Writer's Tears Red Head Review

“Red Card”

Whisky Review # 846

Country: Ireland
Brand: Writer's Tears Red Head - Limited Edition 12.000 bottles
Bottled/Distilled/Matured in bond for: Walsh Whiskey Ltd, Carlow (2016)
Distilled at: Undisclosed. Bushmills perhaps.
Type: Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Refill Oloroso-Seasoned Sherry Butts.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 45-65 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😏Borderline okay at around US 45.
Buying Advice: 👎This simply needs more cask time. Too Young and Rough.

Colour: Deep Amber with shades of Red (Natural Colour)


Young, Thin, slightly Sharp and Metallic. The Sherry casks are hardly noticeable. This almost smells more like a German Fruit Brandy (Obstler) than a Whiskey. A strange mixture of cheap Perfume and Varnish. There's also a sort of artificial Candy Sweetness to it. Make sure you give this Red Head enough time in the glass before Nosing. It does settle down with time and becomes less Sharp.

Main Aromas:

Malt, Grass, Yeast, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Melon, Cherry, Pineapple and Pear), Apple, Sour Berries, Orange, Peach, Refill Oak, Pepper, Aniseed and Cloves.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Caramel, Honey, Lemon, Dried Fruit like Plums and Sultanas, Mixed Nuts, Milk Chocolate and Nougat.


Young, Thin, Bitter-Sweet and Hot. This is not fully-matured Whiskey. Some light Sherry influence is nevertheless noticeable by now.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Dried Fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Plums) Mixed Nuts, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Pineapple, Melon, Grapes, Dark Red Fruit), Orange, Refill Oak, Nougat, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Buttered Toast, Lemon, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon, Licorice, Aniseed & Mint.


Short/Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Sharp/Hot/Young. Medium-Dry towards the end. I find Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Mixed Dried Fruits and Nuts, Orange, Sour Wine, Refill Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Mint and Licorice. After a while the Artificial Fruit Flavour returns.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water relaxes this Whiskey but you will loose most of the Aromas and Flavours. Better sip it neat!

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline Okay.


Walsh Whiskey company was founded as Hot Irishman Ltd in 1999 by Bernard & Rosemary Walsh with the idea to blend and bottle the perfect Irish Coffee. In 2006 the company signed a long-term supply agreement with a distillery for the distilling and maturation of Irish Whiskey to their specifications. The Irishman blend was launched in 2007 followed by Writer's Tears in 2009. The latter is a vatting of Single Malt and Single Pot Still Whiskeys. In 2014 the construction of Royal Oak distillery (Carlow) was started in a partnership with Lllva Saronno, the Italian drinks giant. The distillery started production in 2016. Unfortunately the partnership with Lllva Saronno as well as the involvement with the Royal Oak distillery ended this year as the partners differed with respect to the development of the distillery in the future. I would not be surprised if the dispute was about the concept of Craft Distillery Vs. Global Whiskey Producer.

The Red Head, named after its reddish colour, is a Single Malt Whiskey. As can be seen above, the Royal Oak distillery only started producing in 2016. That means of course that this Red Head was distilled by an undisclosed third party. I would not be surprised if it was Bushmills by the way. In any case I got lots of Writer's Tears when Nosing and Tasting this Whiskey. It's simply too Young, too Hot, too Artificial and too Unfinished to convince me. There are interesting Aromas and Flavours but they are simply under-developed. It's a Shame really and the name Red Head almost seems to confirm this 😜.


Jan van den Ende                                                              December 13, 2019

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