I’ve not been very high on very many, if any, of the few Irish whiskies I’ve reviewed on the blog but my most surprising review may have been of the regular NAS Tyrconnell, which I didn’t think was great but liked more than most people seem to. This probably means my response to Irish whiskey is anomalous and not worth paying attention to. You will therefore find very enjoyable my review of yet another Irish whiskey, also a Tyrconnell, this time 10 years old and finished in madeira casks.
Tyrconnell 10, Madeira Finish (46%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: A combination of citrus and wine cask notes (red fruit, incense). A bit of grassiness and some salt as well. It doesn’t take very long for the madeira notes to come to the top and it now smells very much like a generic red wine cask finished whisky. Some oak spice and some other resinous wood emerge too. With more time the red wine notes recede a little and the citrus returns (orange peel) along with some mild floral notes and a bit of caramel.
Palate: The wine is very apparent, floating on top of some grassy, spicy notes. Rather sweet (cherries, cherry liqueur). On the second sip the grassy note turns metallic and expands. Much later the red fruit abates a little and there’s some lime now. The metallic note is still rather prominent though. Hmmm after being left alone for a good 20-30 minutes it seems to be more balanced with the red fruit and citrus mixing well and the metallic note less prominent.
Finish: Long. The red fruit sweetness hangs around for a good while, but that metallic note makes it all taste rather artificial and with time it gets somewhat bitter. Improvement here with time too but the metallic note re-emerges.
Comments: The nose was not bad at all but it fell apart on the palate with the wine and whiskey not playing very well together, though it did get more balanced with a lot of time and air. If you generally like red wine finished/matured whiskies, however, you may well like it more from the get-go. Oh, I added a bit of water towards the end but all it did was emphasize the metallic, grassy notes on the nose, palate and finish–I’d pass on the water.
Rating: 81 points (<80 without the benefit of a lot of time/air).
Thanks to Florin for the sample.