Last Friday I went to a whiskey tasting in Den Bosch, at De Whiskykoning, of which I was slightly skeptical. The theme was Irish whiskeys, and I don’t have much experience with those. There are some nice ones, some great ones and some average ones I’ve tasted, but I can’t say I’ve had many.
What did set my mind at ease was the fact that the tasting was at De Whiskykoning, and Rob has never let me down before. The tastings are always affordable and very well worth the money. You tell me where else you can get six Feis Ile whiskies for € 27.50!
I’ve split up this post into two separate ones since I find it a bit much to review six drams at once. I’ll pick up the ‘drinking strength’ ones first and the higher/cask strength later.
Powers Gold Label, non-chill filtered, 43.2%
The first dram was the slightly more luxurious one of the regular Powers blend. This one being at a different ABV and being non-chill filtered made this one light, but rather aromatic on the nose. There’s unmalted barley, white bread and a hint of plastic too. A very green scent too, because of the unmalted barley, but also other plants.
The palate is sweet and tingling, slightly peppery with toffee and bread crust. The finish is long and rich with malt, toffee, honey. Slightly crisp too.
A very surprising dram. It’s not overly exciting, but for the price (€ 23) it’s really good. Lots of nice flavours and there actually is nothing to not like about this one.
Paddy Centenary, 43%
Another special version of a regular Irish suspect. This single pot still whiskey was created for the centenary celebration of Paddy, in 2013. It’s 7 years old and created to resemble the style of whiskey made about a hundred years ago. The label is styled to resemble that too and I really liked how it looked. A lot more distinguished than the current one, albeit old fashioned.
On the nose it had sweet salted caramel, oak and a slight saltiness overall. There’s also something strange. Something I’ve never smelled before and I really like it. It had a slightly metallic quality, but not iron-like. More like patina on the still in the distillery.
The palate, unfortunately, didn’t carry that patina flavour through. It’s slightly tingling, but less so than the Powers. Sweet and sugary, honey and simple syrup. The finish was gentle and honeyed with tinned fruit salad.
A nice dram but I would be raving about it more if the ‘strange’ scent everyone picked up would have been present on the palate and in the finish too. The nose was awesome but the rest did let me down a bit. And at € 88 I found this too expensive for what it represented.
Teeling 21 year old, Vintage Reserve, Sauternes finish, 46%
The most expensive whiskey of the evening was the Teeling 21 year old. While the entire whisk(e)y world is raving about Teeling’s whiskeys, I hadn’t had one until this night. And to start with the 21 year old feels a bit decadent, I didn’t mind at all though.
While Teeling doesn’t really disclose where their whiskey comes from, I can make an educated guess about it being Cooley. This because the guys running Teeling used to run Cooley before Beam took over.
The nose was overpowering from the start. There’s so much going on and the scents don’t have to be lured out of hiding. They attack your nostrils with a full frontal assault. In a good way. There’s rich, leathery tobacco at first, which quickly veers towards oily banana with curry spices and lots, lots of fruit.
The palate is BIG, but gentle. Fruity again, with banana, fresh, bitter pineapple and some spices. Milk chocolate and pastry cream. The finish is, if possible, even more fruity. On an old Lochside level. Pear, peach, dates. Incredible.
The general remark I wrote down for this one is “Damn!”. This one took me by surprise! The guys at Teeling sure know what they’re doing and the fruity scents and flavours indicate a Cooley distillate even more to me. I remember trying some Connemara ones that were incredibly fruity too, and some indie bottlings as well. This is an epic whiskey and worth every penny of the +/- € 150 asked for it.