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- Brand: West Cork
- ABV: 62%
This expression was brought to the party by @Astroke, who was kind enough to let me have a 2 oz sample for future review. Kind enough? @Astroke is very generous. He has gifted me with some great samples and has helped me to obtain some bottles I would otherwise have missed out on. But something tells me there was more than altruism here.
Now to be fair, at an Epic Tasting, which we had on February 23 when this bottle was opened and the sample poured, it’s hard to pick out nuances after the first dozen whiskies tasted. But this was number 5, coming after a blend of malts made by @paddockjudge, Hibiki Harmony Master Select, a Samaroli Speyside blended malt, and Kinsey American whisky. OK, maybe that could confuse the senses a bit. Clue # 2 though, LCBO still has 22 bottles over half a year later, and it is priced at $55.60, which, even for an NAS blend, is cheap for a cask strength whisky.
But innuendo aside, 7 months later, preserved in glass, no other competing spirits, how is this expression?
This expression is reviewed in both the Tuath Irish Whiskey Glass and, because I’ve concerns the nose may be muted in this glass, the Brilliant Highland Whisky Glass_, in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Muted in the Irish glass. After being covered a while I get some green apples. Sweet fruitiness. Slight hint of bourbon. Empty glass smells, well, empty. This would probably get an 18 or 19, but in the Highland glass it wakes up a little. Not a lot, but I get some purple garden flours, and rubbing alcohol. Still, not an interesting nose. Water amps up the spiritiness in the both glasses, but not much else.
Very hot on the first sip, with a sweet, fruity arrival, sour in the development turning in to bitter and peppery. Not necessarily complex, but interesting in how the changes are so distinct. In the Highland glass the sweet fruity arrival seems to be missing, and it goes directly into sour and bitter. Water sweetens it a little and enhances the fruitiness. (20.5/25)
Disappears very quickly, leaving a neutral alcohol residue. Slightly less bitter with water. (19.5/25)
It has poor balance. An almost non-existent nose and a very harsh palate.
Score: Neat - 76/100 With Water: 78/100
For your reference, the LCBO description. Neat I found the nose similar in character, only very faint.
Handcrafted on-site at the distillery in West Cork and married in first-fill bourbon barrels, this blend shows lively character of crisp green apple, floral, and softening vanilla. The palate is spirituous but smooth with sweet marzipan and molasses balancing the warming spice notes that linger on a long flavourful finish.
To be honest, when I wrote the preamble to this review, while it settled in the glass, I actually hoped that the spirit would exceed expectations, kind-of like my political party is doing right now (given expectations were extremely low at the beginning of the campaign), but I am pretty sure I like it less today than I did at the tasting.
When I see cask strength at the LCBO, if the price is right I’m very tempted to buy now and try later. Having samples to try has now helped me to avoid having to buy a full bottle more than once, and I’m extremely thankful to @Astroke for this opportunity.