"Unique single pot still Irish from before any commercial mingling showing what can be reached"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
I have something very special bottling on the table today. A single pot still Irish whisky from Jameson, which actually has not that much to do with the brand, that was bottled for the new millennium. Already 20 years ago (OMG) in a time when we were concerned of a complete black-out and the Irish pot still was still far in the memory of the older generation whisky drinkers. It was released (without much advertising) for 90 euros back then, but nowadays you will have pay over 1000 euros for the few scarcely available bottles. Since this was released before the whole revival o Redbreast and the likes, it tastes different and rather unique (I can say that already from the first sip). We can only wish that Irish Distillers might find another cask like this in their warehouse and are so kind to bring it on the market for a reasonable price (and please let it be no dream (cask)).
Thick and fruity. It also reminds me of a good funky Jamaican rum (Worthy Park, or maybe even Hampden) with lots of esters in the initial nose. What I also like is that the wood is present in the nose, but only to support the spirit. Dense tropical fruit oils, smoked olive oil, pure toffee, lilies and very old apricot brandy (no idea if the latter exists, but it should IMHO). Is your mouth already watering like mine is? Fresh tropical fruit salad containing mango, pineapple, papaya, melon and apricots. Cover it with olive oil, smoked sardines and expensive limoncello, and you have got this. The tightness of the nose is remarkable, by which I mean that the different scents are so tightly entangled that it is difficult to discern them. Tinned apple, freshly pressed papaya juice and lemons. It tends to move towards the jams (apricot, pineapple) and solid white wine. In fact, it is so condensed that you can almost cut a knife through it. Lovely creamy toffee that holds on for long time, followed by sweet fragrant flowers and back to the tropical fruits. I can go on here, but we might keep running around in circles. The wood does get a bit clearer and brings us closer to bourbon (good bourbon) territories.
Less dense than the nose, but full-on-flavour. Pineapple and orange juice mixture with a tine drop of lemon. Olive oil diluted with watermelon juice, smoked lime juice and olive-drenched toast. Old and very good liquors (a whole cabinet). Definitely mint liquor, but also the early mentioned apricot, melon (again does that exists, otherwise…), lemon and honey liquors. Perfectly balanced with a composure and coherence that is hardly to found in any spirit during the current quantity-over-quality era. The fun fact is that I do not recognise a lot of different flavours, but the palate is very broad nevertheless with so many subtleties and flavours flowing together. Solid and fairly long aftertaste with many tropical fruits going into liquors going into wood spices.
This is indeed rather unique. Reminds me of many things, like old-school whisky from yesteryear, top rums from current times and an Irish whisky you can only dream of. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to taste this (thanks again Norbert). Let us hope that we have more chances to enjoy Irish whisky of this quality, character and non-commercial candour.
Big thanks to for sharing the sample!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •