Irish Distillers Whiskeys

These whiskies are made by Irish Distillers, at the New Midleton Distillery, in County Cork, Ireland. They’re the largest distiller of Irish whiskey, and also responsible for Jameson whiskeys.

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Midleton Very Rare. Combines both pot still and grain whiskeys, no age statement, but the individual contents are generally at least 12 years old, with some much more than that. Aged in ex-bourbon American Oak barrels. So – what is it like? Well, if enjoy Irish whiskey because you like Jameson then you’re in for a surprise – most Irish whiskeys are nothing like it! Midleton Very Rare was the lightest of what I tasted today. I didn’t enjoy it at first, yet enjoyed it a lot more when I circled back to it at the end of the tasting.

Green Spot. Brighter note on the nose. Very different from the 1st, better.
not bad. 7 to 10 year old, non chill filtered. Crisp apple or pear notes. Notes of vanilla, honey. Bourbon casks. Creamy mouth feel. Circling back to it, it was still not a favorite. But that’s Ok – people used to Irish whiskeys might find this more favorable.

Redbreast aged 12 years. Nose is bitter compared to bourbons. Single pot still whiskey. First fill Bourbon, then Sherry casks – which brings up a question, what exactly constitutes a sherry cask? There was a discussion about this with the people that I was tasting with – and apparently, nowadays there are no binding guidelines for what a sherry cask is. That’s going to be the subject of another discussion. Sherry aged for a minimum of 2 years. Has Autumn notes.

Redbreast Lustau. Made to pay homage to the sherry industry. Dryer. Start in 2nd fill casks. Less influence from the casks initial spirit. More tannic, spice notes. Then Oloroso sherry casks for another year of aging. Non aged statement. 10 to 13 years old total. 92 proof. The Irish call this Christmas cake spice flavor 🙂 that’s an Irish term. Dry at first, but it seemed to sweeten up greatly when I circled back around. Amazing how increasing levels of alcohol in the blood can change one’s perception.

Powers John’s Lane Release.
Big, bold, non chill filtered. I don’t like the nose, smells like rubbing alcohol. Flavors are baking spice, honey notes. More of a malted barley flavor. Circling around, I still don’t enjoy this one.

Although they are perhaps more common, I prefer the Jameson Irish whiskeys.

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Some background

The word “whiskey” is an Anglicisation of the first word in the Gaelic phrase, uisce betha, meaning “water of life.” This is a translation of the Latin term aqua vitae, which was commonly used to describe distilled spirits during the Middle Ages. Peat is rarely used in the malting process, so that Irish whiskey has a smoother finish as opposed to the smoky, earthy overtones common to some Scotches. There are notable exceptions to these rules in both countries. Although traditionally spelled with an ‘e’, Irish whiskey may be marketed as “Irish whisky”

There are legal standards that must be met for something to be sold as Irish Whiskey. It must be distilled on the island of Ireland from a mash of malted cereals , and which has been: saccharified by the diastase of malt contained therein; fermented by the action of yeast; distilled at less than 94.8% abv; aged for at least three years in wooden casks, such as oak; only water and plain caramel colouring may be added (E150a); have a minimum alcoholic by volume content of 40%, all done on the island of Ireland itself.

– adapted from Wikipedia, “Irish Whiskey”

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