I enjoy Irish whiskey.
So brave, am I right? Enjoying what used to account for 60% of all whiskey sold on the planet? What next, am I going to express my love for chocolate or how much rice I eat(I used to avoid rice, that’s a subject for another time)?
Joking aside, I enjoy the flavour profile of Irish whiskey. However the Irish Whiskey scene took a beating, much in the same way the Irish themselves did.
As such it’s tough finding some of the truly great whiskies off the Island. Recently there’s been quite the jump in amazing 90s Irish whiskies popping up. And as some of the rarities here in not-Ireland, they’ve been going for quite the prices.
Thus when a private collector was selling some whiskies, Cooley 15 1992 A.D. Rattray caught my eye. It’s a 90s whiskey, from Ireland, packaged by an Independent Bottler who’s made things I’ve enjoyed putting in my face hole: Seems like a good idea.
So did we do well? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: £90 at auction. I don’t know the original price.
Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Cask number: 329
Colour: 7.5Y 8/8
Nose: Mango, basil, sugar cookie, honey cruller
A traditional Irish profile has herbal, yeast, and sugar. This has buttery sugar, more defined herbal notes, a tropical aspect, and the yeast has been baked into something with the above ingredients.
So an improvement, in other words.
Taste: Mango syrup, pepper, grass, caramel, squash soup
Tropical, fruity, bit hot/earthy, and sweet. If the nose was taking all the elements, this seems to focus on the earthier/sweeter aspects. This time it’s simpler than the nose, though there’s moments of improvement.
That said it’s a bit brash at times.
Finish: Mango, marshmallow, rich cereal, pepper, heather
Very sweet, though tempered with a rich cereal and some of the grassiness from before. Though again that sweet note is very brash.
Conclusion: Bit brash for what it is. Let’s start with what this isn’t: This isn’t one of those “magical” 90s Irish whiskies that are popping up for 8 times the price. At all. I had hoped it would be, and took a chance.
What this whiskey is and should be treated like is proof that Irish whiskey can be complex and does have a backbone of character in it. Simply put this is a cask strength, good (not great) Irish. It amplifies the characteristics we find in our everyday drams and is fun to have. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
World Whiskey review #398, Ireland review #112, Whiskey Network review #1996