Try These 7 Interesting Irish Whiskies This St. Patrick's Day
By Amber 0
In English, “knappogue” translates to “hill of the kiss.” From sniff to sip, it’s a fitting phrase for this 14-year-old single malt, which starts with inviting, fruity notes and then softly rolls down your throat with a smooth, vanilla finish. Aged in ex-bourbon barrels and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks — hence the name — this sweet, honey-colored Irish whiskey also boasts a warm cinnamon spice to replace the typical burn of your average, bottom-shelf brands.
The company describes their mainstay as a unique sweet tasting whiskey with a lovely malt finish. The sweet and malty tasting notes are definitely true, though Irish whiskeys typically have a very distinct and unabashedly classic flavor, meaning they can sometimes be less unique — which is a good thing. Much like other historical libations, this classic Irish whiskey has the reliability that comes from being distilled with the same stills, in the same location, using the same recipe for a couple of centuries. Reliability is a fantastic trait for a good Irish whiskey, and Killbegan delivers on that. Whether you’re looking to toast life, love or just spike your coffee, you can’t go wrong with this classic unadulterated offering.
Knappogue Castle 12-Year-Old Single Malt
This 12-year-old single malt from Knappogue is among the fruitier whiskies gracing the list. Sniff your tipple for top notes of green apple, berries grapes and other tropical fruits. When you sip and savor, the fruit bowl explodes in your mouth, with ripe peaches and bananas rushing forward. There’s a nice undercurrent of mint, caramel and vanilla, but the lingering flavors are definitely the fruit. If you prefer a sweeter sip, this Knappogue is perfect for you.
Spade & Bushel 10-Year-Old Cask Strength Single Malt
The first thing you’ll smell from a glass of Spade & Bushel’s 10-year-old cask strength single malt is… alcohol. That’s because cask strength has a much more concentrated alcohol by volume — 57.5 percent in this case (that’s 115 proof, if you’re doing the maths). Behind the alcohol, your nose may pick up some creme brûlée, pepper and other baking spices. But don’t be deterred by what could be an overwhelming inhale: the bold taste is sublime. The robust and complex flavors juxtapose the light straw color, and you’ll get a zesty smack of flavor with each sip. Open it up even more with a drop or two of water.
For Brothership Whiskey, the name is spot on. This unorthodox bottling is a mixture of Irish and American whiskies. The precise breakdown gives the Irish contribution the edge (55 percent opposed to 45 percent from the States) but all are similarly aged, with a 10 year minimum. You’ll find the initial whiff full of light orange and lemon with just a tease of smoke. On the tongue, you’ll get some ginger, a scant hint of peach and a mild oak, which all combine for a great finish. Whether you’re mixing or sipping, Brothership won’t disappoint.
Knappogue 16-Year-Old Single Malt
The final option from the Knappogue distillery on our list shares a maturation process with its 14-year-old brethren, also having spent more than a decade in a former bourbon cask before finishing in a Oloroso Sherry cask. Time has been supremely kind over the additional two years for this 16-year-old, though, as the resulting liquid has a perfect viscosity, a remarkable caramel flavor with a hearty amount of oak. The dominant flavors are balanced with a soft finish of vanilla and chocolate, leaving your mouth craving more.
Tyrconnell 16-Year-Old Single Malt
The higher price of this Celtic spirit (around $ 100) may lead you to believe it’s for special occasions, but it’s supreme drinkability would suggest otherwise. Its smoothness belies its bold flavors, which include a strong vanilla taste with a citrus finish. Unless your company deems it too uncouth, try enjoying a pour with a garnish of orange peel and a few rocks, although Tyrconnell is certainly silky enough to sip neat.