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Irish Whiskey is not something I have a lot of experience with. I have tried Writer’s Tears a couple of times and a couple of others at Spirit of Toronto. I read some of the reviews of Teeling over the last few months and so the company was on my radar, when the LCBO sent me an email bringing my attention to this product..
It’s an interesting spirit. From reading on the internet, Poitín is a spirit that was distilled in Ireland hundreds of years ago. It was outlawed in 1661 (ie: production was driven underground). The bottle states that the company released this expression in a bid to revive the “Original Spirit of Ireland”, though there are other brands as far as I can tell.
This expression is a blend of 2/3 corn spirit triple distilled and 1/3 malted barley spirit twice distilled. This is essentially newmake. The closest thing to wood that it has come into contact with is the varnished top of my desk. The ingredient sticker says “Alcohol, water”, which makes me wonder if this is diluted from the strength at which it poured from the still.
I reviewed this in my usual manner. Of note, when water was added, it rippled and swirled just like adding water to simple syrup.
Neat – Rich. I first get a hit of fruit, then it almost vanishes leaving bread dough, yeast, dust, and some other smells that are familiar but I can’t seem to name them. It seemed at one point like I got a whiff of something that reminded me of home-made Lambanog, but then I poured some and sniffed it and I wasn’t so sure. 21/25
Water dulls the nose, and even more water dulls it even more, without bringing anything new out. (19/20)
Interestingly, warming this neat makes it (not surprisingly given the ABV) almost overwhelming from the alcohol, and I can’t smell anything after that.
Neat- POWERFUL! Thick, syrupy, sweet. The only specific flavour I can identify is almond extract (really hoping it’s not cyanide), which I don’t really like in baked goods. There is a lot of flavour, but not a lot of complexity, and I’m sure I’m missing out some things but my palate is overwhelmed. 21/25
Water softens this, and more water softens it more. It’s creamier but the flavours are dulled. (19/25)
Warming this seems to soften the alcohol bite without dulling the flavour, though the almond extract seems to have faded (good).
The finish is not very long, neither offensive nor interesting. Water makes no difference. Interestingly, when warmed the finish develops a sour note which suits it well. 20/25
Balance: the balance on this whisky is very off. Not necessarily in a bad way but the nose is so different from the palate. The flavours, though not complex, are very forward, they don’t really work together. 20/25
Score Neat: 82/100 With water: 78/100
I am very happy I bought this because it is my first taste of newmake spirit. This will not have a place in the “rotation”, but it will be great to share with friends who want to try it. I might also on occasion come back to it, almost to test the development of my palate and see if I can get new things out of it.