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Writer’s Tears Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish

Review: Writer’s Tears Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish (Irish Whisky)    (91/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra
Posted March 06, 2019

Bernard and Rosemary Walsh began producing their own independent Irish Whiskey brands in 2007 with the introduction of The Irishman 70 (aka The Irishman Original Clan in the USA) and The Irishman – Single Malt. In 2009 they expanded the portfolio with the introduction Writers Tears, a boutique brand which was created to bring additional nuance to the Irish Whiskey Category.

Recently (February 7, 2019), the LCBO Whisky Shop launched a 7 brand Walsh Whiskey feature which included the 2018 bottling of Writer’s Tears Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish (Irish Whisky).

According to the information sent to me Writer’s Tears Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish is a unique blend of Single Malt and Single Pot Still Whiskey. It is distilled 3 times and aged in American Oak bourbon casks. After this first maturation the whiskey is then finished for nine addition months Cognac Casks from the family cooperage of Allary. These casks have been seasoned for up to 15 years with Deau XO from the Legaret family.

This expression of Writer’s Tears was bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

As you can see from the picture to the left, Writer’s Tears Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish arrives in a standard bar-room style whiskey bottle. These bottles are very popular especially for bartenders as they are easy to grab from the bar shelf and easy to pour into the bar glass. An attractive display box adds to the ambiance of the presentation. The only obvious flaw is the metallic screw cap which closes the bottle. I dislike those metallic caps as they are quite flimsy, and will sometimes lose their thread before the bottle is finished.

In the Glass 9/10

I was working from a small sample (100 ml) and so my tasting notes are somewhat abbreviated.

Colour: Lighter hue than I was expecting, pale gold leaning towards amber.

Legs: Reluctant droplets hanging from the crest  falling slowly as medium thick legs.

Initial Aroma: Fine oak and sandalwood with dark fruit and toffee. Malt notes with vanilla and burlap.

Decanted Aroma: Oak and toffee scents deepen with obvious scents of fresh grain and malted barley. The fruity notes have intensified as well representing green grapes, pears and canned apricot. There are hints of cherry and underlying smells of cedar and poplar.

There appears to be much more going on with subtle complexities whispering at me in the breezes above the glass.

In The Mouth 55/60

Alcohol push and Spice: The 46% alcohol heats the palate lightly. The whisky feel spicy but also quite smooth considering the alcohol content

Initial Taste: Spicy raisin melded into oak and vanilla. A light but firm sweetness is present.

Follow up: Turkish Delight accented with raisins and fresh green grapes. Marzipan and Marmalade. Light chocolate flavours with gooseberry, oak and heather. Subtle underlying layers of flavour and a light sweetness of canned fruit running throughout make this a very enjoyable dram.

With Ice: Actually a few drops of water work better than ice to open the dram allowing me to further enjoy the subtleties of the dram.

Mixed: A atandard Old-Fashioned with Angostura Bitters and a light hint of citrus peel tastes marvelous!

In The Throat: 13.5/15

Body and Length: Medium to full-bodied with a sweet, fruit filled finish

Flavours during Swallow: Melded cherry licorice, marmalade, oak spice and vanilla.

Lingering Flavours: Lingering sweetness of red licorice, some spiciness of oak and hints of light chocolate.

The Afterburn  9.5/10

Final Thoughts: Writer’s Tears Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish is an exceptional Irish Whiskey. I wish I had a larger sample as the spirit contains different layers of flavour which I would have loved to spend some time with teasing out the light nuances which playfully hid underneath the waves.

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


Suggested Recipe:

Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Writer’s Tears Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish (Irish Whisky)
1/3 oz  Sugar Syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Twist of Orange Peel

Add the first four ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please 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 (loosely) 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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