Around 2015 there was a massive hype around older Irish single malts, twenty-ish years old for most of them, that has since more or less subsided. All of them were of unknown provenance, although with them being distilled around 1990 there wasn’t much to choose from. Technically they could be from Midleton distillery, but that’s highly unlikely. The other two options are Cooley and Bushmills.
Back then there was some discussion whether or not Cooley was actually distilling the unpeated style that had become available. Rumor had it that they had outsourced the distilling to Bushmills, which left us with only one option.
Anyway, I don’t expect to ever be 100% sure, but what I am sure of is that most of these Irish whiskeys were crackers, and have become rather unreachable, price wise. Luckily, I found a sample of this one in my cupboard, which I expect to have come from Teun, the Maltstock guy.
Massive on the sherry, both dry and fruity. The backdrop of wine gums that I associate with Irish single malt is present too, but works well with the sherry instead of being a contrast to it. Somehow I get cola, but also dates and cinnamon. Lots of pastry ingredients, without the pastry.
The palate is just as dry, with a lot of oak. There’s a lot of candy like sweetness but that’s constrained by a bitterness with almonds and the stones from plums and dates and cherries. After a while there is some chili heat, with some sweetness still. Again, cherry cola.
The finish quickly mellows and suddenly has a hint of properly browned marshmallows. This flavors comes on top of the candy, oak and sherry. It still is very dry with baking spices, which makes for quite the great finish.
This is a cracker. I think a lot of these Irish whiskeys, even though they’re still very good, taste too much of wine gums and have a lot of chemical-like sweetness in them. In this case, the sherry cask has removed (or overpowered) that aspect and just adds a lot of great flavors instead of it. In short, this is an epic whiskey.
Irish Single Malt, 1991-2015, 23yo, 54.6%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams.