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Posts Tagged ‘Irish Whiskey’

Review: Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2011

Today is the day of St. Patrick, and in many places throughout the world, this is a day to revel in the Irish heritage which we either share by birth, or (on St. Patrick’s Day at least) we share by spirit. We wear green; we attend parades; and some of us even drink green beer in what has become more of a secular holiday which celebrates Irish culture, than a religious holiday which celebrates the Patron Saint after which the day was first named.

And celebrating Irish culture is not a bad thing; it was after all the Irish who first distilled “uisce beatha“, which translates from Irish into English as “the water of life“. I could go into a long and detailed etymology,  but suffice it to say that “uisce beatha” is probably very close to the original form of the word which would later become “whiskey”.  My blog is full of reviews of this wonderful spirit, but I must admit it is sorely lacking in content dedicated to the Irish variety.

Today, I will go a small way towards correcting this imbalance by reviewing a whiskey from the Emerald Isle which embodies the character and the class of spirits we call Irish Whiskey. And, one which bears a rather obscure link to St. Patrick’s Day.

Like St. Patrick, who was born (in 385 A.D.) of Scottish parentage, but found his calling (and fame) in Ireland, so to John Jameson was also born a Scotsman (in 1740 A.D.), and he also found his calling (and established his fame) in Ireland with the company that bears his name, Jameson Irish Whiskey.

And so in honour of the celebration of the Day of St. Patrick, I chose to review one of the most premium Irish Whiskeys which is available in my locale, the Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey.

Here is a link to my Review:

Review: Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

And in the interests of celebrating Irish culture, here are two additional links to my other Irish Whiskey reviews which were previously published on my blog:

Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Review: Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

The Rum Howler Awards – The Whisky Wrap-up

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2010

And today I reach the last of my Rum Howler Awards Postings presenting the ‘grand prize’ awards for best whiskies I have tasted over the past year.  As with the rum, I wanted to be completely fair about things so I brought in some help and had the final tasting sessions done by panel rather than by myself alone.

All final tastings were done in a blind format. The panel members were not even tasting the same spirits at the same time. The whiskies were ranked  by each panel member, and then the rankings were compared to choose the best spirit for each category.

Unlike the Rum awards which were based upon age and price, the whisky awards were based solely on price.  I allowed for a bit of leeway ($10.00) when it came to imported whiskies as I understand the costs of shipping into my locale from other parts of the world.

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $40.00:
(A price point below $40.00 in my market (Alberta) was required.)

Alberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old

Honourable mention to Wiser’s Small Batch, The Black Grouse, and Gibson’s Finest 12 YR.

The decision to make the determining factor, price rather than age, was based upon the sheer volume of whiskies with no age statement in my market. However once that decision was made, it was a foregone conclusion that Alberta Premium 25 Yr Old Limited Edition would waltz away with the first award. In the under $40.00 price range there just isn’t a better whisky in the world. The good news for the competitors is that this whisky has pretty much sold out and will not be in the competition next year.  The bad news for the competitors is that Alberta Premium 30 Year Old is apparently on its way.


The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $80.00:
(A price point below $80.00 in my market (Alberta) was required.)

Highland Park 12

Honourable mention to Johnnie Walker Black LabelAlberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old and Wiser’s 18 Years Old.

The Highland Park 12 Year Old Whisky is my go to whisky when I want a nice aromatic peated whisky in the middle of the cold spells in winter. I was immensely satisfied when the panel verified my thoughts that this is a world-class spirit.  The Johnny Walker Black, The Alberta Premium 25, and the Wiser’s 18 Year Old were all very strong competitors in what was the closest race for an award in this series.  If you began your whisky collection with these four spirits, you would do yourself no wrong.


The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky (Any Price)

Bruichladdich Black Art

Honourable Mention to Wiser’s 18 Years Old, Highland Park 12, and Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR).

Four panel members each chose a different whisky in the blind tastings. But when all the scores were analyzed the Black Art from Bruichladdich was deemed to be the most popular. I found it interesting that the Irish whiskey from Cooley’s scored so well. It seems that every time this bottle is opened it gains new converts. I also found it interesting that the Wiser’s 18 and the Highland Park 12 scored much higher than many more expensive offerings.


And there we have the final “Grand Prize” Rum Howler Awards for Whiskies! Here is a summary of today’s Awards:

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $40.00, Alberta Premium Rye 25Yr Old

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky under $80.00, Highland Park 12

The Rum Howler Award for Best Whisky (Any Price), Bruichladdich Black Art


All of my 2010 Whisky Awards can be found on this summary page:

The Rum Howler Awards for Whisky Excellence!

Posted in American Whiskey, Canadian Whisky, Howls, Indian Whisky, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Whisk(e)y | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rum Howler Awards – The Whisky Wrap-up

Whiskey Review: Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 25, 2010

In 1988 JohnTeeling bought the Cooley Distillery from the Irish Government essentially as a purchase of a facility meant for the scrap heap. The distillery however, was never scrapped. Instead John Teeling and his Master Distiller, Noel Sweeny, turned their perceptions of the facility around, rolled up their sleeves, and ten years later were making some of the most unique Irish whiskey in the Country. Not that it was easy, Dr. Teeling tried unsuccessfully to sell the distillery five years into the process to rid himself of the bad investment. But… innovation and desire played their part, and the remarkable turn around of the Cooley Distillery is the stuff of legend.

One of the innovative products made at the Cooley Distillery is the Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey. It is the only single grain Irish Whiskey that I know of which uses a double distillation of a single grain (corn) in a continuous column still. The final product is aged in used bourbon barrels for either 8 years or 15, and bottled at 43% alcohol by volume.

I am reviewing the 15-year-old version which quite frankly is one of the most surprising whiskeys I have come across recently. Here is a small snippet from my review:

“…The delivery of the whiskey leads out with rich oak spice and honey.  A sweet vanilla bourbon flavour swamps the taste-buds, and I am fully aware that this whisky is unlike any Irish whisky I have tasted.  As the flavour settles toasty corn-on-the-cob with mouth-watering butter  comes to mind. ..”

You may read the rest of the review here:

Whiskey Review: Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Whiskey Review: Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

Whiskey Review – Bushmills 16yr Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 7, 2009

A good Irishmen will tell you that Ireland is the birthplace of Whiskey.  (He probably will not tell you that this original Irish Whiskey was made from oats not barley and it tasted disgusting.)  Whether Ireland really was the birthplace of whiskey is a matter of debate, (for a good Scotsman overhearing the conversation might just roll up his sleeves and start swinging at the mere suggestion that his ancestors did not invent the stuff).  But actually the evidence tips slightly to the Irish who are not above tipping and tottering after a dram or two.   In fact it is said that the Irish first spelled whiskey with an  “e”  and the Scots decided to drop the “e” just to point out that their whisky was different, which originally it probably wasn’t,  but soon was.  And if you follow all of that you probably need a dram of the stuff right about now.  So let me introduce an outstanding Irish Whiskey:

Bushmills 16 Single MaltBushmills 16yr Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey has its own unique flavour heritage,  spicy anise and a smooth grainy profile.  Personally I find Irish whiskey to be a smooth and easy to drink.  Bushmills 16yr Single Malt  does not disappoint in this regard.  The Irish heritage stands proudly here, but this is a single malt, not a grain whiskey.  This means we get a little more sweetness on the palate.  The anise flavour is more licorice like.  However the whiskey has other complex flavours not commonly found in other Irish whiskeys.  A firm but mellow vanilla bourbon (from the American whiskey oak), a subtle but slightly heavy sherry influence (from the Oloroso cask), and fruity cherry like flavours from the port pipes. ….

You may read the full review here:

Review – Bushmills 16yr Old Single Malt (Ireland)

Posted in Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Whiskey Review – Bushmills 16yr Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey


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