Showing posts with label Irish Whiskey Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irish Whiskey Review. Show all posts

Jameson Signature Reserve Review


“I Won’t Give It To Someone Special”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Jameson Signature Reserve
Type: Triple Distilled Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS
ABV: 40% 
Chill-Filtration: Yes
Whisky Review # 584
Buying Advice: 😒 I won't buy it again. There are better expressions in the Jameson portfolio at more or less similar price levels.

Colour: Pale Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: The Alcohol is quite present so you have to find your way around it. Most of the Jameson expressions have similar, mainly light, Aromas and Flavours. On the Nose, the Signature Select is Sweet and a little Dusty. I find Sugared Cereals, lightly Buttered Toast, Puff Pastry filled with Apricots, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Straw, Red Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Toffee, light Coconut, Banana Ice Cream, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Raisins, Cinnamon, light Ginger, Fresh Mint and a little Oak. 

Palate: Thin and slightly Sharp delivery. The Signature Reserve is basically a standard Jameson Blend with some added Ex-Sherry matured Pot Still Whiskey. I find Sweet Cereals, Straw, Vanilla, light Heather-Honey, Toffee, slightly Sour Apples, Grass, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Raisins, Coconut, Dried Apricot, Cheese, light Pepper, light Cloves, light Cardamom, light Cinnamon, light Ginger, light Licorice, light Citrus and some Fresh - and Dried Herbs. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Finish: Short, mainly Sweet but with a few Bitter - and Sour tones as well. I also find a light Metallic off-note right at the end. Other than that I get Sweet Cereals, Toffee, Vanilla, Nectarine, (Coco) Nuts, Alcohol, Dusty Shelf, Lemon, Wet Stone, Red Apple, Pear, Menthol, light Pepper, light Cardamom, Cinnamon, light Licorice, light Ginger and light Varnish.  

I added a little Water and on the Nose you get a little extra Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate and some tropical Fruits. Palate an Finish become too Thin for my taste. 

Rating: 80

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20


General Remarks: The Jameson Signature Reserve was launched in 2008 and was originally only available in the Travel Retail Shops but in the meantime it's widely available and is still part of the Jameson core range. The Signature Reserve is said to contain a high proportion of pure Pot Still Whiskey which matured in a mixture of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Oloroso Sherry casks. It is usually priced between 35 and 50 US Dollars (December 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion: The Jameson Signature Reserve is not a sipping Whiskey. Better enjoy it over a little Ice. When drinking it neat, the slightly Sharp Alcohol is a little bit irritating. Taste wise, the Signature Reserve leans heavily on Cereals, Dried Fruit, Vanilla, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate and light Spices. Most of the other Aromas and Flavours are merely hints. I'm not impressed by this Jameson expression. It's nicely priced of course and you get a full litre but it pales when compared to the Crested 10 that I tasted recently. I bought a full bottle at the Airport out of curiosity but I won't do that again. If you're into Jameson, better look for the Crested 10 or Crested as it is called today.

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 26, 2016

The Old Midleton (Jameson) Distillery (Picture Credit: Friends of Islay)

Glendalough 7 Years Review


“What’s In a Name”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Glendalough
Type: Single Malt Whiskey
Age: 7 Years
ABV: 46%

Colour: Golden 

Nose: My first impressions are New Oak and Nail Polish Remover. Fortunately I also find Barley, Grass, Hay, Orchard Fruit (Pear), Nuts, Custard, Citrus Peel, Honey, Milk, Pineapple Jam, Mineral Notes, Cinnamon and Mint. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. It's a relatively simple Nose but not quite as clean as its Triple-Distilled brothers and sisters. But that's okay with me as I must admit I'm not a huge fan of Triple Distillation as it tends to take out too many Aromas and Flavours.  

Taste: Young and Edgy with Varnished Oak, Alcohol, Bitter Tea, Grapefruit, Lemon, Malt, Grass, Pear, Peach, Pepper, Cloves and Cinnamon.   

Finish: Short, slightly Bitter, Hot and Spicy with Alcohol, Varnished Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Pear, Peach, Honey, Malt, Pineapple Jam, Pepper, Nutmeg and Cloves.

I added a couple of drops of Water and on the Nose the Alcohol retreats. I get more Pear, Apple, Pineapple, Vanilla and Barley. The Nose certainly benefits from a little Water. Palate and Finish become too thin though for a Whisky.

Rating: 80  

Nose: 20.5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 19.5 – Overall: 20


General Remarks: The Glendalough (Glen of Two Lakes) Distillery was founded in 2011 by five friends from Wicklow and Dublin in an attempt to revive Craft Distilling in Ireland. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Ireland was home to over 200 legal - and many more illegal distilleries. Nowadays, only a handful of them are left. The distillery is looking to produce innovative Spirits like Whiskey and Gin. As the distillery was only founded recently, the Spirit for their 7 Years Single Malt was produced at the Cooley Distillery. The 7 Y. was Double Distilled and matured in First Fill ex-Bourbon Casks. It was cut with local Wicklow Spring Water. No Chill-Filtration took place. I looked everywhere but could not find out why the 7 Years is apparently available with both a Green - and a Grey Label. It costs an average 50 US Dollars (September 2015). Too expensive for what this Single Malt offers in my opinion.

Drinking Experience Neat: Average.

Conclusion: I'm not the biggest fan of Irish Whiskey in general although there are some exceptions like Redbreast and Greenspot. But I'm not impressed by this Glendalough 7 Years. The Nose is okay I guess but on the Palate and in the Finish this Single Malt is Young, Edgy and slightly Bitter with too much Hot Alcohol, Varnish and Spices that don't give sufficient space to the Fruit. I get the impression that Cooley provided Glendalough with some indifferent Spirit and I truly question Glendalough's commercial strategy. I understand the need for cash that all beginning distilleries have to deal with but selling Gin and other young Spirits is always the better option in my opinion. In any case I hope and trust that the future expressions made by Glendalough itself will be better and more interesting. Good luck fellows!

Jan van den Ende                                                             September 14, 2015

Redbreast 15 Years Review


“Older Does Not Automatically Mean Better”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Redbreast
Type: Single Pot Still Whiskey
Age: 15 Years
ABV: 46%

Colour: Golden Copper

Nose: Like the 12 Years, it needs sufficient time in the glass to open up. All the same, the Nose of the 15 years does not impress me as much as the 12 years did some time ago. It's not bad though with Cereals (Barley, Rye), light Honey, Porridge with Butter and Sugar, light Sherry, Nuts, Dried Fruits, light Acetone, Charred Oak, Milk Chocolate, Espresso, Pear, Apple Vinegar, Citrus Peel, Hay, Brandy, light Vanilla, Dusty Road, Cinnamon and Christmas Spices. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. I must admit I had expected more!

Taste: Bitter-Sweet and quite Spicy with light Sherry, Dried Fruits, Almonds, Papaya Cream with Cassis Liqueur, Banana, Toffee, Vanilla, Oak, Hay, Citrus, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Clove and Licorice.   

Finish: Middle-Long, Spicy and slightly Bitter with Pepper, Cardamom, Aniseed, Nutmeg, Dried Herbs, Herbal Tea, Mint, Licorice and Grapefruit Juice. Some Sweet notes as well with light Vanilla, light Honey and a hint of Milk Chocolate. Some Varnished Oak pops up after a while.

I added a couple of drops of Water and I get a little Peach on the Nose as well. As the Alcohol is less noticeable, the Fruit - and Cereal notes develop better. But Palate and Finish do not benefit at all from the added Water. 

Rating: 83.5  

Nose: 22 – Taste: 20.5 – Finish: 20.5 – Overall: 20.5


General Remarks: The Redbreast whiskey is produced at the Old Midleton Distillery in Cork, part of the Pernod Ricard Group. Jameson is also produced at this complex. Redbreast 12, 15  and 21 are the only aged Single Pot Still Whiskies at the moment, using malted and un-malted Barley in the mash bill. The 15 Y is Triple-Distilled, Non Chill-Filtered and matures in Ex-Sherry - and Ex-Bourbon Casks. The Redbreast 15 I'm tasting today was bottled in 2013 and is said to contain 15-19 Year Old Whiskies. It's not cheap and costs between 80 and 100 US Dollars (August 2015).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The Redbreast 12 Years is one of the better Irish Whiskies I have tasted so far. I especially loved the Nose! So I was really looking forward to try its older brother, the 15 years. The Nose of the 15 Years is a lot less complex and more restrained than the 12 Years. When nosing the 12 Years I got an image of a rich Fruitcake while the 15 Years reminds me more of a plate of Buttered and Sugared Porridge. On the Palate and in the Finish the 12 and 15 years have more in common with lots of Spices leading the way. Based on my observations, the Redbreast 15 years is not really worth the extra buck. I at least will stick with the 12 Years for the time being! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                   August 6, 2015

Jameson 2015 Review


“King Without A Crown”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Jameson
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS. The distillery puts it around 7 Years.
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: Light and Sweet but not unpleasant with Sweet Grains, Toasted Oak, Barley, Buttered Toast, Resin, Toffee, Honey, light Vanilla, light Sherry, Orange Marmalade, Canned Peach, Roasted Nuts, Hay, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon and Ginger. There is a light Metallic Note in the back and the Alcohol is not at all integrated. I noticed that I'm better able now to describe exactly what I'm smelling when I compare my notes with my earlier Review from October 2011. The scoring for the Nose remains the same though. 

Taste: Sweet Sugared Grains, Toast, Resin, Refill Oak, slightly Bitter Nuts, Hay, Pear Drops, slightly Sour Orange Juice, Herbal Tea, Toffee, light Vanilla, light Honey, Alcohol, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and a hint of Milk Chocolate. 

Finish: Middle-Long. The Alcohol burns a bit. I find Sweet Grains, Butterscotch, Toffee, light Vanilla, light Honey, Refill Oak, Dusty Road, Nuts, Cinnamon and Pepper. It's a little Bitter towards the end.

Rating: 78.5

Nose: 20.5 – Taste: 19.5 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 19.5

Stills at the Old Jameson Distillery Museum

General Remarks: The Old Jameson distillery was founded in 1780. Today this Whiskey is produced at the Middleton Distillery. This Blend contains both Malt - and Grain Whiskey and matures in a mix of Ex-Bourbon, Ex-Sherry and Ex-Port Casks. Jameson is Triple-Distilled and it's the best selling Irish Whiskey world-wide. It's not expensive at around 30 US Dollars per bottle. (July 2015).

No need to add Water to this Blend. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay 

Conclusion: The good thing about the Jameson Standard Expression is that it’s not an expensive Whiskey. It’s also slightly better in my opinion than most of the cheaper Scottish blends such as Johnny Walker Red Label, White Horse, Grant’s Family Reserve, Ballantine’s Finest, Chivas 12 Years and Dewar’s White Label. So it scores high when it comes to value for money. On the other hand, I like to see things happen in a Whiskey and that’s not the case here. Too much Sweet Grain, Toffee, Refill Wood, Resin, Alcohol and Spices and very little else. But if you're looking for a cheap and reasonable Blend you might give it a chance. I actually slightly increased the final rating when compared to 2011. This is mainly the result of the fact that my Palate has developed over the years and I am more able to detect Flavours and Aromas. Still, it's a pity that lots of people measure Irish Whiskey on the basis of this Jameson. Whatta Mistake to Make! Please try some Red Breast or Green Spot and you'll know what I mean. Then you'll realise that the Jameson Standard is merely a King Without a Crown!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 17, 2015


PS: I tasted Jameson again on April 21, 2017. No changes to the score and/or the notes.

Cooley 13 Years Review


If You Concentrate Hard Enough This Logo Might Become a Bottle!

“Cool For (Peat) Cats”

Country: Ireland
Brand: Cooley (An Irish Representative in the The Soul of Scotland Series)
Type: Single Malt Whiskey
Age: 13 Years
ABV: 51.4 %
Sample Provided By Thomas from Germany. Many Thanks!

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: Right away there's Fresh Fruit like Melon and Apple but it is followed quite quickly by Smoke from a Dying Campfire, light Earthy Peat, Buttered Toast, light Vanilla, Raisins, Lemon Zest, Tangerine Mousse, lightly Charred Oak, Malt and Mineral tones. The Alcohol is not fully integrated and I think this Spirit could have done with a slightly lower ABV of around 47%. It's not an overwhelming Nose but it's not as Light as most of the other Irish Whiskies I have tasted so far. All in all it's quite pleasant and the Peat smells much more natural than the slightly artificial Peat I found in the NAS Connemara Peated Single Malt. 

Palate: Good Strong Delivery. Again I believe the ABV could be a tad lower. The Fresh Fruit from the Nose is gone. Instead I find some Red Forest Fruit Preserve accompanied by Smoke, Peat, Pepper, Licorice, Herbal Tea, slightly Bitter Almonds, Grapefruit Juice and Butter Biscuits.

Finish: Middle-Long, Spicy, Zesty and slightly Dry towards the end. I find Ashes, Smoke, Earthy Peat with a light Plastic feel to it, Lemon Zest, Grass, Licorice, Pepper, slightly Bitter Almonds and Cocoa Powder. 

I added a bit of water and the Nose becomes more Malty and Waxy with a bit of added Honey. The Vanilla gets stronger as well and the Alcohol is better in balance with the rest. I find some Pear Candies as well. The Palate does not change a whole lot although the Alcohol is less present of course. The Finish becomes a little Flat this way. But certainly a Whiskey where you can play with  Water, always adding only a few drops at the time.

Rating: 86.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5


General Remarks: The Cooley Distillery was originally a Potato Alcohol Plant and was converted in 1987. It's located on the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth in Ireland. Since 2014 it's part of the Beam Suntory Group. Cooley' s main range include Kilbeggan, Greenore, Connemara and Tyrconnell. Unlike most Irish distilleries, Cooley only distills their Spirit twice instead of three times. Today's Single Malt is a very rare Single Cask Bottling that was distilled in June 1999 and bottled at Cask Strength in January 2013 by Independent Whisky bottler Anam Na H-Alba from the town of Oberhausen in Germany. It matured in an Ex-Bourbon Cask, is Uncoloured and Not Chill-Filtered. It sold at around 100 US Dollars. Only 240 bottles were commercialised and I don't think it's still for sale somewhere. By the way, for the first time I could not find an image of today's bottle. Well, there's always a first time for everything! 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is quite different from your average Irish Whiskey. Certainly an interesting bottling by Anam Na H-Alba. The Nose calls attention with an initial burst of Fresh Fruit. Unfortunately that fades away rather quickly but it is followed by some decent but not overwhelming Smoke and Peat notes. I also liked the Tangerine Mousse Note although you might identify it as Orange as well. On the Palate the good strong Delivery called the attention. I missed some of the Fresh Fruit Notes from the Nose. The Peat and Smoke are still there and are accompanied by Herbal and lightly Bitter notes. Those slightly Bitter Notes are still there in the Finish and Ashes and Licorice become more noticeable. But I do not find any aggressive tones and it all remains within the comfort zone. This Cooley 13 accepts a bit of Water and it's interesting to notice the subtle differences with each added drops. It's a pity that this type of Irish Whiskey is not readily available because I'm quite sure that people who like softly peated Islay or old style lightly peated Speyside wouldn't mind drinking this type of lightly peated Cooley from time to time. Even more so if it would be a bit cheaper. Because around a 100 US Dollars is a bit of a stiff price for a 13 Years Old from Ireland. Even if it's the odd Single Cask!

Jan van den Ende                                                         November 12, 2014

Cooley's Pot Stills