Review: Clontarf Blended Irish Whiskey

Blended Whisky month here on dramstats rolls into its second week. This time it’s day 8 of our blended whisky competition and Gal Granov of Whisky Israel has served up a dram of intrigue: Clontarf Irish Blended Whiskey.

So I was not a fan of this and I went for Harrier South African (mainly because I thought Gal might throw up a curve ball and go for a non scotch. I guess I was half right 😉 Here are the dramstats

picture from Gal

picture from Gal

  • ABV 40%
  • No Age Statement
  • Price £25

Nose: Parcel tape (pungent, even mrs dramstats, who says every whisky smells like apples, thought it smelled of parcel tape rather than apples), vanilla and bubblegum underneath

Palate: Malty vanilla flavoured icing sugar, a touch of wood and foam shrimps.

Finish: Drying and chalky malted vanilla. Slightly metallic.

Verdict: I am really not a fan of the parcel tape nose on this. The palate and finish are OK, and it was a really interesting whiskey to have tasted. Glad I had the opportunity. But I really wouldn’t want a bottle of this.

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Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Tasting

Firstly, I have to apologise for a lack of posts recently. I’ve been busy preparing for and attending job interviews and havn’t had time to blog.

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to join fellow whisky fans on twitter in a tasting of 4 single pot still irish whiskies distilled at Middleton distillery. Hosted by Steve Rush, the keeper of the excellent TheWhiskyWire website, this was another excellent tasting featuring Redbreast 12 year old, Green Spot,  Powers John Lane release and Middleton Barry Crockett Legacy. An excellent and intriguing line up and I’m about to tell you what I think of them.

Here are the dramstats:

Redbreast 12 year old

  • ABV 40%
  • 12 Years old
  • Price £38.95

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, caramac bars, condensed milk (the layer of caramel in a caramel shortbread), apricot, waft of raisin and vanilla wafer. After a taste there is some nuttiness. Chopped nuts on your ice cream sir?

Palate: Vanilla sweetness with wafers and caramac bars. Not getting a lot of fruit on the palate.

Finish: A hint, but no more, of spicy oak then a vanilla bomb goes off. After taste of Mr Whippy + wafers with mild raisin.

Verdict: At £38 this is a decent dram and a real session whisky or first dram home from work.

Green Spot

  • ABV 40%
  • Price ~£36

Nose: Hob nobs, buttery crumble note, herbal note and a touch of menthol, double cream.

Palate: Very sweet with black pepper, very creamy vanilla and bitingly bitter grapefruit.

FInish: Slight bitterness of grapefruit dries with the oak.

Verdict: I absolutely love the wave of bitter grapefruit in the finish and the lasting impression it leaves. I will definitely be buying a bottle of this. My pick of the night.

Powers John Lane Release

  • ABV 46%
  • Price ~£46

Nose: Spicy, vanilla, ryebread, menthol throat sweets (Halls extra strong), cut grass and parsley

Palate: Herbal note, vanilla, lots of spice with pepper, oak and foam bananas. Banana milkshake.

Finish: This has a great finish. Wave upon wave of spicy oak and pepper attacks a vanilla ice cream background. Looooong!

Verdict: I love the finish, but not as much as the unusual grapefruit on the Green Spot.

Middleton Barry Crockett Legacy

  • ABV 46%
  • £138

Nose: Vanilla, spicy, bread dough, citrus, worcester sauce, prunes, dark chocolate and oloroso soaked raisin.

Palate: Vanilla and some green apple before a hint of mixed herb, green banana and lemon tart filling. Wow!

Finish: Waves of fruit again with raisin then foam banana, mixed herbs, coffee whipped cream coated in chocolate. Finish of the night!

Verdict: The nose really didn’t suggest this palate and the finish keeps coming and coming. Pretty awesome! I really enjoyed it, but price wise it’s not for me. I’ll be buying green spot.

Overall Verdict: I’ve had a few irish whiskies and enjoyed them, but did find them to be not as complex as some single malts. This range of single pot stills though has been impressive. This is an excellent whiskey category and one that I hope continues to grow and deliver new exciting expressions.