Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Whisky Discovery #1368

Hyde No. 1 'Presidents Cask' 10 Year Old 46% abv

Irish Single Malt Whiskey
circa £51.00 70cl
It wasn't that long ago that almost all Irish Whiskey came from either the New Midleton Distillery (Jamesons, Powers, Redbreast, Midleton, Greenspot and others) or Bushmills in Northern Ireland.

Cooley were the first of the new distilleries coming on line in 1987 producing Connemara, Michael Collins, Tyrconnell, and others. It wasn't until 2007 when the next distillery re-opened with Kilbeggan followed by West Cork Distillers in 2008. The next group of start-ups followed four years later, and they're still coming. Irish Whiskey is riding a wave of optimism and every month there seems to be news of a new distillery either coming on-line or new plans are being drawn up.

Hibernia Distillers are one of the latest new names in Irish Whiskey and has recently launched its Hyde Irish Whiskey onto the Irish and international markets, as this demand for Irish whiskey continues to grow. Hyde is a single-malt Irish whiskey, made from 100 per cent malted Irish barley and aged for ten years, named to celebrate Ireland’s first president, Douglas Hyde, who served as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945.

There's no distillery just yet, but they have ambitions, with plans to start their own production in the near future in West Cork. So the casks for this release were sourced from the Cooley distillery (as read on IrishWhiskey.com) and had been distilled in traditional copper pot stills from 100% malted Irish barley, aged in flame-charred oak first fill Bourbon barrels for 10 years, and finished off in toasted Oloroso Sherry casks from Spain for a further 10 months. It is non-chilled filtered and cut with West Cork spring water, and then bottled at 46% abv and limited to 5,000 bottles, all of which are individually numbered and comes in a bespoke wooden box.

Official tasting notes:
Nose: Delightful peaches & cream, vanilla, slightly custard, barley malt softness, with citrus, sweet, honey, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, orange, lemon, banana, & infused with spices.
Taste: Wonderfully smooth yet complex, creamy yet fruity with notes of caramel and manuka honey, apricot, plumb, and a silky malt texture.
Finish: Rich, Spicy, & Oaky. It lingers in the mouth with a long rich finish.

So What Did I Think?
Colour: Rich Gold
Nose: Sweet with a creamy peachy type flavour initially.It feels unmistakably Irish to me, but would I have said that in a blind tasting? Probably not! Foam bananas come later along with a gentle orange note and lots of lovely ripe grains
Taste: Very smooth and creamy. Tinned peaches and evaporated milk (a tea time trat as a kid!) A soft orange note comes across later along with milk chocolate. The spices come late leaving a sherbet like tingle in the long finish. The empty glass the following morning yeilds plenty of malty chocolate notes.

A nicely balanced Irish whiskey and I'm looking forward to hearing more from this new company. Their next release, HYDE No.2 ; a 10 Year Old Rum Cask finished version will be ready to launch in September, however it will be a long wait until we get to see their own 10 Year Old release.

Slàinte! Dave

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Whisky Discovery #1367

The Dalmore Distillery Exclusive 2015 NAS (48% abv)
Highland SIngle Malt
£150.00 Only available from the distillery
The Dalmore recently announced the release of a Distillery Exclusive and Dave has been fortunate to receive a sample to review. This latest bottling, The Dalmore's Master Distiller, Richard Paterson, has hand selected a collection of Port, Moscatel and Madeira casks to mature this whisky in, before finally being finished in first fill bourbon barrels.

Richard Paterson Master Distiller for The Dalmore commented: “The Dalmore Distillery Exclusive 2015 is a stunning whisky. Our artisanal approach to whisky making bestows this bottling with a bold, rich, sweet amber gold colour with aromas of caramelised orange, forest fruits and marzipan, and on the palate macerated plums, almonds and pecans.”

Only 450 bottles have been made available, each individually numbered. Priced £150 The Dalmore Distillery Exclusive 2015 is available from The Dalmore Distillery.

So What Did I Think?
This sits in the glass, a rich amber gold and colour of my favourite Amontillado Sherry. The nose is rich and sweet with a distinct orange oil note that's been softened with caramel. There are wood notes too, a new cedar wood cigar box, followed by a slightly sour note of tart fruits and just the faintest hint of parma violets

There's an underlying sourness to the sweet entry, reminding me of stewed plums. An almond/marzipan note follows and on my second sip found dark cherry and that hint of parma violets found on the nose comes across on the palate. Spices linger on the long finish.

I enjoy visiting distilleries and always look out for a 'distillery only' release which is often in the form of a single cask, 'fill you own' affair. It's a great idea and a just reward for those who make the pilgrimage to the distillery. However I find £150 a little steep for a distillery exclusive. Don't get me wrong, it's a smashing drop of whisky that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I don't feel value for money at this price - it's a great deal more expensive that their 18 Year Old and King Alexander III releases that I also enjoyed.

Slàinte! Dave

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The Telegraph Whisky Experience

Another Whisky Show, but one we haven’t been to before. At 5.30 pm we arrived at The Telegraph Whisky Experience where we were greeted with a goody bag, and by the host, drinks author Charles MacLean. He gave a talk to a crowd of mainly newcomers to whisky, explaining how to maximise their tasting experience. Discussing how you should take your time to nose a dram, sipping the spirit, and importantly enjoying it how you like – straight, mixed, in cocktails, and adding water. Charles made it clear he doesn't agree with adding ice to neat drams because it kills the aromas.

To begin the experience, Charles took us through a mini tasting – a comparison of Wemyss Malts’ latest release of The Hive and Craigellachie 13 Year Old. We decided that both were equally as good as each other, a view that most would agree on if judging by the empty glasses (which were perfectly pocket sized mini Glencairns).
The 'goodie bag' contained a miniature of The Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old

The atmosphere was alive with many discussions and questions from an enthusiastic crowd. All of the exhibitors remarked at how refreshingly it was to be able to talk to so many people at the start of their whisky journeys. Other shows usually lean more towards a larger percentage of experienced drinkers; here many tasted core ranges for the first time.

Due to the show being held over a Monday and Tuesday, the feel was less about a going-out-drinking-party vibe, really setting the tone for drinkers wanting to be educated instead of being full of alcohol. Many purchased bottles of drams they really enjoyed, The Whisky Shop stand was certainly busy, running out of stock of certain bottles due to sales were being higher than they had anticipated. 
Dave about to get his nose into something!
One thing I did notice that left me feeling a little disappointed is the crowd was still made up of older men with just a few ladies peppering the room. A clear lack of under 35s too I'm not sure if this was any different on the other day but I was expecting a more mixed crowd. 

We found ourselves revisiting many drams we had previously tasted, for example the Highland Park 18 year old, Talisker Skye and Mortlach Rare Old. There were only a handful of drams that were new discoveries. Most of the non-standard drams where being poured in the master classes which we did not attend, so can’t comment. 

The full dram list enjoyed as follows, with only two Whisky Discoveries to add to Dave's 'Liquid Log'
  • WD #1219 Wemyss Malts 'The Hive'
  • WD #1149 Craigellachie 13 Year old
  • WD #1030 Mortlach 'Old and Rare'
  • WD #395   Highland Park 21 Year Old
  • WD #1274 SMWS G7.8 'Sweet Seduction in a Car Wash'
  • WD #951   Wemyss Malts Glenrothes 1988 'Aromatic Orange Tobacco'
  • WD #1218 Wemyss Malts Bowmore 1987 'Sweet Peat Posy'
  • WD #1301 The Arran Malt Sauternes Cask Finished
  • WD #533   The Arran Malt Amarone Cask Finished
  • WD #1302 The Arran Malt Port Cask Finished
Just two new Whisky Discoveries to add to the Liquid Log this time
There were two masterclasses to choose from, one a tasting of The Macallan 1824 Series consisting of Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby with an added special dram of The Macallan Rare Cask. The second masterclass was led by Charles with a selection of drams chosen by him under the title of Charles MacLean’s Taste of Scotland.

Lastly the food at the show was the best that we have tasted out of all the shows we have been to – a two course meal was included in the ticket price. It’s a great intimate show, not too crowded giving more opportunities for people to have one-to-one chats with the brands, all set in a beautiful and historic surroundings. 

You can find more about the Telegraph Whisky Experience and their next event in December here: http://telegraphevents.co.uk/the-telegraph-whisky-experience/.

We would like to say thank you to Wemyss Malts for inviting us as their guest. You can find out more about Wemyss Malts here: http://www.wemyssmalts.com/

Slàinte! Kat

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Midlands Whisky VIII

We've been to all but the very first Midlands Whisky Show, and it's getting close to our next hop up to Stourbridge for Nickolls and Perks' eighth event held at Stourbridge Town Hall

You can read how our day went at each of the previous events here!

Each event has been getting bigger and better and we're looking forward to seeing what the line up will be this September.

Once again there is a Friday evening show, tickets are £30.00
Entrance at 6:00pm, all drams on taste free inside venue, souvenir tasting glass, show programme

The Saturday event has a number of ticket choices:
  • Standard Ticket £40:00
    entrance at 12:00pm, all drams on taste free inside venue, souvenir tasting glass, show programme 
  • Premium Ticket £75:00
    All standard features, early entrance 10.45am, free masterclass, 2 x dream dram tokens, complimentary canapés 
  • Devotee Ticket £150:00
    All standard features, all premium features, selection of dream drams to take home, £10 food voucher
Tickets are now on sale for their September Show now - so don't delay, get yours now by clicking through the links below: