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Archive for the ‘Irish Whskey’ Category

Review: Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 22, 2016

Powers SAM_1660Powers Irish Whiskey is a blend of triple distilled pot still & grain whiskeys produced at the Midleton Distillery in Cork County. The pot still portion of the whiskey is produced from malted barley which is dried in enclosed kilns. This prevents the barley from accumulating any smokey flavour during the drying process. This malted barley is then ground together with unmalted barley. The milled grain is mixed with water and cultivated brewing yeast, creating a mash indigenous to Irish Whiskey. During fermentation the starches of the combined barleys are converted to alcohol. The ‘wash’ that is produced is then triple distilled and carefully maturated to ultimately become pot still whiskey. This pot still whiskey is blended with grain whiskeys to produce Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey.

My bottle of Powers Gold Label was a gift from a friend who visited Ireland last summer. Apparently the domestic bottling in the UK has a slightly lower proof (40 % ABV) than the bottling which is exported to the USA (43.2 %).

Here is a link to my review of this popular Irish Whiskey Brand:

Review: Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey

“… The whiskey is surprisingly creamy in the mouth. It is smooth and easy to sip. I taste the grain whiskey much more prominently than the Irish Pot Distilled whiskey which perhaps disappoints me a little. Grain and fine wood spices mingle with bits of butterscotch and vanilla pudding …”

Please enjoy my review!

Chimo!

 

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Review: Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 18, 2016

Knappague12 YrKnappogue Castle Irish Whiskey is produced by Castle Brands who are an international owner of premium spirits brands which are sold primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. The Irish whiskey brand pays homage to the historic Knappogue Castle in County Clare, Ireland which was originally built by Clan MacNamara in 1467.

Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey is a triple distilled Irish Whiskey (most probably produced at the Middleton Distillery) made from unpeated barley one batch at a time in copper pot stills. The spirit is aged in ex-bourbon barrels for at least 12 years.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey

“… The immediate nose is appealing with scents of budding willow trees alongside sandalwood and grain spice. There is also a beguiling malty sweetness. The spirit seems very mellow and approachable, and this suits my current mood as the winter snow is melting in the backyard and the warm sunshine of springtime is heading my way.”

Please enjoy my review of this wonderful Irish Whiskey.

Chimo!

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#30 Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 25, 2015

The town of Midleton, near Cork City, is home to the largest distillery in Ireland, aptly named the Midleton Distillery. This distillery is part of the Pernod-Ricard group of companies, and it is home to a variety of Irish Whiskey Brands. Powers, Paddy, Tullamore Dew, and Red Breast all are distilled at the Midleton Distillery, as is of course, the largest selling Irish Whiskey Brand in the world, Jameson.  (Incidentally, the Jameson Brand is also part of the Pernod-Ricard conglomerate of companies.)

Jameson 18 Limited ReserveThe Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve Irish Whiskey is a blended Irish Whiskey, the components of which are matured for a minimum of 18 years in a combination of American Bourbon Oak and Spanish Olorosso Sherry Oak Casks. The whiskey includes both grain and pure pot still whiskey varieties and is finished in fresh fill Bourbon barrels. This is the upper end of the Jameson range, and although it has been in regular production since 2002, it is considered to be a connoisseur’s whiskey and is produced in rather limited quantities each year.

Here is a link to the review of the #30 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#30 – Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve

“… The initial aroma from the glass is of a punky sweet butterscotch and mildly spicy toffee with obvious notes of marzipan. As the glass decants I notice a light woodiness developing, and a light scent of rum in the air with some brown sugar aromas. The overall effect is quite nice …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#47 Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2015

In 1988 John Teeling 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.

Old Fashioned with GreenoreOne of the more innovative products produced under the Cooley banner is the Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey. At the time of my review (in 2010) it was the only single grain Irish Whiskey which was produced from a double distillation of a single grain (corn) in a continuous column still. The whiskey was aged in used bourbon barrels for 15 years and bottled at 43% alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to the review of the #47 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#47 – Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR) 

“… This is unmistakably a corn whiskey with tasty cereal corn flakes  providing the platform upon which all else has been built. The initial delivery of the whiskey leads out with rich oak spice and honey. A sweet vanilla bourbon flavour swamps the taste-buds, and early into the tasting, I am fully aware that this whisky is unlike any Irish whisky I have tasted previously …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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Review: Paddy Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 29, 2015

Paddy SAM_1540Several weeks ago, my friend Dennis returned from a trip to Ireland (where he had been enjoying a well deserved holiday with his girlfriend), and he brought back a couple of whiskeys for me to try. The first one he showed my was Paddy. I didn’t know too much about it, and so I visited their website, to see what I could find out.

What I learned is that Paddy Whiskey is matured for up to 7 years in oak barrels after being distilled from 100 % barley grain. A proportion of the whisky (an unusually high percentage the website says) is malted barley whisky, as well,  some of the Paddy Whiskey blended with what is called Irish Pot Still Whisky. The whiskey is produced in Cork at The Middleton Distillery, and is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Paddy Irish Whiskey

“… A combination of honeyed butterscotch and soft punky pot-still caramel flavours greet my palate as I take my first sip. There are lively oak spices and some light herbal tones of heather and spearmint. Vanilla and almond flavours settle into the whiskey and bits of orange peel zest nibble at the edges of flavour giving the spirit a bit of a spicy edge …”

Please enjoy the review which concludes with a nice cocktail suggestion, the Emerald Crusta.

Chimo!

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Review: Teeling Irish Whiskey (Small Batch)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 1988 John Teeling bought the Cooley Distillery (formerly a potato schnapps 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 started 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 now the stuff of legend.)

Four major four major brands (Kilbeggan, Connemara, Greenore, and Tyrconnell) were produced by Cooley all of which were all acquired by Beam Global (now BeamSuntory) in January 2012. Jack Teeling, who was the managing director of Cooley, decided at this point to go on his own again and created the Teeling Whiskey Company. At this time the flagship whiskey of the Teeling brand is their small batch Teeling Irish Whiskey.

Emerald Crusta

Emerald Crusta

The Teeling Whiskey Company website has this to say about Teeling (Small Batch) Irish Whisky:

“Our Flagship Irish whiskey and our attempt to create the most interesting Blended Irish whiskey. This small batch bottling consists of hand selected casks which are given further maturation in ex-rum barrels imparting extra character and smooth flavour unique to Irish whiskey. By bottling at 46% with no chill filtration completes an Irish whiskey of true character.”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Teeling Irish Whiskey (Small Batch)

“… The initial aroma from the glass brings forward a light candied sweetness which reminds me of malt scotch, butterscotch and a few wisps of cotton candy. As the glass breathes I also notice some dry lemongrass, bits of sandalwood and few dusty dry wood spices in the breezes along with impressions of almond, dusty grain and a light wafting of vanilla which tags along for the ride …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a nice Irish Whiskey cocktail, the Emerald Crusta.

Happy St. Patrick’s everyone!

 

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Review: Jameson Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2014

Emerald Crusta SAM_1076Today 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. Some of us will wear green clothing; some of us will attend parades; and some of us will 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 in fact, 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 as I have admitted in the past, it is sorely lacking in content dedicated to the Irish form of the spirit.

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 where the holiday of St. Patrick first bore his name, 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 Whiskey Company that still bears his name, Jameson Irish Whiskey.

And so in honour of the celebration of the Day of St. Patrick, I have chosen to review the flagship Whiskey of Jameson brand, Jameson Irish Whiskey. You may read my full review here:

Review: Jameson Irish Whiskey

“… The initial aroma in the breezes above glass represents a soft punky sweet butterscotch interlaced with clean oak spices. As the glass breathes, I notice a light woodiness of freshly sanded oak in the background with the wood spices beginning to resemble ginger, cilantro, cardamom, and freshly harvested grain. There is also a mild punky smell within the whiskey which is obviously a reflection of the Irish pot still influence …”

As is my custom, I have included a nice recipe suggestion as part of my review, a classy cocktail I have named, the Emerald Crusta.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!

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Review: Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2013

SAM_0669 Black Bush Irish CoffeeA second review for the Day of St. Pat:

The practice of making whisky at the Old Bushmills Distillery can be traced back to 1608 when King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips (landowner and Governor of County of Antrim, Ireland) a royal license to distill ‘uisce beatha’, the gaelic for ‘water of life’. Although this grant serves as the first documented evidence of whisky being distilled at the site which would become Old Bushmills, it was not as yet called Bushmills. By 1743 however, a distillery by this name was (according to Victorian whiskey journalist Alfred Barnard) was “in the hands of smugglers”‘.  (However, it was not until 1784 that Hugh Anderson officially registered the Old Bushmills Distillery with the Pot Still as its trade mark.) Today, the Bushmills brand is owned by the Diageo conglomerate with all of the whiskey produced under the Bushmills name produced at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The Bushmills Black Bush is composed of whiskey aged in Oloroso Sherry and American oak (bourbon) cask. All of this whiskey is aged for up to 7  years with 80 per cent of the blend being Premium Malt Whisky.

Please click on the following excerpt to read the review which contains two great St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, Fool’s Gold on the Rocks, and of course, Irish Coffee:

Review: Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey

“… The initial breezes above the glass are warm and inviting. I sense some soft caramel toffee rising into the air with some sweet malty aromas, hints of dry fruit (raisins and apricots), a nice lightly spicy oak presence, and some light impressions of cocoa … “

Please enjoy my second St. Patrick’s Day Review!

(Note: Sample for this review provided by the Diageo Marketing  team in Alberta.)

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey

Review: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 17, 2013

SAM_0654 KilbegganSt. Patrick’s Day has rolled around one more time. (Although with a temperature outside at minus seventeen degrees Centigrade and still 40 centimeters of snow still residing on my back lawn it seems more like January than March.) In many places throughout the world, this is a day to revel in the Irish heritage which we either share by birth, or we share by spirit (on St. Patrick’s Day at least). 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; a spirit which can trace its heritage back to 1757, and makes the claim that it is linked to the oldest distillery in Ireland, the Kilbeggan Distillery.

Please click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

“… The Kilbeggan is very pleasant in the glass with a nice warm mahogany colour and initial scents of vanilla, punky toffee, and light sandalwood. As I let the glass breathe, I notice some nice fruity notes (banana and orange peel in particular), a bit of pickle juice, some green grape, and a nice little dollop of almond …”

Of course I have include a nice cocktail for the Day of St. Pat, The Irish Mojito Swizzle.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(Note: Sample for this review provided by the Alberta Beam Global team)

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Irish Whskey, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

The Year in Whisky

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2012

This was a great year for the Rum Howler with respect to Whisky. I was able to help in a small way with the success of the 3nd Annual Edmonton Whisky Festival; I was selected to be on the North American Panel of Spirit Writers who judged the Canadian Whisky Awards; and I was able to almost double the number of Whisky reviews on my website this year. The result of all of this activity is that the year 2012 saw me taste and score more whisky than ever before. This means that my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Whisky are better than ever.

All of my whisky awards are based upon side by side tastings of the various spirits which are in competition for each particular award. Just as it is with my other Rum Howler Awards, all of the samples which I receive for review in a given year are automatically considered for the awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards.

And so without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2012 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Whisky. These Awards are for the best Whisky Spirits I encountered in the year 2012, here is the link:

The 2012 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Whisky

Posted in American Whiskey, Awards, Canadian Whisky, Extras, Irish Whskey, Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Whisky, Whisk(e)y, Whisk(e)y Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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