Clontarf Classic Blend Irish Whiskey (also known as Black Label) is a triple distilled whiskey aged in bourbon barrels and then blended. It is smooth and has enough character to make it a wonderful budget whiskey choice. Its “1014” date is in honor of an historic Irish battle against the Vikings in the town of Clondarf, its namesake. You can read more about this whiskey and its history on their website, clontarf1014.com.
AGE: 4 years in charred oak bourbon casks
SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass
Swirling in the glass it coats nicely but forms thin legs quickly, and then beads up.
NOSE: The nose is young with grain alcohol, but not overpowering. A hint of toffee is followed up by ripe apples, citrus, and a pinch of spice. I am also getting some green grass, a bit of dust, and just a sliver of oak.
The nose reminds me a lot of The Irishman but with much more complexity.
PALATE: Smooth and very light. Sweetness leads the way with toffee and a mild vanilla, with a bit of banana. But it is not heavy, and the sweetness stays on the tip of the tongue while the mid tongue turns to citrus, over-ripe fruits, and a pinch of white pepper. And at the back of the mouth it becomes more spicy, a touch of oak, and some cut grass. I normally do not care for grass, but this is not unpleasant and really works with the other notes.
FINISH: it is short and fades away to just a hint of oak and slight sweetness, and then a bit bitter. I also don’t favor bitter, but like with the grass, this seems to work well.
OVERVIEW: For the price this is a very acceptable pour. I would like for it to be higher proof, but it is what it is; a smooth and easy pour. It does not ask a lot, but gives you more than you might expect for an entry level Irish. It has enough complexity to make it more than a one note song, but is still mild as many Irish whiskeys are. I look forward to seeing how this progresses with oxidation (both in the pours themselves, and with time in general). It is a good buy if you enjoy Irish Whiskey but don’t have much of a budget at that time.
By all means, pick some up; and enjoy.
PRICE: Around $20