St Patrick’s Day 2017 – Five Irish Whiskeys to consider pouring.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  In celebration of the holiday, the boys decided to gather for a group photo.  I only have 14 Irish Whiskeys stocked at the moment, but they do have to share space on the shelves.

Here are five Irish Whiskeys that would make a wonderful choice for this evening.  These are not listed in any particular order, only as I post them.  I think each offer something unique or special; and which you choose should fit your mood and personal preferences.  There are so many fantastic Irish Whiskeys out there that this is not an easy choice for me to post up.  But here are some that may or may not have been seen in other Saint Patrick’s Day recommendations online.

NUMBER ONE – Redbreast 12

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Redbreast 12 is a single pot still Irish Whisky triple distilled and aged 12 years in sherry casks, making it a smooth, light, but still very flavorful pour.  Its name comes from the little red breasted birds which choose to keep Ireland their home all year long, unlike other birds.  Their song keeps the cold days alive and the people of Ireland company.  They are a wonderful namesake for this absolutely wonderful whiskey.  Redbreast line of whiskeys are a Jameson product.

ABV: 40%dsc_2680-2

AGE: 12 Years

SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass

COLOR:  Yellow Gold

NOSE: Green apples and citrus lead the way, followed by vanilla and a touch of honey.  Light floral notes come in and bring with them some almonds, and a pinch of spice and pepper.  Grains whisper through the nose tying the notes together.

PALATE: Very smooth.  Citrus, green apples, and grains blend with vanilla and honey, and a touch of brown sugar.  This is followed by nuts and pleasant spices and pepper, and then a pinch of oak and then burned caramel.

FINISH:  Long and more heat than you would expect from an 80 Proof whiskey.  The heat lingers and keeps the sweet brown sugar and vanilla finish company.  It leaves nothing to dislike, and the warmth allows you to nose more without needing to immediately jump into another sip; but you will most certainly want to.

OVERVIEW: Redbreast 12 is truly a pleasure to pour.  Well worth its price, it is a pour that you may want to keep all to yourself, but you will also want to share it with your closest friends.  What a wonderful tug of war to be in, and you don’t lose either way.  It is a very easy pour, but gives you everything that makes Irish Pot Still Whiskey the golden wonder that it is.  If it fits your budget, GET SOME.  If it is a bit over your daily pour budget, you may consider getting some anyways, but certainly keep your eyes open for when you can get it on sale; and THEN get some.  Enjoy.

PRICE: $70

ADDED: With oxidation the heat experienced with a fresh bottle went away.  There is a mild heat that stays in your upper throat, but does not warm the belly.  This is still a wonderful pour though. It is just mild.
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NUMBER TWO – Power’s Signature Release

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Powers Signature Release Irish Whiskey is a single pot still Irish Whiskey, and some think it is better then Powers John’s Lane (which costs $20-$30 more).  It is aged in bourbon and sherry casks, as well as uses malted and unmalted barley; giving a range of flavors that appeal to those who like a truly flavorful pour.  It is often compared to Redbreast 12 (though I would present that it is actually a more complex pour than RB12), so that should tell you something.

You can read more about this whisky on its maker’s site: powerswhiskey.com.

ABV: 46%dsc_2403-2

AGE: No age statement on bottle.

SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass

COLOR:  Gold

NOSE: Crisp green apples mix with sweet vanilla, honey and ripe pears and a touch of melons jump in, and there is pepper and spices to round it all out.  There is even a very slight floral note peeking in now and again.

PALATE: Vanilla, honey, and toffee lead the way into green apples and orchard fruits, berries, and then a burst of spice followed by just a hint of oak and a tease of coffee.

FINISH:  Long finish, with good warmth.  Honey and toffee are followed by orchard fruits and then a mix of spice and coffee with a whisper of oak.

OVERVIEW: This is one great pour.  The fact that it is often put up against whiskies up to $30 more tells you what you need to know.  Want the great pour but not the expense?  Get some Powers Signature Release.  This is a whiskey that speaks louder than its price and that I would be proud to serve at any time, to anyone. If you like Redbreast 12, but want an even more complex pour with a bit more bite and spice, this is your whiskey.   It truly is a wonderful Irish Whiskey to say the least.  Go get some!

PRICE: $40-$50
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NUMBER THREE – The Dubliner

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The Dubliner Irish Whiskey, aged in bourbon casks, should not be confused with the honey liqueur of the same base name.  This whiskey is a new one to the market, being released in June of 2015.  Time will tell if it stands up to the competition, but so far it seems to be doing just fine.  The bourbon casks are chosen to give this whiskey classic Irish characteristics, but with a punch of honey and oak.

You can find out more about The Dubliner Irish Whiskey at their website: www.dublinerwhiskey.com.

ABV: 40%dsc_3024-2

AGE: NAS

SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass

COLOR: Very light gold.

NOSE:  Young grain, touch of malt, floral, green apples, touch of honey, and a whisper of spice.

PALATE: Very smooth, and almost creamy. Honey, fresh vanilla, and malt lead the way.  Some bright fruits try to work their way in, but before they really come forward you are met with mild spices and a kiss of pepper, a bit of smoke, and a sliver of oak.

FINISH: Short to medium finish, with nice warmth (though as usual, a bit higher proof would be nice), but the heat fades a bit too quickly.  Honey sweet, with a kiss of oak leaves you wanting another sip.

OVERVIEW: This is a very easy drinking whiskey.  It is mild and pleasant.  The spices at the end help balance the sweet burst you first get, but I wish they were more prominent.  Without it, I would say this would be too sweet for me. But with it, I would say it is a pleasant daily pour for when you don’t want anything too complex or masculine.  This would also be a great whiskey to offer someone who may be a bit timid about trying whiskey.  And at its price point I definitely know worse whiskies out there.

It is worth its price, as long as you realize what you are getting, and it is what you want.  And if you can get it on sale, all the better.  I would classify this as a dessert whiskey.  If you enjoy eating chocolate while drinking whiskey (like I do) though, you may want to not go too dark with this one. The chocolate will definitely overpower it.

Yes, this is a very sweet whiskey, honey, honey, honey.  The more I drink it, the more I wish it had more spice to better balance the sweet.  But still, it is an enjoyable pour.  If you like honey, but don’t really care for a honey liqueur, you will want to pick up a bottle of this whiskey.

PRICE: $25

ADDED: With oxidation this whiskey remains very good.  And I have to say that the more I drink it (over time) the more I like it.  When I want a sweet honey whiskey, this is the one I pour.  It has earned its spot in my stocked whiskey selection.
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NUMBER FOUR – The Lord Lieutenant Kinahan’s

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The Lord Lieutenant Kinahan’s Blended Irish Whiskey is a fantastic pour deserving of its name.  As with most blends, they are able to create a flavor palate that brings to the table all the things the Master Distiller wants, and eliminates or covers the things they do not.  This makes for a more controlled and consistent pour of a quality that can be absolutely wonderful.  In my house, this whiskey is simply referred to as Double-L.

As taken from Kinahan’s site:
“Kinahan’s whiskey was founded by Daniel Kinahan in 1779. Generations of the Kinahan family ensured it became renowned for its unique taste and character. In 1807, Charles Lennox, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, was so impressed with this whiskey that he ordered all barrels at the Kinahan family cellars be kept exclusively for his private use, marking each cask with “L.L.” This mark still adorns each and every bottle.”

You can read more about Kinahan’s by visiting their website: kinahanswhiskey.com.

ABV: 46%dsc_9055-2

AGE: 6-10 years

SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass

COLOR: Bright Gold.

NOSE: Honey and light vanilla mixes with crisp apples and pears.  Hiding in the background I find some bitter chocolate and some almond oil.  And there is a malty base that steadies the brighter aspects.  Corn flakes also comes forward to say hello. Truly a wonderful nose when you take the time to enjoy it.

PALATE: Very smooth, slightly oily. Toffee, vanilla, and honey mix to form the base for crisp orchard fruits, almonds and a touch of bitter chocolate, and a sliver of oak with a touch of spice to finish it off.

FINISH: Medium finish.  Smooth and warm, with lingering mild heat.  Malted grains touched with vanilla, and a lingering mild oak, and maybe a bit citrus.

OVERVIEW: This whiskey is one I normally keep stocked as long as I can get it.  There is no doubt why this was so loved by The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  And at its price, it is truly a “must buy” for those who love Irish Whiskey.  It has everything you want in an Irish, and nothing you don’t.  It is approachable for even the timid, yet complex enough to please the experienced whiskey snob.  It is a pour that I truly enjoy from every aspect of the experience.  Go get some!

PRICE: $40
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NUMBER FIVE – Teeling Single Grain

dsc_1848-2aTeeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey is a no chill filter single grain whiskey aged in California red wine barrels.  It is yet another wonderful offering from Teeling.  Find out more about Teeling on their website, teelingwhiskey.com.

ABV: 46%dsc_1150-2

AGE: 5 years

SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass

COLOR: Light Amber. The whiskey coats the class rather thick and forms medium legs, and even after they have joined the rest of the whiskey there is still a large beaded coating on the glass.

NOSE: Grains and alcohol with toffee, vanilla, a bit saltiness, a touch of honey, and a bit of spice.

PALATE: Sweet. Wow, that is almost too sweet. Frosting, salted butterscotch, and vanilla. But then a bit of nuttiness, malt, and spices follow up to balance the taste. This is very smooth, and in the mouth a bit oily. The grain alcohol dances through it though, letting you know it isn’t an 80 proof whiskey (it is 92).

FINISH: The finish is warm and medium in length. Malt and candy sweets linger with just a touch of oak at the end.

OVERALL: I like this one. I thought it might be too sweet at first, but it quickly balanced out nicely. It isn’t one dimensional and has enough notes to keep your attention without forcing you to concentrate on it. It is a wonderful sipping whiskey.

PRICE: $40-$50

ADDED: As the pour opens up, I get a buttery note on the nose as well as pallet. There is a fresh baked sweet muffin quality coming out as well. And there is also some fruits starting to introduce themselves; ripe apples and raisins.
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Again, there are so many fantastic Irish Whiskeys out there that suggesting only five is not an easy thing.  I have read many other magazines/blogs/reviewer’s suggestions for their top 5 for the evening, and my recommendations do not match bottle for bottle (on purpose), so I suggest  seeing what others are recommending as well.  The ones here are within a reasonable budget, and at least one or two should be available in most everyone’s market.  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, and drink responsibly!  Cheers!

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