Hyde No. 6 (Cask Strength)

Type: Single malt whiskey

Origin: Ireland 🇨🇮

ABV: N/A (Cask strength)

Malt Mileage rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Hyde No. 4 Rum Finish

Type: Single malt whiskey

Origin: Ireland 🇨🇮

ABV: 46%

Malt Mileage rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Bushmills 21 year old

Type: Single malt whiskey

Origin: Ireland 

ABV: 40% 

Malt Mileage rating: stars 4.5

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Tullamore Dew 12 year old Special Reserve

Type: Blended whiskey 

Origin: Ireland 

ABV: 40% 

Malt Mileage rating: stars 4

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Clontarf 1014 single malt Irish whiskey

Clontarf single malt

Recommended use: Serve neat, with ice, dash of water, mixed

Malt Mileage Rating: ★★★★

Type: Irish single malt whiskey 

Origin: Ireland

ABV: 40%

Price: AU$70 / US$60 / £35

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Green Spot Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Green-Spot

Rating: ★★★★

Type: Whiskey

Origin: Ireland

ABV: 40%

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With St Patrick’s Day fast approaching it seems fitting to embark on an Irish whiskey tasting journey until the big day. In 2015 St Patrick’s Day falls on 17 March 2015, and that day is dedicated to a Catholic saint who famously explained the confusing concept of the Holy Trinity using a three leaf clover (the shamrock) in Ireland. The Holy Trinity, in Catholic teaching, is the idea that God is in three persons or beings – the Father, the holy spirit and the son (Jesus). As over a decade of Catholic education has made clear, this concept is far from simple so to ease the cognitive pressure let us skip the dogma and move onto another divine creation – Irish whiskey!

There are three things that make most Irish whiskey distinctly Irish. 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. Now that, my whisk(e)y brethren, is the Holy Trinity of Irish whiskey.  

On this lead up to St Patrick’s Day 2015 the first Irish whiskey to be tasted by Malt Mileage is Green Spot. Green spot is a pot still whiskey that has been distilled three times,  is made from malted and unmalted barley and the word whiskey on the bottle is spelt with an “e”! It even has the word “green” in the name, which, though probably a reference to the use of unmalted barley, is nonetheless a tribute to the Emerald Isle. You cannot get any more Irish than that, unless of course the bottle comes with a beard redder than mine.

Green spot is matured in American bourbon and sherry barrels. 

Nose:

The aroma of bubblegum, green apple soft candy, peach, apricot and whipped cream is first noticeable, followed by honey, cereal and barley, crushed nuts, pecan, vanillas, dew, green strawberries, burnt chocolate brownie, caramel, treated wood and nutty Flaxseed.

Taste

On the palate this whiskey is full bodied and spicy, the wood takes hold and is counterbalanced by the sweetness of green pear, nectarine and mango. The fruit is sharp yet sugary and sticky. Honey and caramels then emerge, as the spices tingle on the palate.

Finish:

The spice remains on the palate with the wood, accompanied by pear and apple core.

Bottom line:       

Buy it. Green Spot is a superbly crafted Irish whiskey that I would have no hesitation buying at its price. It is a full flavoured spicy whiskey with lots of Irish charm.  

Teeling 21 Year Old Silver Reserve Saturenne Finish

Teeling 21 yo

Rating: ★★★★

Origin: Ireland

Type: Single malt

ABV: 46%

Price: £123.95

Once upon a time Ireland was the world’s leading producer of whiskey (which the Irish spell with an “e”). Then hard times hit. England closed its doors to Irish whiskey after the Irish won their independence in the Irish War of Independence which lasted from 1919 to 1921. The United States era of Prohibition from 1920 to 1933 meant that even Americans could no longer legally buy Irish whiskey, and so within the space of about a decade Irish whiskey lost its two most important export markets. The Scots were also nipping at the heels of many Irish distilleries by making whisky that many around the globe found quite palatable – the more approachable blended whisky, made from softer grain whisky using the Coffey still. This still allowed a whisky maker to produce lots of whisky very quickly, but it was an invention shunned by the Irish who preferred to stick with pot stills to make whisky. Brands such as Johnnie Walker soon dominated the globe, and soon after Prohibition ended and the Americans were allowed to drink again (assuming, of course, the law abiding masses abstained to begin with!) Scotland was the world’s leading source of whisky that could meet the demand of the newly awakened American market. That whisky even became known as “Scotch”. Even James Bond developed a fondness for it, and Irish whiskey was very much in the shadows of Scotch. Until now. Brands of Irish whiskey such as Jamesons and Bushmills have however gained considerable global market share in what appears to be a rebirth of Irish whiskey appreciation, and this whiskey renaissance also brings to light of some the lesser known distilleries that ply their trade on the Emerald Isle. Once such distillery is Teeling.

Teeling produce a number of expressions, but in this post Malt Mileage reviews the Teeling 21 year old. This particular whiskey was matured in bourbon barrels and then finished in Saturenne barrels for 12 months.

On the nose mild perfumed soap combines with apricot jam, butter menthol cough drops, caramel, honey, oregano and rosemary herb bread, anise seed and sweet ethanol often found in a cleanly distilled white rum. There is an underlying woodiness about this whisky, which sits beneath the sugars and occasionally prickles the nostrils with the smell of newly varnished furniture and the whiff of warm leather infused with incense, as lemon scented soap and floral notes develop with intensifying buttery notes and candied peaches. On the palate this whiskey is initially sweet and fruity as it rests on the tongue, releasing toffee apple and cooked apricot as it swirls around the palate. The wood then snaps at the taste buds as the whisky is swallowed, and the sugars are suddenly lost to a wave of drying wood and bitter floral notes – similar to potpourri – and green olives with lemon and shades of honey. The finish offers lingering hints of honey with yellow peach and notes of brine with olive pips and dried petals.

Overall, Teeling 21 year old is an elegant Irish whiskey that offers undertones of sweetness that do their best to reign in the woody twang that rages at mid-palate but it turns out that the oak is simply too big and bold to be tamed – strangely, that is precisely what seems to make this whiskey work so well. Teeling 21 year old is an interesting whiskey that I found enjoyable, but it did not leave me yearning for more. Be warned, there was a distinctive woody/bitter floral note that some may find odd and others may either love, hate or feel indifferent towards. It is best to try this one at a bar before buying a bottle.

Try this whiskey with some mild blue cheese or soft goats cheese, perhaps even a plate of mussels cooked in white wine.