Recommended use: Serve neat, with ice, dash of water, mixed
Malt Mileage Rating: ★★★★
Type: Irish single malt whiskey
Price: AU$70 / US$60 / £35
1. The whiskey
Clontarf Irish whiskey is owned by Castle Brands. Clontarf whiskey is distilled at an unspecified distillery in Ireland. Irish barley is malted, dried and then made into a wort. This wort is then fermented into a wash and that wash is distilled three times using a traditional copper pot still. Interestingly, and somewhat unusually for whiskey, the resulting new make spirit is filtered through Atlantic Charcoal. This spirit is aged in ex-bourbon oak casks for four years. After this, whiskey is drawn from the casks, vatted and then bottled.
2. Tasting notes
The nose is malty with mild vanilla, and layers of honey and cereal accompany an assortment of stone fruit (plum and apricot in particular) and tropical fruit confectionery (banana lollies). On the palate the whiskey is smooth with a nice, but slightly thin, mouth-feel. There is banana smoothie, peach and plenty of malt and cereal notes laced with honey and vanilla. On the finish the whiskey sweetens initially, offering more golden honey which fades to the taste of malt and soft oak spice. Very smooth, light and mellow.
Clontarf single malt Irish whiskey is a fresh, mellow, young, malty and fruity whiskey with plenty of vanilla, honey and the soft kiss of oak spice.
What is particularly interesting about Clontarf single malt is the fact that, once it is distilled, it is filtered through charcoal. This practice is generally used when making vodka. This is because, by filtering the spirit through charcoal, the spirit is cleansed and stripped of impurities as well as other flavour compounds thus becoming more concentrated with pure ethanol. While Clontarf single malt is very easy on the palate, it has still retained some of the fruity character of the distillate. The ethanol does not leap out, but remains blanketed under the clean fruity congeners, vanillas, honey and the mild oak spice.
This whiskey is well worth a try for those who enjoy young, mellow and clean fruity malts with lots of vanilla, honey and only a gentle touch of oak spice.