orange and brown sugar in spades. Lots and lots of brandy influence. Some burn, some seediness to hint at it being a whiskey.
Taste: Dinner roll, orange, cinnamon, basil
Alright, starts closer to an Irish whiskey profile with that bread influence. Then the heat/orange/herbal aspect takes over. Back to wondering.
Something to admit: I’m not the biggest orange fan, and this is doubling down on it.
Finish: Orange oil, cereal, lime, brown sugar, basil
Hey, more orange, just what the doctor ordered. Oh, they mean actual oranges you say? Scurvy you say? Well, let’s just chalk it all up to having a laugh then.
More whisky like less orange and brown sugar fest. More herbal. Lots of the same.
Conclusion: Very orange focused. It’s certainly a change of pace for Writer’s Tears. Overall orange takes the show. To both its strength and detriment, personally.
I enjoyed the brown sugar, I enjoy the experimentation, and there’s some balance that eventually you see in the finish. But to quote a great philosopher, I ams what I ams. And what I ams is someone who feels orange is a walk-on guest, not the star of the show.
I feel like a bit more experimentation is needed here. Something closer to the core profile, or closer to getting to that touch of something.
That all said, if you enjoy orange, and want to branch out, this is right up there for you.
World Whiskey review #362, Ireland review #108, Whiskey review #1715