When you think of Irish whiskey, there are a few tried and tested names that come to mind: your Jameson’s, Tullamore DEW, Paddy, Redbreast etc. In recent years, I would say that Writers’ Tears has made its way onto that list too. The name alone stands out from the crowd and, thanks to sales in Marks and Spencer’s in the UK, has become more prevalent on these shores. At least, that is where I’ve bought my bottles from and is my experience of it anyway.
The “Copper Pot” expression is the flagship exponent of the Writers’ Tears brand by Walsh Whiskey – the team behind the even more patriotically entitled The Irishman brand of whiskies. Across both brands, the Walsh family whiskeymakers have attempted to recreate whiskey recipes from the 19th Century – considered to be the peak of Irish poetry and literature. The name of the brand itself is testament to that heritage and a poetic nod to some of the revered Irish writers’ infamous woes and laments – though the less said about their reliance on such whiskies the better. As such, the whiskey has an unusual makeup compared to today’s more readily available Irish tipples as it is a blend of single pot still whiskey and single malt whiskey only – there is no grain whiskey padding this out. The Copper Pot also has a sister release Red Head, but the Copper Pot is bottled at the lower percentage of the two siblings at 40% ABV.
Well, it might just be the power of suggestion here but the first smell I get from this is actually copper. Then a fresh scent of green apples, and cut grass/hay. Then, despite the lack of grain spirit, the more familiar Irish whiskey flavours of honey, cream, banana, and custard. There’s also a nice sweet malty/grist-like smell to it to with a decent little nose tingle from the alcohol.
It’s all oak flavours up front and then the soft cream and vanilla flavours slide back in. There’s a good bit of malt too – that sweet grist is amplified once the alcohol takes hold. A little juicy apple and raisin zing about in the palate with maybe a touch of brown sugar too. Altogether they remind me of the flavours of one of those oatty snack bars or even an apple crumble.
Good length and sweetness play out on the finale with the oak flavours returning again to the fore with some oak spice acting as punctuation.
Dry your eyes mate, this is a lovely little whiskey! What I particularly like about this is that the dram has all the hallmarks of an Irish whiskey but also sets about to challenge your taste buds a little and give you more to think about. There’s a delicious underlying oaky taste and spice that holds it all together whilst letting those sweeter and fruitier flavours do the leg work. I also like the story behind it: the recreation of whiskey recipes from a time that’s past which allows you to try something that others would have tasted. There’s something quite poetic about that in its own right, without having to buy into the story of the writers themselves (think George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce etc.). With all that poetic and artistic licence around the branding of this whiskey, and after a decent helping of it as a night cap, I’ve coined my own one-liner to describe this: It’s Happily A Case Of Writers’ Tears Before Bedtime.
Sample disclosure: The sample pictured above was originally received as part of a Tweet Tasting event, however all notes are intended as an honest, fair and independent review of the whiskey itself and not as a promotion.
PS: I had every intention of posting this review on St. Patrick’s Day whilst drinking it, but with the crazy state of the world right now, I just sat back and enjoyed it for what it is. For me, it helped, and maybe we should all try and savour these things, appreciate what we have, and take a mindful moment here and there whilst all of this pans out. Stay safe. WU.