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Powers John's Lane 12 Year Old Single Pot Still

Average score from 9 reviews and 10 ratings 87

Powers John's Lane 12 Year Old Single Pot Still

Product details

  • Brand: Powers
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Powers John's Lane 12 Year Old Single Pot Still

What another review!? Well I needed a sparring partner for the Gold Spot.

Ok I think this has been reviewed by other's so I will try and keep it brief. Power's rounds out the OG trio of classic Irish Pot Still styles made at Midleton distillery. According to Irish whisky historian Fionan O'connor, the Power's family were the other big family clan of controlling interest along with the Jameson's in the Irish Distillers conglomerate. That said where the Jamesons were a bit hoity toity and uptight, the Power's clan had kept their working class roots and also had a powerful reputation among those same folks thus their sales reps knew this and loved to rub it in to the faces of the other folks in the IDL organisation. Power's Pot still style was a bit more edgy than what was produced elsewhere and the pot still recipes used at Midleton for their blends maintain that style.

This is matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon & ex-Sherry casks.

Nose: Just a great start, plump raisins, Popeye Candy sticks, grape candy, linseed oil, wet grain, mineral oil, there are spices, like a wonderful blend heavy on the powdered ginger, with a hint of clove and cassia. Time brings more grain forward and a feeling of old copper coins or tin box before it's back to fruit salad with emphasis on apples, and bananas.

Palate: Pleasantly sharp, waxy apple peel, a pleasant bitterness, a little tobacco, apricot, rustic bread with marmalade, there's a lovely slightly industrial note that keeps popping to tamp down all the sweet stuff.

Finish: A little bitterness like one would find in dark chocolate, boiled honey and then that yeasty/mineral/fruity/leather feeling left by sherry.

Blab: What a great balance, there's power and edge to remind you this aint' Redbreast but it's not harsh. There's again this fresh, nervous side here that is definitely in other Power's products like Signature or the Gold blend. I really instantly loved this, it hit all the right points, I wish this was available in Canada, hell I think it's barely available in the US. I suppose that Pernod doesn't want to cannibalise it's own sales since it flogs Redbreast and Spot products pretty hard in this market, or perhaps they're still holding the grudge of the Jamesons.

As @casualtorture notes Powers' John's Lane 12 yo is NOT a common whiskey to find in many parts of the USA. When Jim Murray rated it 95 points and named it Irish Whiskey of the Year about 10 years ago I continuously had my eye out to get some. My sister got a bottle in Baltimore in about 2013, and I was able to get a bottle, also in Baltimore, about a year later. In both cases those were the only bottles offered for sale, and in the last 10 years those were the only bottles of this whiskey I have seen on any store shelves in the DC and Baltimore regions.

Her bottle was opened right away and I found it very disappointing at first. 2 years' air later it became great, and stayed that way until its end, about 4 years ago. My bottle hasn't been opened yet, but I expect it to be stiff at first in all likelihood, as both my sister's bottle, and @RianC's bottles were. After a waiting period I expect it to be Mr. Murray's 95 class whiskey.

@cricklewood as to the science naysayers: I know we can't scientifically explain it for now but most of us have had the experience of a whisky changing over time. It isn't always us or our senses. I did the experiment myself a few months ago with a fresh Highland Park 12 and a sample a friend gave me from an older bottling that had been opened over a year at the time he bottled the sample. Ok, I admit that batch variation plays a role here too, but wow what a difference ! The newer one had almost no peat or smoke to speak of. The older HP12 had that nice, gentle heathery peat and smoke that was present but not dominant.


Review is from a 50ml sample kindly provided by @RianC (who's username I type so often it now comes up on the predictive text on my phone!).

I drank this about a month ago made some notes and just didn't get around to typing up the review.


Lovely nose on this that made me think of barley fields in the summer. Slight alcoholic nip but that's OK. Spicy and soft sweet fruits, straw, cereal, some dried fruits and cut grass. The cut grass comes through really strong.


Decent mouthfeel. Quite chewy. Spicy in an indistinct way not really pepper something else I can't pin down. That grassy note again, caramelized oranges, pineapple, butter, barley sugar sweets.


Reasonably long and spicy with the dried fruits really coming through.

So I enjoyed my first Irish pot still. It didn't seem overally complex but a little different. That grassy note is lovely and is interwoven into every part of the whiskey. Definitely a summer dram. This goes for around £45-50 in the UK and at that price I'd be tempted to grab a bottle if I saw it on a shelf and fancied something different.

@Wierdo thank you for your review.

A 50 ml bottle to review doesn't give you the opportunity to observe air effects. The bottle of Powers Johns Lane 12 yo with which I am most familiar is my sister's. It started out stiff and quite frankly very disappointing. I had bought a 750 ml bottle of it for myself as well, and at that point I thought that I had made a big mistake. After a lot of open bottle air time that bottle of @Maddie's is now a huge treat which I greatly look forward to sampling when I am in town visiting my sister. 5 years later my own bottle remains unopened, but I know that I will just give it time if I am unhappy with it at first.

@Victor - Totally agree about giving this one air and time. I have one pour left and my second to last pour this week was the best that had come out of the bottle. It's something I've found with a lot of Irish whiskeys when I think about it . . .

@Wierdo - Nice review and glad you liked it. Even though this is presented at 46% and NCF I think I'd look to pick up a Redbreast 12 if I could find one at a good price over this. Very 'sessionable' though!


I've come to enjoy the taste of pot still Irish quite a lot but it's not something I often turn to. I really should rectify that as, whilst I don't always find them to be completely absorbing, they are always very drinkable and enjoyable. So how does this bottling of Midleton distillate fare . . .

Bottle is about half full and been open a few months now. Review is from a 35 ml neat pour that's sat for about 30 minutes.

Nose - Creamy and buttery with toffee and honeycomb. Fruity - dried apricots and sultanas. Rye like spices of clove, pepper and cinnamon with a touch of baker's ginger as well as a prominent varnish note Some old leather and fresh oak. Very appealing and with some complexity, but that slight alcoholic twang is a little to its detriment - shame.

Taste - Lovely creamy mouthfeel with hints of linseed oil and that pot still, metallic barley note. Sweet with some tart fruits but then the spices really attack the tongue - pepper and cinnamon mainly. That varnish note lingers.

Finish - Medium - long with buttery spiced biscuits and drying oak. A little bitterness.

I've tried this with water and it does tame the 'nip' a little but it then loses some of the creamy mouthfeel that is perhaps this whiskeys best feature.

I've been really patient with this and have kept faith that air will help settle it down but it just hasn't really happened. It has improved some though - time in the glass helps, and in fairness, once your half way through, or better yet, onto a second it isn't as noticeable. Still, I am enjoying this and it's a decent representative of this style of whiskey. It's also very easy to drink - once you get going.


The Powers John's Lane 12-year old is named after the street in Dublin where the Powers distillery was located between 1822 and when it was closed in 1974. Nowadays, Powers is produced at the (new) Midleton distillery in County Cork. It is a 'Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey', meaning that it is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley. It was triple distilled and then matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.

The nose is rich and sweet with distinct notes of caramel and fudge. Later on I got flavours of banana and orange peel, followed by mint and a hint of cinnamon.

The palate is medium-bodied and just a little bit spicy. Vanilla flavours take centre stage, followed by notes of nougat, oranges (replacing the orange peel notes from the nose), and apricots.

The finish is quite long and malty. Vanilla and cinnamon flavours last to the very end.

From time to time I do enjoy some single pot still Irish whiskey, especially with the current hot summer weather. So far, Redbreast was my go-to-whiskey in this regard, however this Powers expression is very nice too. Not overly complex but very refreshing abd drinkable. I might have to revisit this one soon.

Is anyone able to weigh in on the difference between this one and the Redbreast 12 YO? Both are from the same distillery, pot still and use ex-Oloroso and ex-Bourbon casks.

@cricklewood Do you think Canadian POT still whisky will take off after October 17?


Power’s is an Irish Single Pot Still. This means that the mashbill consists of both malted and unmalted barley. This release is in honor of the John’s Lane Distillery that was operational in Thomas Street in Dublin from 1791 to 1974. Today, nothing is left of the distillery. The production moved to the Old Midleton Distilly in southern Ireland. It matured on both American and Iberia oak.

The nose is very light and fruity on banana, apricots, pineapple and sultanas. Some melon. Loads of caramel and honey and even a whiff of diesel oil (not an off-note). Freshly sawn planks and some wood glue. Mint! Very fresh and nice.

The body is rather weak, but the taste is ok. Sultanas and rum raisins, apricots and oranges and even some kiwi. Add some allspice and a touch of oak for a slight bitterness. Good continuation of the nose. Far from complex, but very tasty.

The finish is surprisingly long. The fruit turns candied, while the spices linger.

One of the better standard bottlings of Irish pot still. Around 55 EUR (although I recently saw it in Germany for less than 40 EUR). It’s worth it.


I wanted to try a good quality Irish whisky, since I'd only tired the standard Jameson, as well as Bushmills (black, and original). I was really pleased with the black Bushmills - that was a yummy whisky.

NOSE: caramel, toffee, sherry, pastry, vanilla, dark fruits, a touch of floral. With time you get some aged rum notes as well. Not bad at all. 20/25

TASTE: a hint of toffee, milk chocolate with a hint of cappuccino, caramel syrup. The milky mouthfeel is something that I don't really like about this whisky. It even reminds a little bit of soy milk which is the nastiest thing I know. Dried fruits, a hint of mint and black pepper. 21/25

FINISH: milky, milk chocolate, a little bit oily. 20/25

BALANCE: 23/25

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I don't really understand why people like it so much. It's a nice whisky, but it's definitely not a sipper that will keep you busy all day.

@Georgy, thanks for your review. I am intensely interested in reviews of Powers Johns Lane 12 yo because 1) I own a bottle of it which I have not yet opened, 2) Jim Murray and others have at times gone crazy enthusiastic over it, and 3) the only bottle of it from which I tasted I didn't find attractive. Even though I reviewed that unattractive bottle at 87 points, which is solidly good, that score was a critic's score mostly divorced from my personal taste. For enjoyment it was more like an 80 point whiskey for me personally.

It may be years before I open my bottle of Johns Lane because I have so many open now, but I am very happy to have your feedback. I think I will go back to my sister's bottle of it and see whether I like it any better with 2 1/2 years of air exposure.

@BlueNote It IS very pleasant. That's why it doesn't drop below 84, in my opinion.


Powers John's Lane is 12 years aged pot still whiskey. Pot still Irish whiskey is made with a combination of both unmalted and malted barley. The reviewed bottle's bottle code is L301731004, and has been open for two months

This review will use 2 formats

Nose: strong very pointed flavours of barley grain; honey and caramel, black licorice. Score 21/25 points

Taste: very sharp barley grain, some honey, and some sharp licorice. Score: 22/25 points

Finish: long finish, with very strong flavours, in good balance. Score 22/25 points

Balance: there is lots of flavour here. The overall balance of sweet, sour, and bitter, is good. I found the black licorice flavours a little distracting and would have liked more nuance from the barley. Score 21/25 points

Water added: 1) raised the pitch and melded the flavours in the nose, 2) muted and homogenised the flavours in the mouth, while increasing the licorice flavours and the sweetness, and 3) muted and sweetened the finish

Bottom line: if you like strong sharp pointed barley flavours, you'll like Powers John's Lane 12 YO

Total Sequential Review Score: 86 points

Strength: the flavours are strong and vibrant. Score 24/25 points

Quality: very good quality of the various component flavours. Score 22/25 points

Variety: adequate variety of flavours available. Score 21/25 points

Harmony: the flavours exhibit decent but not outstanding harmony, taken together. Score 21/25 points

Total Non-Sequential Review Score: 88 points

The scores were averaged out for a composite review score of 87 points

Very interesting review...I really appreciate the depth of analysis. Sounds like a bottle that should remain on my wishlist (I think I'm a bigger fan of licorice than you are, @Victor). Would this be the bottle you picked up last July?

@Pudge72, I see licorice flavours a lot with peated whisky, but that is not the case with respect to this one from the review. Apart from flavours from peat I don't have a strong sense of from where the licorice flavour derives. Maybe the yeast.


This is a single pot still release matured in bourbon and oloroso sherry casks.

Nose: sweet honeyed cereal. Vanilla, wood and old leather.

Palate: sweetness, vanilla, warming spices, glacé cherries and raisins.

Finish: vanilla, a warming peppery spiced tang. Medium finish but extremely moreish.

This is a smooth, well balanced whiskey. I can see why it is so highly rated. Jim Murray had it as his Irish Whisky of the year 2014 as well as liquid gold 2014.

Definitely one for the collection.


Nose: This baby has a wonderful nose:. Porridge, Sweet cereals with a hint of nutmeg, then vanilla and buttered sweet brioche. Can you say Yumm!?

Palate: The palate is spicy and peppery on entry then gets sweeter with sugared cereals,vanilla and some creamy espresso, then some more fruit.

Finish: Medium length with bitter espresso wood and burnt buttered toast.

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