We’re well past the point where one can ignore Irish whiskey.
Who made this? I don’t know. Don’t care at this point. Seriously, in 1972 there were only two whiskey distilleries in operation in Ireland. And both were owned by Irish Distillers (the company). Compare that to 1887, when there were 28 in total. As of 2019 there were 25.
So when Irish 31 1990 Archives was made, Cooley Distillery was only three years old. Pernod Ricard had only owned Irish Distillers (again, the company, not all of the actual Irish distillers) for two years. Bushmills was still operating as well. This could have come from the Teeling family’s collections that (based on rumours) were sold off to the market, and John Teeling had connections across the island in addition to establishing Cooley.
Could I figure out a 31-year-old whiskey based on taste? No, what are you new? Yeah, I’ve had a few Irish whiskies, but there’s the people who are that amazing and then there’s me, some guy who makes dick jokes and posts for free.
Will I still share what I think of this new, very old, very interesting Irish whiskey? You bet every part of your body’s dollars (not just the bottom one)! Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: $750 CAD
Vintage: January 17, 1990
Bottled: June 19, 2021
Cask type: Barrel
Cask number: 579
Number of bottles: 141
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Mango, tapioca pudding, hickory smoke, daisies, mint
The second the tropical fruit hits my nose, I’m happy. For those of you who have missed the older Irish whiskies that recently have become a mainstay in the market, allow me to explain: They all have these big, lovely tropical notes.
Caught up? So this starts with that, but there’s a starchy/sweet/vanilla note, interesting smoke, and floral/sharp grassy notes. Nothing is normal, everything is lovely, we’re all good.
Taste: Honey, candied bacon, roast corn, mango candy, rich creme caramel, amchur
Floral goes to honey, smoke goes to bacon (and steals more of the sugar), there’s a rich, fatty caramel that will make you believe, some roasted cereal and even a tart, sour element that previously I’d wonder if it was lemon peel or not. I’ve been playing around with the odd curry, so amchur is on my mind. Think more sour.
Summary: Tropical, smoke, floral, buttery, and sour. Great times.
Finish: Dandelion greens, apricot, amchur, black licorice, brown butter, nori
Bit more bitter at the end. It’s sour, has some vegetal/grass notes, more of that sour/tartness, a nutty note, salt and licorice. Quite the wide selection of flavours, and all of them tasty.
Conclusion: A kitchen sink tropical, smoke, unique and rich whiskey. So it’s amazing is what I’m attempting to convey. Very complex. This is the kind of Irish whiskey that you attempt to hunt down when you’re in Ireland or some place with the good sense to obtain good Irish whiskey.
Like many other Irish whiskey offerings that are extra old, independently bottled, are cask strength, and have cool labels, this is worth hunting down. It’s very tasty. I don’t know if they are going to run out of these amazing whiskies or if they are going to keep finding them. I don’t know. I felt that the 73 Secret Speysides or the XO Blends would keep coming, and now they are gone. So if you have a chance to try one of these older Irish whiskies, I’d take it.
World Whisky review #437, Ireland review #120, Whisky Network review #2280