Happy St. Patrick’s day. There are better reviewers than I who have done many more Irish reviews in preparation for today. I wish I could have done a larger multi-review, however I’m happy where all of this landed.
Tyrconnell is brought out by those evil (really?) masterminds (I mean, they are smart, sure, but not destroying the world smart) at the Kilbeggan distilling company.
Tyrconnell is made with 100% malted barely, distilled in a copper pot still, and generally liked by it’s employees (there’s no way he knows that).
To honour the Saint who probably hated whiskey (what with being English, I assume) and who generally converted the country away from that dirty paganism (not about snakes this time), I decided I’d thumb my nose at him while honouring the amazing culture and people of Ireland instead (who deserve a day once in awhile, given the rough couple centuries).
So there you have it. I have some Irish Whiskeys that have been finished with other culture’s wines (it’s like a parallel). It’s aged in American oak before hand for an indiscriminate amount of time (like how the US covered Ireland during the famine) before finishing with one of the wines.
Let’s see how these taste, and pinch ourselves if we forget to wear green and bang midgets (some traditions vary from place to place).
Tyrconnell 10 Port Cask Finish is the first up. The traditional single malt, however finished in Port Casks, like a fun trip to Portugal (maybe I should avoid dunking myself in Port on the next trip).
Interesting connection: For awhile there, the acronym PIGS was used to describe Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain’s rough economies. From what I understand Ireland has bounced back recently, meaning that they may be able to buy more casks from Portugal and maybe help it out (you’re horrible at macroeconomics).
Price: $99.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Violets, thyme, rosemary, blackberry, Sprite, brown sugar, sweet bread dough, orange, wood
Nice and floral. Lots of different flavours here. The yeast Irish whiskey notes are still here, though toned down by the port influence.
I’m really blown away by the complexity of this one. Lots of fruit and floral herby happiness (no one knows what the fuck you’re saying here).
Taste: Caramel, lavender, musty, plum, butter, metallic
The good: Floral caramel. I may have to figure that into the next caramel sauce I make. Note to self.
The rough? Not that complex. Mostly butter in it.
The not so fun? The metallic part of it. I was hoping that the finish would do something about that, but no.
(this format is odd)
Finish: Lavender, salt, cream, apple, yeast, pepper, tart blackberries
And we’re back again. Nice amount of cream, yeast. Tastes like a really good donut at the end. Like a high end one. That you pay a lot for (no one outside of Canada and Northern US understands this).
Nice complexity on the finish. Not super crazy.
Conclusion: This is tart, tasty, and really floral. Tastes like a high alcohol content Lowland mixed with a Highland I don’t hate (those exist?)
If you like Irish Whiskey, you can do worse than this one. It’s a good port cask overall, nothing too crazy, and a nice step up from the 10 Single Malt.
Hey, it’s that wine cask I never get right (give it time, there will be a Marsala cask, don’t you worry).
Tyrconnell 10 Madeira Cask Finish is first aged in American oak, and then finished in Madeira casks (we understand the pattern, get on with it).
I’d try to connect Madeira Island with Ireland here, but I’m drawing a little bit of a blank (should have thought ahead, eh?)
Well, other than the English Church Irish Lunch that happened on the 6th, however that’s an insane connection (took the words right out of my mouth).
If you want to know what Madeira is, check out some of my past Madeira cask finish reviews. Dry or sweet wine from an island. There’s the short version.
Price: $79.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 8/6
Nose: Yeast, strawberry, orange, wheat, honey, Sprite
Big yeast flavour. Not really surprised, given it could be a mixture of the dry wine finish and the yeast nature of Irish whiskey.
Or it could all be in my head. What I’m saying is this is really dry on the nose. Lots of dry smells (if that’s even a thing).
Taste: Orange, olive oil, caramel, salt, cracker, peanut
This tastes like I imagine orange oil tastes like (which you only rub in your facial hair, not drink). Once the initial orange oily aspect subsides, there’s this cracker/nutty flavour I have trouble explaining.
Finish: Sour raspberry, hot gingersnaps, orange, wheat, cashew
Gingersnaps was a great Canadian movie (and you don’t even like horror). Here? It’s a happy surprise, though hot as heck.
Takes some time, and luckily we have the fruit elements to calm it down. That wheat/nutty combination is back, which is nice.
Conclusion: I think this is a case of something that tries to improve upon the really nice flavours and then pushes it too far (well put). Like driving a fast car at top speed (interesting continuation). And then driving off a cliff (okay, maybe pare it back). Followed by cutting your breaks (maybe too far). Then fucking the (okay stop).
This is nice compared to the 10 Single Malt. Not great, and not worth any premium, unfortunately.
Tyrconnell 10 Sherry Cask Finish is the one to finish. And I was worried to try it. Why?
Well there’s been some rough as nails casks lately from Spain. You know, the place I mentioned before that was having trouble with their economy, like the others.
Man, I hope the next limited release is an Ouzo finish from Greece. Though Ouzo isn’t aged in casks at all, so… man, I need to think these through (yeah, you do).
So yeah, it’s a sherry cask. I read it may be a fino cask. No real idea though, so let’s just see how it tastes.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 5/6
Nose: Cherry, orange, brown sugar, oak, lemon, ginger, cake
Really nice effect of the sherry on this. No burn, lots of tart notes, good mixture of sherry and the effect of the whiskey.
I’m actually surprised here. Heck, my wife enjoyed the nose on this (and I hear she hates sherry casks).
Taste: Strawberry, cinnamon, ginger, anise, orange
Big pump of spice here. Feels like the sherry has taken out the bready aspects and left/amped up the spice here.
Really fruity too. My wife even liked the taste (and she doesn’t like tasting things… I hear).
Finish: Currant, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, sulphur, cranberry/wood
This is the first hint of sulphur, and I’m not too annoyed. Somehow it works here. Or I don’t mind it. (or you’re surprised that the cask doesn’t tremendously suck).
Turns out that the sherry cask doesn’t suck. Or bad ones work with their juice (odder things have happened).
Conclusion: Big sherry flavours, amazing juicy flavours. It works here. Don’t get me wrong: This is no sherry bomb or complex wake up call or the whiskey to make you want Irish whiskeys. It’s a really well put together malt.
The spice won me over in the end. Or maybe just the right balance of sherry and American oak. No idea what kind of sherry was used, but I assume it was a great one. Or at least a good one.
World Whiskey review #141, Ireland review #22-24, Whiskey Network review #676-678
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #281-283