New Whiskies

Batch 87: Irish whiskey

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New whisky tasting notes: Batch 87

We vowed to bring you more whiskies from around the world – and thought St Patrick’s Day would be the perfect time to deliver on our promise. So here you go, an entire tasting notes batch dedicated to Irish whiskey. Having joined new distillery Dingle last week for a pre-Paddy’s Day celebration, our features editor Melita Kiely steps in to help sample the first larger release from the group – three-year-old Dingle Single Malt. Our stalwart taster Dave Broom then takes on the rest of the tasting, with three innovative releases from the Method and Madness range by Irish Distillers: a single grain finished in virgin Spanish oak casks; a single malt finished in French Limousin casks; and a single pot still with a French chestnut cask finish. And last, but not least, the new blended Irish whiskey launched earlier this year by drinks titan Diageo, Roe & Co. Sláinte! 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Dingle Single Malt

    Dingle Single Malt
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Availability
    Borough Wines and The Bloomsbury Club, London
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose

    Dominant cereal notes from the get-go, like a newly opened box of Weetabix. After a while, dark chocolate notes are revealed. With water, the cereal turns into freshly baked bread, and a salty sea air element, too. 

    Palate

    The cereal notes are still strong – it’s only three years old – with more rich, dark chocolate, verging on a black Americano with an extra espresso shot. Some caramel sweetness and a touch of orange zest, and gingerbread spice. What it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in balance – remember, it’s only a young’un. 

    Finish

    Dry, with a little spice. 

    Conclusion

    Overall, it’s a pretty well-balanced whiskey. If this is Dingle at three years old, it’ll be exciting to see what comes next. 

    Right place, right time

    ‘I’ll have an Irish coffee, please,’ she replied to the waiter. 

    Method and Madness Single Grain (Virgin Spanish Oak Cask Finish)

    Method and Madness Single Grain (Virgin Spanish Oak Cask Finish)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A buttery, soft grain with some furniture polish, and a pollen-like element. Sweet with some lemon barley water, almond, resin, toasted wood and a Mozart (liqueur)-like chocolate element in the background when water is added. 

    Palate

    Good substance, particularly in the mid-palate. The wood comes through halfway in, adding some grip and darker roasted coffee elements, clove and grip. Water makes things more chewy. Decent balance.

    Finish

    Some grapefruit.

    Conclusion

    A sound grain, but needs just a little more distillate weight mid-palate.

    Right place, right time

    Having cleaned the house, Mrs Doyle got the afternoon tea ready.

    Method and Madness Single Malt (French Limousin Cask Finish)

    Method and Madness Single Malt (French Limousin Cask Finish)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Gentle cereal touches, then becomes quite grassy along with tinned pear and apple purée. Moves towards an intriguing aroma like old vine Chenin Blanc. With water, it becomes increasingly relaxed and aromatic, with touches of elderflower cordial and peach.

    Palate

    Lightly aromatic. Soft, quite succulent mid-palate that moves into mown flower meadow, soft fruits. Supple. The water helps bringing out the top notes.

    Finish

    Sudden, almost astringent, spice; some cereal.

    Conclusion

    All in all, a lively, light and elegant glass.

    Right place, right time

    A summer picnic for adults.

    Method and Madness Single Pot Still (French Chestnut Cask Finish)

    Method and Madness Single Pot Still (French Chestnut Cask Finish)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big, dry, spicy nose – polished wood, ginger and tobacco leaf, hinting at maturity. There’s a lentil-like element and some oils, which glance in the direction of soy, and tomato purée. Water makes things ripe, with some herbal elements, light leather, and more pot still, albeit in a slightly different and more exotic form than normal.

    Palate

    Quite scented, wood-like. Heavy damask rose, supple tannin, sweet orchard fruit and spice. Although there’s a little grip, the oily pot still element softens the tannin. Water increases the aromatics.

    Finish

    More of the spices alongside some green apple and currant leaf, then dark, mulberry-like fruit.

    Conclusion

    A fascinating journey of flavour. Chestnut – the new frontier?

    Right place, right time

    New boots on, cigar in pocket, he headed off into the woods.

    Roe & Co Blended Whiskey

    Roe & Co Blended Whiskey
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    45%
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A fairly firm nose initially (though this does change), with some crisp, cereal elements, light vanilla and orange zest (Terry’s Chocolate Orange, in fact). Becomes very Bourbon-esque with some mace and a heavy caramel toffee sweetness, hot cross buns and honey. With water, there are some dusty spices.

    Palate

    The palate is more Irish in its fruitiness, with rhubarb and red fruit. Just a little green edge on the sides of the tongue, with the hefty sugary elements romping in the background. Water calms this part down, taking us into orange Spangles territory, along with some barley and a little spice.

    Finish

    Firm and a little tight.

    Conclusion

    You can see where this is being aimed.

    Right place, right time

    This American walks into an Irish bar.

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