This blend of single malt and pot still whiskeys exhibits the incredible synergy between chocolate, cinnamon, and pot still spices. Vinous at times from partial cognac-cask maturation, this has aromas of dark berry fruit, cinnamon, fudge, milk chocolate, malt biscuits, jellied fruit, and a smudge of dry spices. Compelling, well-structured whiskey, with cinnamon, chocolate, dark toffee, pepper, and ginger. It’s never cloying, nor overly sweet, just a richly rewarding glass.
Good complexity here, with malt, toffee, clementine peel, creamy vanilla, flapjacks, peppercorn, and brown sugar sprinkled over baked apple and pear tarts. Beautiful flavors of sugared nuts, orange fondant cream, then wave after wave of intense spices. It’s wonderful neat, adding lush caramel, marmalade, and nutty flavors toward the end. This is twice as scarce as last year, so get your skates on. (2,580 bottles)
A stunning effort, with honey, sunflower seeds, zested orange, toasted flapjacks, nectarine, kiwi, and lime, with the citrus opening up with water. Superb to see a delicious, drinkable cask-strength whiskey showing off its flavors this well: honey, citrus, sweet toffee, vanilla pod, and a spice blast of pepper before a soft, flowing fruitiness is enveloped by ground ginger. Clove, peppercorn, and fresh ginger make for an epic finish. (5,175 bottles)
Well, the name's spot on because at that price it definitely brought tears to this writer's eyes. What a shame, because the liquid is eye-watering, too, a stunning big bruiser of a whiskey that coats the mouth as berry and green fruits battle it out with oak, spice, and grain oils — the whiskey equivalent to one of singer Sinead O'Connor's rants — powerful, impressive, a little bitter and twisted, utterly unforgettable, and unmistakably Irish. €135
Walsh Whiskey has rarely released better whiskeys than those of 2019, which included two expressions made in collaboration with the Legaret family of Deau Cognac. Here, they apply bourbon and French oak cognac barrels to the unique marriage of single pot still and single malt Irish whiskeys, arguably the most premium interpretation of the Irish blend. Aromas of dark berry fruit, cinnamon, fudge, milk chocolate, graham crackers, jellied fruit, and a smudge of dry spices. Compelling, well-structured whiskey with cinnamon, chocolate, dark toffee, pepper, and ginger; never cloying, nor overly sweet, just a richly rewarding glass. Number 10 in the 2019 Top 20
Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Deau XO Cognac Cask Finish, 46%
Irish Blended Whiskey | $60
Toffee apple, nutmeg, sanded oak, and plenty of feisty spices behind the nose. The flavor is more refined with greater complexity; not overly sweet or fruity, but a smooth-as-satin mouthfeel with shades of pear, caramel covered in white chocolate, nuts, pleasant pot still spiciness, rich toffee, cocoa, and red chili. The cognac cask influence is gentle and works well, and it concludes with a hazelnut butter finish.
Like the Writers Tears reviewed in this issue, this is from an independent company linked to renowned whiskey maker Bernard Walsh. It is described as of a style popular in James Joyce's Dublin (hence the name). Grain whiskey was a no-no at that time, so this uses no grain and is a mix of malt and pot still whiskeys. For its price and strength it is amazing — a big-hearted and full-flavored whiskey with an oily, apple-y pot still heart and cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper spices. €38
Blends of single pot still and single malt Irish whiskey without grain deserve their own category, but there’s no use crying about it. Roasted spices, Quaker Oats, light honey, and fresh apricot; a little reserved and demure. Golden honey sweetness, light citrus, green apple, peach pit, dried apricot, cereal notes, creamy vanilla, and a firm strand of pot still spiciness. Dry spice heat, citrus peel, and a dark vanilla aftertaste.