A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a Tweet Tasting, hosted of course by Steve Rush of "TheWhiskyWire.com", in which all involved were presented with whiskeys from Walsh Whiskey.
Since 1999, when the company was first founded, Walsh Whiskey have gone from strength to strength. In the last 17 years they have seen their "Irishman" and "Writers Tears" brands grow and as recently as this year they have seen the opening of their brand new distillery at Royal Oak, County Carlow.
When looking closely at the Royal Oak distillery you can see that Walsh Whiskey mean business when it comes to producing Irish whiskey. They currently have the capacity to produce 650,000 cases of whiskey per year and, with pot and column stills located on site, they can boast the unique accolade of being able to distil all three types of Irish whiskey in one still house.
They also have warehouses located on site with the ability to mature 60,000 casks of whiskey at any one time.
Getting back to the Tweet Tasting we had 3 different whiskeys to get through, along with a sample of new make pot still. The 3 whiskeys on show were The Irishman 12 year old, Writers Tears "Copper Pot" and Writers Tears "Red Head". For this review I shall be focussing on The Irishman 12 year old.
The Irishman 12 year old is a triple distilled Irish single malt that has been matured in 1st fill bourbon casks. It has been bottled at 43% ABV and without chill filtration.
What immediately stands out for me is the fact that they state it is a triple distilled single malt, meaning that there's only one distillery they could have obtained this single malt from, and I was very interested to see exactly how Walsh Whiskey would present this whiskey given that the spirit should be of excellent quality.
The use of 1st fill bourbon casks is, for me, a major plus as this shows that Walsh Whiskey are intent on making sure this whiskey is shown off in the best way possible and with the bottling strength at 43% ABV this should also add an extra dimension to this whiskey.
Onto my notes:
Nose - Buttered brown toast, ripe banana and mashed banana. Savoury cut grass keeps the sweetness in check. Green apple and a little dusty oak comes through with vanilla cream which brings a feel of banoffee pie and cream. Not much spice in here but maybe just a touch of black pepper.
Palate - Light, smooth arrival that gives way to more intense flavours of fruit and now a little more spice. Toffee apple, lemon drops, stewed orange and a lovely dryness from the oak. Little savoury notes pop up here and there and again these keep the sweet notes restrained perfectly. The sweet and savoury combine to give a very balanced experience, delicious. Then, just when you think there's nothing left, a light dustiness runs through the palate to give a sense of age and luxury. Impressive.
Finish - Smooth, sweet and extremely moreish.
Overall this is a fantastic dram of Irish whiskey.
Recently a lot of whiskeys have fallen short of what has been expected and have been left floundering in the "style over substance" category. What we have here is substance over style.
Walsh Whiskey have taken a clean, classic, well made spirit and elevated it to great heights.
They have taken time to ensure the whiskey is given the care it needs to truly shine. If this is in any way indicative of what they have planned for their own spirit, when it is matured and ready for release, then we are in line to experience something special.
They seem to have a strong understanding of what it takes to present whiskey in a way that shows off it's true potential.
This is the first time I've really had a chance to sit down and examine any of the "Irishman" range and I can't express enough how impressed I am with this whiskey. I think it's time to get out there and seriously try the rest of the range, which includes "Founders Reserve", their NAS single malt and their cask strength single malt.
Here's to the future of Walsh Whiskey.
All I have left to say is a huge thank you to Steve Rush at TheWhiskyWire.com, where anyone can apply to join in the fun of the tweet tastings, and also a big thank you to Walsh Whiskey for the excellent sample.
Until next time,