Cooley 21, Peated (Cadenhead)


I know very little about Irish whiskey and I’ve not had very good luck with most of the Irish whiskies I’ve tried (and reviewed). I don’t know much about the Cooley distillery but am hoping this 21 yo will continue my recent positive Irish experience with the Redbreast 15 and be better than the last product of the Cooley distillery that I’ve reviewed (this Teeling). Okay, what do I know about Cooley? I know they make Tyrconnell and Connemara and are the source of a terrible whiskey with a Minnesota connection: 2 Gingers. Connemara is their peated line and presumably this Cooley 21 is basically what would be super-aged Connemara if released officially. I say this because I’m not aware of the distillery itself releasing whiskey under a Cooley brand. This one was bottled by the estimable Cadenhead of Campbeltown, Scotland. It was bottled in 2013 from a single bourbon barrel and was very well-received. Let’s see what it’s like.  Continue reading

Redbreast 15


Here’s another review of a widely available official release. This time it’s an Irish whiskey. My track record with Irish whiskey has not been very good. I’ve not had very many and very few of the ones I have had have made me want to have more. I’m sure this is just an accident of random, limited selection. In recent years, a number of older Irish whiskies from independent bottlers have received high ratings from a number of sources. And what is more, they’ve been lauded for their fruity quality—a quality I like very much in Scotch whisky. Unfortunately, I’ve not had any of those whiskies—they don’t come cheap and I don’t really spend large amounts of money on individual bottles any more. Not to mention, these are all European releases and it’s harder and harder to get those sent to the US these days.

Anyway, the Redbreast 15 is certainly easily available here. Though it’s been a while since I’ve last tried it—and I haven’t reviewed it—I quite liked the Redbreast 12; I was less impressed by the cask strength version, which I’ve reviewed twice (here and here). Let’s see what this one is like.  Continue reading

Teeling Whiskey, Small Batch

Teeling Whiskey, Small Batch
No, this isn’t Teeling whisky from Guadeloupe and it isn’t 8 years old. This is a NAS Irish whisky—it’s just that the sample is from avant garde mixed-media artist, Sku. You may think I’m making fun of him but consider the fact that this sample is of an Irish whiskey finished for 6 months in rum casks. Here’s the short version of the Teeling story: new distillery; hasn’t released any of its own aged spirit yet; in American style is selling purchased whiskey (from Cooley) under its own name; who the hell knows if what they are distilling themselves, once it’s ready to be bottled, will taste anything like the stuff they’re putting out now.

I gather they have more recently put out a single grain whiskey and a single malt whiskey; this one, however, is a blend and it was first released in the US about two years ago . Will it improve my sorry record with Irish whiskeys? I can only hope it will. Let’s see.  Continue reading

Redbreast 12 CS, Take 2

Redbreast 12, CS
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day…oh, forget it.

This is my second review of the Redbreast 12 CS. I’d forgotten about that first review when I put this more recently acquired sample on my “Coming Soon…” list at the end of last year. When I discovered the first review I figured I’d go ahead anyway as this was a later batch. But now that I’ve sat down to actually take my notes, I see that this came from the same batch as the previously reviewed sample! Oh well, let’s go ahead anyway and see if I come to any different conclusions this time. And as I say that I remember that when I set up the blog I’d thought that I would re-review whiskies quite frequently, and I really haven’t done so. So, as it turns out, this was my master-plan all along and I’m really not an addled idiot who has no idea what he is doing.   Continue reading

Sazerac 18, 2011 Release

Sazerac
This Sazerac 18 from the 2011 release of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection may be the oldest rye I’ve tasted, but then again it may not; there are rumours that the Van Winkle Rye 13 may in fact be a lot older than 13. But this is certainly the oldest rye I’ve tasted by stated age. Why the American whiskey business can’t be more transparent, I don’t know. Anyway, I managed to get my hands on the entire BTAC release for 2011 when I was first trying to develop a sense of bourbon–back then it was possible to actually find and buy them all. I split the collection 50/50 with my friends Jessica and Nate–they kept the bottles, I took my half in mason jars because I’m hillbilly that way.

Last year I made an attempt to score some of the BTAC and failed. This year I don’t think I’m going to try very hard. It’s not that I don’t think the whiskeys are worth it; I think they are–despite the price increases they still present very good price/quality ratios compared to Scotch of similar quality. It’s just that my ability to truly appreciate this stuff is not very well developed and so the gigantic hassle of trying to score a bottle makes the entire experience not worth it. Continue reading