Price: AU$58, US$20-30
With St Patrick’s Day approaching Malt Mileage continues its Irish whiskey tasting journey with Powers Gold Label Irish whiskey. As noted last time in the review of Green Spot, there are three things that make most Irish whiskey distinctly Irish; three things that some might say constitute the Holy Trinity of Irish whiskey (to keep with the St Patrick’s Day theme). First, it tends to be distilled three times (as opposed to twice, as most Scotch whisky). Second, it tends to be made from malted and unmalted barley (as opposed to being made purely from malted barley, as most Scotch whisky). Third, the Irish spell whiskey with an “e” whereas the Scots spell whisky without the e.
Powers Gold Label is a an Irish whiskey that has been distilled three times and made from a blend of pot still and grain whiskies. It is not quite the pinnacle of Irish whiskey on paper, but it is probably not meant to be given its very reasonable price.
Rough, raw and rugged, honey and mild vanillas underlie ground pepper, cardamom and lashes of ethanol. The ethanol pierces through the thin layer of American oak, stringing the nose but at the same time caressing it with sappy sweetness not dissimilar to alcohol based aloe hand sanitizer.
A kick of spice awakens the palate and as the spices begin to fade shades of honey emerge and bursts of ethanol crackle on the palate like popping candy, releasing a sharp vodka-like flavour alongside some sweetness. The pot still character is in the distance, and it intensifies towards the finish with beaming cereals.
The finish offers the fading spice and the flavour of Irish pot still, which grapples with nagging notes of ethanol. It is cereal rich, with hints of honeyed sweetness and hard green tea candy.
Consider it. This is a good quality whisky for the price, and though it seemed to have flickers of immaturity there was enough flavour from the pot still whiskey and the American oak to keep a smile on my face. While I am not particularly tempted to go back for more of this whiskey, it is quite hard to find a whiskey of this quality at its price point – sans of course Jameson, Glenlivet 12 year old and Glen Grant 10 year old.