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I've very little experience with Irish Whiskey. A year an a half ago my political mentor and I opened a bottle of Writer's Tears, and I tasted a few here or there, but probably fewer than 5 different expressions.
I came across this a few weeks ago listed but not available at the LCBO. When it finally appeared at stores it seemed like it was flying off the shelves so I picked one up. I figured it would be great H2H with a Writer's Tears CS I have.
This one is 12 years old. It's been open 6 days, tasted 3-4 times, each time gassed. I reviewed in in my "usual manner", only I waited 20-30 minutes after the addition of water, a bit more than I usually do.
Neat- Green fruits (granny smith apple), bright, fresh, light syrup, a slice of my mother’s apple pie when it’s still warm from the oven 22/25
With water – fruit is more mellow, sweet. Apple turnover, Honey. (23/25)
Neat- Sweet / tart fruit hits me on the arrival, vanilla. Rich mouthfeel. Overpowering (in a good way, meaning I can’t take too many sips of this neat) 22/25
With water – richer flavour, more sweet / less tart, alcohol nip. Arrowroot cookie? Almond note. a little more water smooths away the ethanol. (23/25)
Finish – Dry, astringent, the fruit in the background, medium long. Water slightly sweetens the finish. 22/25
Balance – the nose and the taste go well together. The flavours work well, overall quite a well-balanced whiskey. 23/25
Score: Neat 89/100 With water 91/100
I usually add a few drops of water to my whiskies. I found this one improved with considerably more, about a water bottle capful to a 20 cc pour. I also find it becomes mother and more flavourful with more time in the glass.
I really like this whiskey. Although Irish is not a genre I usually go to, if I did have a “rotation” this one would certainly be in it. Anyone who likes unpeated, full-flavour whisk(e)y should try this.