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Writers Tears Pot Still Blend

Average score from 5 reviews and 8 ratings 83

Writers Tears Pot Still Blend

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Writers Tears Pot Still Blend

Writer's Tears is a blend of pot still and malt whisky from the emerald isle. It's available world wide, as far as I can tell, and is priced fairly competitively here in the UK (around £30). This is my second bottle of Writer's Tears and had I been reviewing the last bottle I had the following would have a markedly different tone. Let's find out why . . .

This bottle has been open two months or so, almost half gone and has been decanted twice. Pour here is neat but sat around 15 minutes.

Nose: Lovely. Unmistakable pot still character of dusty copper notes, creamy vanilla and green apple, with a hint of cardamom and a little cinnamon. A little fudgy toffee as well (it's taken some time to get to here though it must be said)

Taste: Wait a minute. No, wait. Wait . . . no, it's just not there! Seriously, even now after over two months air exposure and decanting all I'm getting is a little alcohol (less than there was initially), some tart apple and a wee hint of the pot still base. Thin mouthfeel.

Finish: Some slight cinnamon and tannins. Vanilla? Short.

As you can probably tell, this whiskey hasn't impressed. I've been super patient and even handed with it - even willing and encouraging it to blossom but, alas, this one is simply a bit below par. I will say it has got better with time and air, but not hugely; however, given the price it's not that big of a gut punch. I think what hurts the most is that the last bottle was really good and I'd have recommended it to anyone. This one will now serve as my 'whistle whetter' in the place of a standard blend (or get blended itself). Shame, could just be a bad bottle, who knows?

@RianC, thank you for your review. Bad bottle, bad batch, who knows? Your experience parallels my own with Writers Tears. My first taste was, "Is that all there is?" before a second taste from a different batch 2 years later which was quite good.

There is a lot more variation in whisk(e)y than people would like. People like to think "I tasted that. I know what it tastes like. I have reached an understanding of the essence of that whisk(e)y. It will taste the same in the future." That is only sometimes true. People like to think that they have accomplished a great and long-lasting work in reviewing a sample or multiple samples from a bottle. The ego-deflating truth is that their observations only apply to that one bottle at the time that they are reviewing it...and that their taste in whisk(e)y applies primarily to themselves.

@Victor - My pleasure, as ever!

You make some very good points and I'd agree 100%. This isn't terrible by any means but just underwhelming. I think you nail it for me when you say one of your experiences was "Is that all there is?". I reckon I'd have give the other bottle 87-88.

I've just spat out a fly from my last sip as I typed that so someone, at least, likes it . . . a lot smile


This is a blend of malt and pot still whiskies, both distilled at Midleton and bottled by Walsh Whiskey (run by Bernard Walsh), makers of The Irishman. It has no grain whiskey in it. I decanted this bottle on Dec 19 2015.

The colour is a rich gold. On the nose we have green apple skins, linseed oil, kumquats and malt. Dark honey. Jasmine. Fresh-cut pine. Oily, fruity, floral and herbaceous. Becomes lighter and more floral with water. There is something I can't quite place muddying up the background but otherwise this is very nice.

On the palate, oilier still; lemon, apricot, white pepper and sage. Very fruity with a nice citrus zing. Light-bodied and crisp, like a sauvignon blanc. Water adds more fruitiness (peaches, nectarines) but drowns those light, crispy notes. The pot-still character really comes through.

The finish is a little rough with more oils, herbs and warming spices. I remember having a bottle a few years ago and being completely blown away by it. This one seems to be from another batch, and isn't quite at the level of that older bottling (which Jim Murray scored a 93). Still - this is very good stuff, easy to drink and better than most Irish whiskies in its price range.


The beer shop that I manage now sells whisky, in no smart part thanks to me. Originally the owners had no interest in selling whisky, didn't think it'd do well enough, etc.

However thanks to my blog, the fact that I'm friends with most of the whisky guys in Australia and quite a few around the world, they decided that we should sell whisky.

Whatever whiskies I thought were good, we'd carry.

And it's completely taking off, at times accounting for a large percentage of our sells. And that means these days I have whisky reps in and out of the shop left, right and center.

A couple of weeks ago I had a whisky rep in the store and we'd got to chatting. The thing is I refuse to carry anything that the major chain stores sell just because I can't be competitive enough to justify it.

And so this whisky rep is in and we're chatting about that and he mentions an Irish whiskey that the major stores aren't carrying.

At this point I look a wee bit sheepish and comment that to be honest I'd yet to be suitably impressed by any of the Irish whiskies. They haven't been bad, but just haven't done it for me.

He looks at me in horror and states that he'll bring me a bottle in a couple of days time that he hopes will change that opinion. Fair enough, I'll bring the Kavalans I was telling him about as he can't believe that there are these legendary Taiwanese whiskies out there making waves.

It'll be a whisky trade!

On Friday he comes in, I've brought in the Kavalans and some glencairns and he brings me in a bottle of Writer's Tears Pot Still Whiskey.

He tries the Kavalans and is suitably impressed, commenting on how awesome they are. He then gives me the bottle of Writer's Tears to take home and play with.


So last night I crack open this bad boy while watching Castle with my wife and pour a nip into a glencairn.

The nose is very light and fruity with vanilla, lychee, apples, citrus, orange zest, cinnamon, slightly floral, lily's and lilacs.

It's a nice little aperitif type nose, reminding me at times of Auchentoshan and Glenmorangie, being a very light easy drinking whiskey (well at least the nose leads you to that thought!)

Time to taste though and see if I'm seduced into loving Irish whiskies!

Sweet, again very much an aperitif, light and sweet with heaps of vanilla, lots of citrus, orange peel, some oak, little grassy, honey, possibly just the slightest hint of cinnamon.

Very nice and easy going! I'm impressed. It's not a whiskey that I would normally go for as I generally enjoy the bigger casks strengths then the 40% abvs.

A very short finish with heaps of orange zest ends this whiskey.

Definitely a great whiskey to start the night on or finish a meal on. Am I sold on the Irish whiskies?

Nah, but that's more due to me preferring monsters like the Stag, Handy, Octomore, etc.

Am I sold on this being a good little whiskey?


You can pick it up at some of your higher end bottle shops here in Perth, not Dan Murphy's, for around $65 to $70 a bottle.

If you see it in a bar and would like to try an Irish whiskey that's better then Jameson then look no further!

This one showed up in Ontario earlier this year and my wife surprised me with a bottle (appropriate that she was the source, as she was an English/History major in university).

When @WhiskyJoe and I opened it up, we enjoyed it so much that we took care of about a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the bottle during an evening. We agreed that if the bottle had been opened earlier in the day, it likely would have been finished, without us realizing! It is a very approachable 'session' whiskey that, as you noted @SquidgyAsh, is more complex than that moniker would imply. A very creamy, fruit based profile that is quite enjoyable...even for the 'bold is better' crowd, such as myself and SquidgyAsh! It will be a repeat visitor to my cabinet.

@SquidgyAsh, Your review makes me want to try this one again. I had some 6 months ago, with and from @Pudge72, I believe. It struck me as thin, also, and I have a thing about not liking thinly bodied whiskies in general. The flavours were ok, but did not draw me. It struck me as about an 85 whiskey also, maybe a few points less than that...but, any whisky that others find 'dangerously drinkable' has some real appeal. Maybe a couple more drams would put me into that camp of appreciators. Hopefully I'll get a chance to try this one again.


Writers Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey is an oddity. It’s a pure—excuse me, single—pot still—ahem, apologies—whiskey that’s been blended with malt whiskey, all produced at—where else?—Midleton Distillery in Cork. That’s right: it’s a single pot still blend. It claims to be “a style of whiskey that was popular in [James] Joyce’s Dublin” and, further, that it is “the original pot still”, but how they have come to know this is a mystery. I call PR bunkum, but—bunkum or no bunkum—what matters is what’s currently in my copita. And it is lovely stuff.

The nose strikes first with pencil shavings. I’ve come across it in other whiskies many times before, but never has it been so insistent. Yet, here it is: pencil shavings. With time, however, it opens up spectacularly to apples and crème caramel, with subtler hints of salt, maple syrup, and banana. Occasionally, notes of pineapple, lime, cinnamon, and menthol appear.

The palate is brilliantly tropical—with pineapple, especially—and, once again, pencil shavings and salt. There follows notes of raisins and milk chocolate on the finish. There is a truly fantastic balance between the sweet and dry elements of this whiskey, especially as the bottle evolves over time.


Here is a relatively new style of whisky, dubbed "pot still blend." Unlike your typical blend it is not just a mix of grain and malt whisky. Rather, it is a blend of Pure Pot Still and single malt whisky. The difference might be confusing to some but let's just say that PPS whiskey is unique to Ireland, and so a pot still blend is also unique to Ireland.

Nose: directly from the bottle you get sawdust and raisins. In the glass it is soft yet also a bit prickly. There is a metallic tang, followed by hints of wood and suggestions of apple and grape. After a while, more sawdust, a bit of woodsmoke. Pleasant but understated; you need to get your nose in deep to tease out the creaminess of the malt.

Taste: sweet with a hard, crisp attack. Peach/apricot flavour at first, reminiscent of Jameson, but with more guts. No mistaking that this is Irish. Slight oaky bitterness as it develops. Not the most rounded delivery ever but certainly has its charms.

Finish: decent length, slightly bitter. Fruity overtones.

Balance: a good example of pure Irish whiskey. A bit rough around the edges but overall quite satisfying.

My girlfriend wanted me to buy a bottle of this cause she's an artsy type and thought the name was cute. I'm kind of glad I didn't now though. According to your review there's nothing desperately wrong with it, but I know I would have shunned it in favour of better whiskies. Glad I got to read a review of it though!

Jim Murray was much more generous in his review (93 points). I like it well enough but at around the same price I think I'd prefer Bushmill's 10 or Redbreast 12.

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