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Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey (Domestic)

Review: Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey   81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted June 22, 2016

Powers 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 %).

Powers SAM_1660In the Bottle 3.5/5

To the left is my 375 ml bottle of Powers Gold Label Irish Whisky bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. This smaller bottle has the same general shape and labeling characteristics as the larger 700 and 750 ml bottles. While it is true that there is nothing terribly wrong with what I see, it is also true that there really isn’t anything I see that inspires me either. As everyone who reads my reviews knows, I do not like metallic screw caps which seal the spirit bottles. As well in the case of Powers, the gold coloured label seems to lack any sort of ‘pop’ on my bar shelf. In my opinion the overall look screams bottom shelf.

In the Glass 8/10

The Irish Whiskey displays a light golden amber colour in the glass, darker than straw, but not quite on its way to copper yet. When I tilt and twirl the glass, I see a light whiskey sheen the crest of which drops small slender legs back to the whiskey below. The nose is very subdued with smells of butterscotch and fine wood spices. There are fruity banana-like scents with a touch of orange peel spice and perhaps just a little grilled pineapple. (In some ways this is very rum-like.)

As time moves on, I begin to notice some dusty grain scents with toasted cereal notes and penetrating grain spice. I was hoping for more to develop as I nosed the glass, but the character of the whiskey has stopped evolving, and it is time to take a sip.

In the Mouth 49.5/60

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. Grain and fine wood spices mingle with bits of butterscotch and vanilla pudding. Some baking spices and almond flavours are noticeable as is some mushy banana. If I search, I find a few malty flavours which adds just a touch of sweetness. Although the whiskey is pleasant and smooth, it is also true that complexity and depth of flavour are not the spirit’s strong suits.

I can sip quite easily; however I believe the whiskey is more suited to mixing. To that end I mixed a nice  recipe using juice and soda and found the libation very enjoyable. (See recipe below)

In the Throat 12.5/15

The exit is smooth and unassuming just as the entry was. Vanilla, almond and butterscotch seem to linger with just a touch of wood spice and grain providing a little heat.

The Afterburn 8/10

It would be accurate to say that Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey lacks the complexity and fullness of flavour which I desire from a sipping spirit. Having said that, the whiskey is smooth and pleasant and for those who want an entry into the realm of Irish Whiskey, Powers is probably as good as any for that purpose.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

Irish Blessing SAM_2402Celtic Lady

2 oz  Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey
1/3 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 oz sugar syrup
3 mint leaves
1 oz Ginger-ale
Mint sprig for garnish

Muddle the first five ingredients in a mixing glass
Strain into a rocks glass
Add ice-cubes
Complete with Ginger-ale
Garnish with a mint sprig in the glass

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


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