The Pogues Irish Whiskey
Released by West Cork Distillers, The Pogues Irish Whiskey is a blended whiskey that has been matured in oak barrels for just three years and one day (i.e. exactly as long as needed to technically call it “whiskey”). The packaging notes that the whiskey is “bottled by West Cork Distillers”, but being a blend and without a statement to the effect, there is no apparent information as to whether or not it is crafted and distilled there too – but you’d hope so! The blend is reportedly a 50:50 split of grain and malt Irish whiskies and was crafted by two entrants in the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame: Irish master blender Barry Walsh and longtime Springbank maestro Frank McHardy. The packaging and bottle is branded with The Pogues lyric “I am going where streams of whiskey are flowing”, so with that, let’s pour some and get it flowing…
M: So many woody smells in there and a sweet lingering something. It’s kinda oaky, kinda piney, kinda something else. Whatever it is, it stands out.
M: A bit harsh upfront with the booze but the woody flavours fade away to some vanilla sweetness. Slightly orangey towards the end.
M: A decent coating of the throat but the flavours do not really hang around. It’s a chest warming boozy delivery but thankfully, without burning a hole though it.
A totally woody nose (which is surprising given its young, young age), which makes way for sweet vanilla, chewy malts and gentle fruit. The classic Irish whiskey ‘mouthfeel’ is there (just) with a little fruit and spice along the way. A touch of water helped to tame the harsher delivery, and whilst it didn’t reveal any other flavours, it did bring out the vanilla sweetness a bit more. It’s an enjoyable sipping whiskey. I’ve grown up with The Pogues’ music accompanying many a boozy evening and was hoping that they wouldn’t put their name to something terrible… and they haven’t. It didn’t blow my mind or anything like that but it wasn’t unpleasant in any way either, but that’s just personal opinion. The fact that it has some slick branding behind it and the backing of an Irish musical and cultural institution will undoubtedly shift the units and I’d be surprised if there were not further releases or variants of this made in the future, following its initial decent sales and positive reviews. At the price point for a good Irish whiskey, it would certainly make for a good gift too… particularly for when the bells are ringing out…
Redbreast 12 Years Old
Crafted at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Redbreast is recognised worldwide as the flag bearer of Irish pot still whiskey. The 12 years old expression is the brand’s staple release and the distinctive squat green bottle with its red and gold packaging can be seen adorning the shelves of any well stocked pub, bar or hotel (assuming that their stockist has looked beyond just your usual Jameson’s or Bushmills for their Irish whiskey source). The spirit is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, before being triple distilled in copper pot stills and then being primarily matured in sherry casks for its designated 12+ years. The whiskey is available in regular bottling (40% ABV) and periodical cask strength versions (57-59% ABV) and has won numerous titles and medals throughout the years. Here, we happily take on the regular release (40% ABV).
A soft but rich nose with lots of fruity flavours, like currants and oranges and a little spiciness.
Really quite sweet flavours. The dried fruits from the initial nose are complemented with fresh, sweet caramel and vanilla flavours.
Soooo smooth. The fruit flavours leave for a melted vanilla ice cream coating on the threat – like a boozy cola float.
When people say, “I like such-and-such a whisky, because it is nice and smooth” then this will blow their minds and reset the bar for what “smooth” really means. That’s what it did for me, anyway. I knew that Irish whiskey was more renowned for its triple distillation and “creamy mouthfeel” but this is just something else. And that’s not taking into account the nice sherried fruit flavours and velvety sweetness. Definitely one to be savoured at the end of the evening, regardless of the season or occasion, and one that can easily be appreciated by whiskey drinkers old and new.
Whiskey and Celebrations
Categories: Redbreast, Tasting Notes
Tags: 12 Years Old, County Cork, Ireland, Irish, Irish Whiskey, Midleton, Midleton Distillery, Pot Still, Pot Still Whiskey, Redbreast, Sherry, Single Pot Still, Triple Distilled, Whiskey