St. Patrick’s Day 2021. A very different sort of celebration this year. Usually one filled with lots of merriment and company. This year, not so much. But there is light on the horizon. This time last year, I received the instruction to return home from the office whilst we prepared ourselves for the first wave of the pandemic. I sat and savoured a Writers’ Tears Copper Pot that night and enjoyed it for what it was, whilst being somewhat melancholic about the unknown future ahead but hoping that the luck of the Irish in that dram would spur me on and the warmth it gave me did just that. A moment to appreciate what I had. One rather large year on, and, following a great Tweet Tasting night with Walsh Whiskey, I have a tot of whiskey left as I turn to the Writers’ Tears again. The whiskey before me is the Writers’ Tears Red Head.
The Red Head sits in the single malt Irish whiskey camp from the team at Walsh. There’s no indication as to age of the whiskey but it has been “matured in handpicked Spanish sherry butts, which have previously been seasoned with Oloroso sherry”. The name is a playful nod to the reddish hue that the Sherry casks impart on the distillery’s malt. The whiskey is available for around £55 RRP and is bottled without chill-filtering at 46% ABV.
A light and vibrant nose offering up a classic apple and cut-grass/hay combo. The orchard fruit smells are joined by dried fruits too: dried apple pieces, dried banana pieces, and dried papaya pieces. The fruits are joined by a chocolate and caramel sweetness and a final light and floral note like honeysuckle.
The sweetness and the fruity flavours really continue and bring about the idea of tinned fruits in their syrup and juices. Now I’m getting the sherry influences though – big time! The lighter notes from the nose have been replaced by bolder tastes and flavours like raisins, dates, leather, cinnamon, nutmeg and a delicious almond / hazelnut flavour.
The cinnamon and nutmeg spices heat up slightly and there’s a slight astringency to the finish, and the lasting flavour on my breath actually brings it full circle as I can taste malted barley.
A really nice single malt that has finally stamped in my mind that single malts don’t have to be scotch. There’s still something inherently Irish about it – and I’m loathe to say that it’s a smoothness to the finish – but it’s a welcome variation on a theme and I can see how it sits comfortably within the Writers’ Tears core range offering from Walsh Whiskey.
I’ve enjoyed the Copper Pot for a few years now and this is an enjoyable addition. I like to think that this actually represents the single malt element of the Copper Pot, and would love to try the Pot Still elements on their own. Maybe even as a cheeky blending kit to see if I could get close to the Copper Pot itself.
On the price point, it’s coming in at the high end for a malt of this style, but without age statements to back it up you have to go by credentials and it is coming with story and character. For me, the set of Writers’ Tears are really aesthetically pleasing too when aligned.
Anyway, I digress. To summarise though, I’ll pick out my own words that I thankfully have not had to cry over: a delicious single malt with something inherently Irish about it. If I did shed tears with malt in hand then they would be happy tears as we look to move away from tiers.
Sample disclosure: This sample was received as part of a promotional Tweet Tasting with Walsh Whiskey, courtesy of the good work by Steve Rush @TheWhiskyWire. The evening tasted two samples of their Writer’s Tears range and The Irishman range. The package included some miscellaneous branded goodies and I’m really grateful for the additional fayre that came alongside some delicious whiskies. All notes here however are intended as an honest, fair and independent review of the whiskey itself and not as a promotion. Please drink responsibly. Please drink wisely.