Monday, 19 July 2010

#383 - A new Irish MALT whiskey

A few weeks ago Cooley's Jack Teeling informed
me that the very first malt whiskey from the re-opened Kilbeggan distillery in Ireland had been bottled. That's excellent news! A little over three years ago I could visit the grand re-opening of Ireland's oldest distillery (and have a chat with Michael Jackson) and now I would have the opportunity to sample the matured product. 

The label of the bottle boasts "from the world's oldest pot still". If I'm not mistaken, that would be the rather unique contraption depicted at the right. It might not be quite what most people imagine if they try to form a mental picture of 'the world's oldest pot still', but the gap between image and reality in the Scotch whiskey industry can be shockingly wide as well. Anyway, let's open the bottle and try it...

Kilbeggan NAS Malt Whiskey (40%, OB, Batch #0001, Btl. 06/2010, 70cl)
(And that's not everything on the label; it also says "KD" and "Distillery Reserve".)
Nose: Grainy. Some subtle spices in the background. Gradually growing complexity. 
Dust? That being said, it's really too hot to seriously taste whisky at the moment.
Taste: Warm and honeyed. Quite sweet. Very smooth - like all Irish whiskeys, really.
Toffee too. Surprisingly sweet and mellow for such a young whiskey.
Score: 70 points - but I should point out that it's a very provisional score... 
I'll give the bottle a few weeks to break in and try it again a little later when the heatwave that's torturing Northern Europe is over.

Meanwhile, if we assume that production started around the time of my visit to Kilbeggan in May 2007, this first Kilbeggan whiskey was aged for three years. That's the minimum age of Scotch whisky - anything younger isn't 'legally' whisky but just spirit. Maybe the Irish have a similar law, or they simply felt that the whiskey was at the right age now. Whatever the case, the second Irish malt whisky (after the peated Connemara, also from Cooley) is now on the market - and it's not bad at all. It has the accessibility and smoothness of other Irish whiskeys, but more complexity than most. 

Anyway, watch this space for a more thorough review in a few weeks time...

Sweet drams...