Irish whiskey is a bit of a blind spot for me and in 2014 I am going to try and drink more of it. I have to say the little that I have tried so far has not thrilled me overmuch. I liked the Tyrconnell NAS at the price and the Redbreast 12 at its introductory price (in the low $30s) but the rest I’ve either found to be not very good or overpriced for what it is. Let’s see where this Powers John Lane falls. It is a single pot still whiskey from the New Midleton distillery who also produce Redbreast, Green Spot, and most famously, Jameson. This is from a mix of bourbon and oloroso sherry casks and I believe the bourbon casks are predominant in the vatting.
Powers John Lane 12 (46%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Not terribly expressive at first. But then some sweetness shows up: simple syrup and then orchard fruits (apples and pears and a bit of apricot after a while). With a little more time the apricot shades towards orange peel and the wood becomes more apparent as well. The fruit gets a little deeper with time. A hint of milk chocolate a la Redbreast 12 after a while. After a lot more time some honey and some malt join the fruit and the nose gets a lot richer (will this be replicated on the palate as well?). Nothing interesting with water.
Palate: Hmmm as on the nose, this doesn’t make much of an impression at first. Nice mouthfeel but not a whole lot of distinct flavours. Let’s give it some time. No, it just kind of tastes like generic whisky: there’s some prickly wood, some very mild fruit but nothing that seems to want to leave a mark. And time doesn’t do as much for the palate as it does for the nose. Gets more astringent/metallic as it goes. Will water help? No, water does not help.
Finish: Medium-long. Some sour wood and some salt but that’s it at first. With more time there’s more fruit on the finish (and more than on the palate).
Comments: Irish whiskey aficionados say very positive things about this one but it doesn’t really hit any highs for me. I liked the nose but found it somewhat blank on the palate. Can it be that the general profile of Irish whiskey just isn’t for me?
Rating: 82 points. (Pulled up by the nose.)
Thanks to Michael K. for the sample.