Cooley 20, 2002-2022, Barrel 2215, 57.1% – Whiskybase

For every 10,000 bottles added to Whiskybase, they try to release a single cask whisky. Most of them are very interesting and rather decently priced. This one, bottled for the 200,000th addition, was a bit on the expensive side of things, but with 20 year old Irish whisky there’s not much else you expect.

I though to review this Irish one right after the Bruichladdich, since Northern Ireland can sometimes be seen from Islay, on a clear day. Another segue from one review to another. Look at me being conceptual.

Even though I instantly bought this bottle without waiting to see if anyone wanted samples (which is the normal procedure at MaltFascination HQ), I was a little bit apprehensive. Irish whisky has gotten ridiculously popular ever since independent bottlers started releasing insanely high quality, older whiskies about a decade or so ago.

However, I’m not a huge fan of all of them. Quite a few of these bottlings have that typical ‘Irish’ note of wine gums and a candy like chemical sweetness. I’m not a fan of that, but I was willing to take the gamble with this one.

Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
Gently fruity with fresh peaches, wild peaches, nectarine. Ever so slightly wine-gummy. Hints of digestive biscuits, and a whiff of menthol.

Sip:
The palate is surprisingly dry for an Irish whisky! Lots of oak shavings, straw, biscuits. But also more fruity than on the nose. Some white pepper goes with the peaches and nectarines. White grapes and apples too.

Swallow:
The finish has a bit of lingering dryness, but becomes a bit more sweet too. Straw, white and yellow stone fruits.

Luckily, the wine gums were kept in check. A strange thing I realized is that in the four months or so that the bottle had been open it started of way more fruity than it ended up after oxidizing slightly because of the oxygen in the bottle. It was apples and pears and star fruit galore, initially. After a few months it changed a little bit.

Still, there’s a lot of fruitiness left, just a little bit less than initially. It’s a very well balanced dram with interesting notes of white fruit and not too much sweetness indeed! Currently it is available in the Whiskybase Marketplace for € 340, which I think is too much. The original price of € 235 is acceptable in the current climate, but the decline in fruitiness did tick it down a point or two.

88/100

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About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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