Some nice Irish Whiskey tasting in Chivasso
A ramble about fine Irish Whiskey drinking
On a break from work, Whiskydo goes to XXL Café, Chivasso (Italy), for a refreshing plunge into the flavours of Irish Single Malt Whiskey… and a Single Pot Still treat.
To start this off, I’m no whisky expert or connoisseur or whatever. I’m just a regular guy who loves his whisky (or whiskey, for that matter). When it comes to Irish Whiskey tasting, I already had my few experiences but, let’s face it, I don’t know that much. What I know is that I’m determined to learn more, and that’s a pleasure trip. You bet it.
As I’m sitting down at my desk, writing this piece, I’ve got samples of the four whiskies we tasted on that night, just to nose the stuff as I write about it. And oh boy, I like it! A mouth-watering sensory trip through the complexities of whiskey Irishness.
So, let’s get to the point. The Irish whisky tasting was hosted by Fabrizio Vai at his XXL café venue with Giacomo Bombana (Whiskyfacile) to lead.
The line up was:
- Knappogue Castle 1993 (bottled 2001) Single Malt Whiskey
- Cadenhead’s 13 yo Single Malt Irish Whiskey
- The Whistler 10 yo Irish Whiskey Single Malt
- Redbreast 12 yo Cask Strength Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
The Irish feel to the first two malts is apparent and straightforward.
The Knappogue malt has the sweetest nose I’ve ever met, with a hint of apple and citrus. I loved it at first taste: its sweetness discloses a rich array of flavours and layers which result in great complexity. It’s fresh and balmy. And I taste some peach too (I don’t know why I always do with Irish whiskey).
The Cadenhead bottling comes as a surprise: I thought they did just Scotch bottlings, which in fact is what they mostly do (amongst other spirits), but this time they went for this Irish Malt and the choice was good. Earthier than the Knappogue, it has a salty nose with some nuances going towards savoury foods (pork roast?). It keeps its promises in the mouth too, with a decent body and a nice sweet maltiness.
Both the Knappogue and the Cadenhead are believed to come from Cooley distillery, but there’s no official mention. Well, I liked them both.
The two last malts of the flight had both a huge Sherry influence.
The Whistler is Irish Whiskey sourced and aged by the Boann distillery, while they wait for their own whiskey to come out.
This Whistler 10 yo Single Malt has an interesting nose with notes of coffee (I sensed some chicken broth too, am I allowed?) and a rich taste with a lot of honey and, of course, Sherry. I just felt that the Sherry was a bit overwhelming, covering some of the Irishness. It’s non-chilled-filtered and comes with its natural colour: good choice! Can’t wait to taste some authentic Boann distillery whiskey. Let time do its job…
The last malt was an iconic one: Redbreast 12 Single Pot Still, at a substantial 58.2 % cask strength.
Great sweet nose and rich sherry mouth, with a lot of oak too. Very thick and luxurious, with a honeyed finish. Not much to add, it’s Redbreast!
And that was all for our Irish Whiskey tasting break… time to get back to work on our Whiskydo project! I left with a deep sense of satisfaction about what Irish Whiskey is today and can become tomorrow. And with an urgency to know and let know more about it with our work.
So, if you still think Ireland is just about blends, it’s time for you to search for some serious Irish whiskey tasting somewhere near you and discover the whole thing. By the way, I like blends too.