Thanks to ScotchGuy_TO for sharing this dram
Quick version: Finally was able to go to a tasting. This is a review of one of the checks notes Holy FUCK 12 whiskies? Damn, I went hard like Colossus eating nothing but Viagra for a week!
Irish whiskey has changed even in my short (roughly 10 years) time having whiskey as a hobby. There was a time that one bringing up Irish whiskey got jeers, downvotes, and a general feeling of disgust.
Then some crazy eyed goon told the world that you didn’t have to just drink Scotch, and against all common sense they listened to the bland nutter.
In the past few years we saw releases of Irish whiskey onto the market filled to the brim with fruity esters that turned many a head. I’ve heard they were originally from the private collection of the Teeling family when they wanted to raise capital to start two distilleries.
Others have noted that Irish whiskey is good, and the companies (4 of them, not a joke) that kept the entire industry running invested in finding ways to sell barrels similarly to how other countries’ sell off their stock.
Enter Irish Single Malt 17 2002 The Whisky Agency. Seems generic, right? I don’t know where it came from. I only know the age, that it’s a single malt, that it is a single barrel, and that it’s cask strength. Beyond that? Nothing.
If I had more money and lived in a country that didn’t hate alcohol while relying on it for tax revenue, I’d have more and more bottles of Irish whiskey. But I don’t, so I’m happy someone shared a dram with me.
Let’s see what the fuss is all about, shall we?
Price: $236.36 CAD
Matured in a Barrel (Thank goodness, hate those whiskies that were matured in non barrels)
Colour: 5Y 9/4
Nose: Peach, grass, floral, bread, grapefruit
Fruity, big bread flavours, some floral/grass, and acidity. Welcome to Irish town, and man have I missed it.
If you came at this with the experience of less limited releases, you’d only recognize that yeast/bread note. And if you eat carbs like I do (as if they are going extinct and I’m a Captain Planet Villain), then it’s drawing you in and giving you extras.
Taste: Walnut oil, croissant, peanuts, fresh tropical fruit
Bitter, great oily mouthfeel, the bread now has enough butter to reset a full Marathon, and there’s nutty and tropical fruit notes.
For those of you who have been lucky to have other releases like this, you’d note the lack of fruit salad I’m listing: This is less fruity and less complex than others, however still quite tasty, and arguably easier to review because I don’t have to list a bunch of fruit (I sure hope that’s not foreshadowing)
Finish: Blackberry, guava, musty, wheat, dry banana
(Turns out it was). So we have a ton of sharp, funky, and tropical fruit, mixed with some musty and cereal notes at the end. While not as complex as the taste or nose, if you complain about this, you must be drinking better than me, and can colour me jealous.
Conclusion: Wow, I miss really good Irish whiskey. I really do. When they nail that mix of bread, cereal, fruit, and nuttiness, they mix perfectly. It’s like having a final dessert course at a high end restaurant and no one allows you to order the “Chocolate Death Machine” or whatever it’s called.
Irish whiskey can be expensive. It’s tough to decide between this and other whiskies. However Scotch and Bourbon are getting to dumb, dumb levels, so perhaps this is what fills the void. Or perhaps the void will continue. Nonetheless, grab a dram of a nice single cask Irish in your life: You won’t be unhappy.
World Whisky review #424, Ireland review #118, Whisky Network review #2206