Not quite sure how, but Paddy’s Day is only a few days away – the one day every year that everyone is, or at least feels Irish, man this year is flying at full speed. Regardless, I took time out last week to have a think through what my top 5 Irish whiskeys for St Patrick’s Day 2019 would be, so here they are.
Now, whilst you cannot technically buy Batch 002 until August, it is worth noting how brilliant it is – as you can read in my review of it published a few days ago – with its elegant power that is beautifully balanced for a truly memorable Irish whiskey experience. Instead though, try to get your whiskey mits on the Jameson 18 Year Old, 55.1% ABV finished for one year in the Bow Street distillery experience in Dublin.
Soft pineapple and sweet sugar and cream notes on the nose, earthy. The palate is so soft at the high ABV, fruity, sweet, mellow, calm and a properly luxury drop of Irish whiskey. A lovely treacle and toffee note on the palate too. Quite a short finish, expected longer but all it served was to draw me back for another sip… and another… and another…
In partnership with Kanaan Winery in China, Teeling have created a dram matured in casks that once held the winery’s Pretty Pony wine. This is an award-winning blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon with a 2013 vintage.
The barrels are made up of both French and Hungarian oak, which imparts a wonderful wooded flavour.
The release is exceptionally fruity and rich. The vanilla is creamy and thick, with a slightly caramelised note to it. The palate is dense with flavour. Lots more fruits come in and there is a gentle smoothness to the mouth feel. The oak of the barrels is also there, with lots of wooded qualities. Vanilla and caramel with a hint of cinnamon also comes from this flavour. The finish is bold, with lots of sweet notes and a nod towards warming oak flavours.
3. Tullamore D.E.W. XO
A wonderful whiskey I first tried in the Tullamore D. E. W. Distillery in Ireland in 2017, this whiskey is so easy drinking and so much fun to enjoy in cocktails too.
Finished in rum casks, the tropical fruit, slight peppery spice and luscious sweetness make it a drop to remember. Seriously nice stuff.
4. Method & Madness Hungarian Oak Finish
Now this took me by surprise, I had wanted to try it since I heard about it then in Berlin, October 2018, I managed to try this whiskey and it blew me away, instantly becoming one of my favourite Irish whiskeys of all time. The spice, the warmth, the eloquent depth of flavour that reveals itself over time in the glass and in the mouth was just superb and I am glad I managed to acquire a bottle of it… although the fill level is pretty low now… lets hope they do a second batch…
5. The Sexton
The Sexton is said to have been created in celebration of the North coast of Ireland, which is exactly where Bushmills Distillery is based, so it would not be a big jump to assume the two were connected.
That aside, Sexton is a brilliant malt. It has no age statement, but is said to have been matured for around four years in the finest European oak Oloroso Sherry casks. This is a wonderful combination, bringing together the centuries old traditions of Irish Whiskey distilling with the newer traditions and innovations in cask maturation. The result is sublime. The Sexton is a thoroughly modern Irish Whiskey, with all the charm of the malts that have gone before it. The nose opens with lots of sweet, nutty flavours. There are lots of pecans and marzipan mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg spice. The spices are soft and warming, coating a variety of dried fruits. There is an element of Christmas cake here but the texture is smoother and the malt comes through a lot more.