Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: Whiskey
Showing posts with label Whiskey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Whiskey. Show all posts

Friday, 10 March 2017

Teeling Whiskey - Dublin

In the heart of Dublin's famous Liberties sits Teeling: the first distillery to open in Dublin city for around 125 years. The grey stone exterior matched the slightly lighter sky as we walked under a burnished copper phoenix furnishing the glass entrance doors. We were met by welcoming faces in the lavish yet cosy visitors' centre and booked on our tours.

The tour itself starts in a museum of sorts, portraying the history of Dublin's distilling past, then onward to a slick marketing video before moving on to the actual production floor. One unit houses the entire production cycle, from modern mash mixer and lauter tun through to the fermenters, a mixture of modern stainless and more traditional oak vessels. Finally, across on the back wall are the three copper spirit stills (named Alison, Natalie and Rebecca after Jack Teeling's daughters), oh so slowly changing from their current burnished rose gold colour to an eventual algae green over time. This tour of the compact distillery differs from many facilities of similar volumes of spirit, us being used to the more sprawling distilleries of rural Scotland.


Teeling as a brand itself is still new to the scene, established in 2012 with the distillery opening in 2015 - however, the Teeling family itself has been prolific in the whiskey industry since 1782. Stephen and Jack Teeling, the two brothers heading up the distillery, were initially part owners of Cooleys, but opted out when it was bought by Beam Inc. in 2011. With them, they brought a stockpile of aged whiskey over to the Teeling brand, the oldest released at the moment being 33 years. This means that the distillery can release well aged and kept whiskey and not be forced into rushing out young spirits.

Whilst in a lot of distilleries you are able to look around a warehouse of rows upon rows of wooden barrels, at Teeling this is not the case. Restrictions were put in place due to a great fire in 1872, where rivers of flaming alcohol flowed into the streets from a duty warehouse and malt store, destroying the best part of £5million of whiskey in today's money, as well as houses and animals in the tenement of the working class around. All spirit is now stored safely outside of the city.

Our tour guide, Eve, was friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the company, sharing family history alongside local Dublin lore and a clear passion for the product. Once our tour was complete, we moved into the tasting area for some sampling.


We opted for two different tastings - Laura going for the Small Batch release which was served with a Winter Spice cocktail.

The Small Batch is based on a 75/25 corn and barley blend, aged in bourbon and subsequently finished in Nicaraguan rum, releasing waves of spicy creaminess, vanilla warmth and a rum character worthy of pirates. The cocktail comprised a Small Batch base with Teeling's own vanilla liqueur, a homemade cinnamon and apple syrup, and chamomile and lavender "Put the cat out" tea from local suppliers Wall and Keogh. The result was a warming, floral delight that was perfect to brighten up a dull winter's day.

Despite it being but early in the day, Jim decided to go for the top tier of tastings, sampling the Single Malt, Revival II and a port wood single cask. The Single Malt was a delightful blend of 6 casks: bourbon, madeira, port, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Burgundy and sherry. Figs and forest berry massive on the nose, with a canteloupe freshness following up. The finish was reminiscent of sweet port, but with a dry finish and a touch of saltiness towards the end.


The second release of the Teeling Revival was aged for 12 years in bourbon and then for a final year in calvados barrels, resulting in a wonderful vanilla sweetness and a rounded body that is rich and smooth on the palate, and an apple pie finish.

Finally was the distillery exclusive single cask - an eight year old whiskey finished for a year in port wood, and bottled at 60% cask strength. A pale and delicate colour, but with bold flavours of dark chocolate and rich fruits with a huge black forest gateau character.

We completed our trip with lunch in the cafe, delicious sandwiches and more Wall & Keogh tea rounding off a great experience. A highly recommended destination for anyone fancying a break from all that Guinness!

Slainte!

Jim & Laura

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

St Patrick's Day: Irish Whiskey Tasting

We're pretty much novices when it comes to Irish whiskey, so decided to use St Patrick's Day as an excuse to explore a little. Rather than go out to face the inevitable monstrosity of annual Guinness drinkers, we stayed in, and ordered a bundle of treats from the Emerald Isle from the folks at Flaviar. Among them was the "Whiskey in the Jar'ow" tasting set, comprising the following five drams...


Greenore 8 Year Old - 40%

Colour: Sunlit straw
Nose: Candied walnuts drift initially with a little spice that breaks from the glass after a moment. An interesting sweetcorny note acts as a base to the harmony of aromas.
Palate: Strawberry and cream boiled sweets, super smooth and drinkable.
Finish: A tart lemon meringue pie to close the flavours.


Redbreast 15 Year Old - 46%

Colour: Sun-kissed beach
Nose: Opening with a spicy dry rye character that is carried well with a treacley hum. A dry essence of hay provides contrast and balance.
Palate: Oily and rich sweetness of lavender honey, with a pecan pie and maple syrup stickiness.
Finish: The wonderful character is lifted with peppermint that freshens the mouth delightfully.

Bushmills 16 Year Old - 40%
Whiskey to shout about!

Colour: Burnished amber
Nose: Oddly savoury in the background with woody dried herbs. Autumn fruits and pruny sweetness come to the fore alongside a prominent oak characteristic.
Palate: Leathery ash, well spiced, with strong pine oil.
Finish: Berries and tree sap continue afterwards, filling the mouth with a continued resinous nature.

Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve - 40%

Colour: Vibrant amber
Nose: Classically Irish... vanilla, smooth fruity caramel, and oak. A hint of white chocolate ripples under the surface.
Palate: Smooth and gentle, with a sweet and salty contrast.
Finish: A light rosewater tang develops on the aftertaste, with a long aromatic finish and continuing briny character.

Connemara Peated - 40%

Colour: Spun gold
Nose: Definite peat! Fresh seaweed, reminiscent of being on a beach as the tide goes out. A tiny floral note of freesias is just apparent in the background.
Palate: Creamy and smooth, with dark chocolate and rich coffee.
Finish: A slight wisp of smoke comes in right at the end. It's peaty alright, but not as we usually know it.

We absolutely loved the packaging of the tasting set, which included tasting notes and "instructions" for a tasting night in. The sample sizes were just right for either a little taste of all five between 3 people, or a larger drink to ponder over for 2. The speed and quality of service from Flaviar was also exceptional. We understand the website is still in development, with some features lacking at the moment (such as no option to view open orders) but our email queries were responded to speedily and helpfully. Definitely one we'd recommend.

Cheers,

J&L

Thursday, 5 June 2014

American Whiskey Tasting at the Broadfield

Well, well, well... here we are again. We originally hadn't thought to book onto the American night at the Broadfield, not thinking it was quite our tipple. However, after only a little bit of liquid persuasion (the Japanese whisky night!) and talk of classic American cocktails with a twist as the pairings for this night, we had our spaces reserved and our Boardwalk Empire DVD on repeat.

The evening opened with Old Fitzgerald: an 8 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. This was a good entry level whiskey, if you are after a typical bourbon. Vanilla on the nose and sticky sweet across the palate, this whiskey is bottled at 45% but is much smoother than it's Scotch counterpart. Available at around £20 per bottle, it's a dram which is completely accessible and really quite delicious.

This was accompanied by an Old Fashioned cocktail, with sugar syrup, orange peel and a dash of bitters added to the Old Fitzgerald. This was then transformed into a smoked Old Fashioned, using applewood chips and a smoke generator. The cocktail was fantastically orangey and a great twist on a classic, as well as the slightly bonkers methodology being a sign of the magic to come!
Whisky Curator at work!
We moved on to a Woodford Reserve, a bourbon with a high rye content and a heady nose full of honey, vanilla and woodiness. This literally tasted as American as apple pie - fruity, with hints of cinnamon and cereal sweetness. The toasted wood notes returned in the lingering finish.

With this was served a Manhattan, but not just any Manhattan: this one was barrel aged in a mini Kentucky toasted oak cask. For two weeks, the barrel held a Spanish sweet vermouth, before the Woodford Reserve and dry vermouth were aged in the same barrel for a further 6 weeks. The drink was completed with a splash of cognac added to the aged ingredients along with Benedictine and homemade orange bitters. Pure class. The barrel aged cocktail isn't something we've seen very often, but after sampling this one we're thinking Ed could be quite the trendsetter.

The third dram of the night was the Blanton's Special Reserve. This caught Laura's eye due to having possibly the best bottle stopper ever - it has a racehorse on it, in honour of the Kentucky Derby. Bottled at 40%, this smelled more like a Scotch than the previous two offerings of the night, with prominent spiced notes. It had a nutty flavour with a bit of a bite from citrus peel flavours and more spiciness.


Our next cocktail was a hot variation on the Mint Julep, which came poured from a proper antique teapot into a little china teacup. Just darling. Peppermint tea was delicately brewed before adding brown sugar syrup, fresh mint and bitters, along with the Blanton's. It's fair to say that this was not a favourite in the room, having a somewhat medicinal quality, but Laura loved it, and the Prohibition-style presentation was a great touch.

Up next was FEW distillery (ironically named after initials of Frances Elizabeth Willard, one of the leading figures of the temperance movement in the distillery's home city of Evanston) with their Rye Whiskey, bottled at 46.5%. The rye was prominent on the nose, along with aromas of lemongrass, ginger nuts and a hint of lavender. On the palate, you can taste that it's a young whiskey, but this is no detriment - it's a very nice tipple with a lightly herbal note. 


The cocktail pairing this time was an original take on a whiskey sour, which began simply with FEW rye whiskey, fresh lemon and sugar syrup. All straightforward so far. It was then shaken (with added flair from Ed). A honey, rosemary and elderflower foam was added to the glass before the cocktail was poured through, to produce a delicate and sweet-yet-sour delight.

Finally, we were treated to the High West Campfire. This had a more familiar seaweedy nose, with inspiration coming from a master distiller who fell in love with Islay, and so decided to create a whiskey which paid homage to the beautiful island. The whiskey is formed of 70% bourbon, 20% rye, and 10% Islay whisky, and it was an outstanding drink. Sticky sweetness and dried fruits provided the undertones to the palate, with heat and spice playing a part too. The peated whisky element made itself apparent in the finish.


A Rob Roy cocktail completed the line-up for the evening. High West was stirred down with barrel aged vermouth sugar syrup and bitters. Added to this were Martini Rosso sweet vermouth caviar pearls (yes, really!). These little jewels were created with a sweet vermouth sodium alginate, which was painstakingly dripped into a calcium bath (ooo technical).
 A vacuum and an Aerolatte were also used in there somewhere. We lost track a tad, but trust us when we say there was real chemistry in the room! 

The night as a whole was probably our favourite tasting so far. Whilst the whiskeys weren't quite as much to our taste as usual (we've not been converted away from our Scotch!), they were none-the-less great easy-drinking drams and very enjoyable. However, the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the cocktails - all five were absolutely spectacular and totally unique.


Cheers,

Laura & Jim

You can find out more about the cocktails at whiskycurator.tumblr.com. Thanks to Ed for another great evening!


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Whisky Tasting at The Greystones with StarmoreBoss

In the back room of the Greystones pub, on a stage normally reserved for blues musicians and comedians, StarmoreBoss hosted the first whisky tasting the pub has held. The event, described as an "Introduction to Whisky", had us initially apprehensive, as we were expecting a dram or two we had already sampled. However, we were impressed to be presented with five whiskies we had never tried before, some from distilleries and blenders which we hadn't even heard of.


StarmoreBoss
To accompany the whiskies came a discussion on the marvellous elixir, its origin, production and styles, from our host Jefferson Boss - a true fountain of whisky knowledge!

The tasting opened with Bain's Cape Mountain grain whisky. This South African dram is the first to be produced in the country. We found it to be a light toffee vanilla whisky with an oaky texture throughout the mouth, with a lightly spiced quite short finish, but still a really well rounded grain whisky. A good easy-drinker and a pleasant, gentle start to the evening.

The second, following a roundup of blending techniques, was Teeling Irish Whiskey: a small batch blend using the pot still distillation method. At 46%, this was a rich fruity dram that filled the head and upper nose with apple crumble and the rest of the palate with custard, that followed through to the mid length floral finish.

This was followed by an example of an American Bourbon. Having had mixed experiences of this type of whiskey in the past, the Elijah Craig 12 Year was a surprising treat. Given much longer to maturate than most Bourbons (which are normally aged for about 4-5 years), the resulting product is a deep intricate whisky that sings with a greater oaky aspect than most. On the nose it is fruity and delicately spiced, with a palate that fills the mouth with a sweet and fully rounded, lightly smoked finish.

The penultimate whisky in the evening's proceedings was a Speyside offering - the Glentauchers 1994, showcasing a cream custard texture that prickled across the tongue with a rich light peat texture. A singing sherry character brings with it a fruity spice across the tongue and into the finish.

The night ended with the Ileach Peaty, a dram from an unnamed Islay distillery: a young, textured, highly peated whisky. The strength of the oaky smoke filled the head with a fireside warmth, accompanied with an iodiney pepper character across the palate. Having sampled whiskies from each of the Islay distilleries, it's definitely fair to say this was a great choice to exemplify their characteristics.

The night as a whole was really interesting, and great for beginners and budding connoisseurs alike. Jeff was knowledgable and passionate throughout. Also the owners of a new boutique-y off-licence in Sheffield, StarmoreBoss have a lot to offer to the city and we're excited to discover what future events and collaborations may bring.



Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Advent - the final batch of drams! 18-24

As Christmas day draws near, so more and more of our little advent windows are emptied. Here are our reviews of the last few drams...

Day 18
Laura - Greenhook Ginsmiths Gin. Another American one and I have come to expect good things from across the pond. This is a fine example of a classic gin, with a clean juniper flavour and a beautiful aromaticism. A good one to sip on!
Jim - Yellow Spot. An Irish whiskey of great quality with a nose of vanilla poached apricots, and a bourbon sweetness. This is accompanied by a velvet caress across the tongue tasting of fruits and a nutty touch down the neck.

19
L - St George's Rye Gin. You can definitely taste the rye! It's hearty, smooth and very rich. Once again this month, I have found myself surprised at just how unique a gin can be. It's described on the St George's website as "a gin for whiskey lovers" which I would definitely agree with - it even won over my usually gin-hating uncle, who was drawn in by the delicious malty aroma.
J - Auchentoshan Three Wood - two sherry casks and a bourbon come together to make this sweet, tropical fruit nose and a palate of treacle and dark fruits such as cherries. The colour of red bronze brings with it light nuts and a long finish of sticky sweet oak.

20
L - City of London Dry Gin. A fairly harsh (but not unpleasant) juniper flavour that softens into a lovely warm finish. I love the history and story behind gin, as well as just drinking it, and this company truly embodies this, even down to featuring plenty of fantastic Hogarth-esque imagery on their website. I'd really like to pay the distillery a visit!
J - Johnnie Walker Platinum Collection. Smells of pudding... fruits, custards and (oddly) smoke. All round, a very festive nose. A tickle of smokiness continues across the roof of the mouth. Fades to a nutty dark chocolate.

21
L - Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's Bathtub Gin Navy Strength. Surely a good sign when your gin is ever so slightly brown. This is 57%, and in Jim's words, "fucking incredible". It smells cinnamony, and a bit like a very tipsy gingerbread man. The key notes I got on the taste were brown sugar and cardamom, a winning combination. The finish lasts for AGES, and as well as the cardamom spice there's also some clove in there. I could rave about this gin for hours.
J - Scapa - malted toffee and rich caramel on the nose. Spiced oranges present in the taste, with a smoky finish across the palate.


22
L - Mason's Yorkshire Dry Gin. Being from Yorkshire myself, I was very excited to see this one. It is lovely - peppery, fragrant and clean. A credit to my beautiful home county!
J - Glenfiddich 15 year old Distillery Edition. Spiced custard on the palate, with a hint of freshly ground black pepper and a long finish of buttery sweetness, followed with flavours of sherry.

23
L -Breuckelen Glorious Gin - well this definitely lives up to it's name. Very aromatic, with a creamy, almost herby scent (rosemary is one of the five botanicals in this). The flavour is citrussy but with a malty hit that keeps it smooth. A long finish that tickles in the tum.
J - Yamazaki 12 Yr. A sweet tender tasting whisky, with a flavour of delightful flowers which skips across the tip of the tongue. The orange sugar flavours creep up the nose and down the throat, before the end slinks away with a fruity woodiness that fills the mouth.

24 - And so we reach the final dram!
L - Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin - a savoury character in the flavour soon gives way to a sweet, citrus finish that resonates in the throat for ages, which I particularly appreciated today as I finally polished off the last sip of what has been a great advent!
J - Glenfarclas 40 yr - Spectacular. Apples, and peppered dark chocolate drift across the nose, with a light sherry. The rich characterful texture gently caresses the tongue with medjool dates, and figs seasoned with spice and demarara sugar. The finish is much like chewing on a leather jacket wearing gingerbread man. Simply divine.

Overall... what can we say?! It's been a rollercoaster of flavour and an absolutely incredible ride! Both calendars were sensational, not a bad drink between them, and despite the fairly big outlay they represent fantastic value for money. We've both had the opportunity to taste drinks we would never have thought to buy a full bottle of, or even come across in a bar, and each revelation has been a delight.

This will very likely become an annual event - head on over to Master of Malt to join us next year!

Slainte,

Laura and Jim

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Advent Calendar - windows 10-17

And so advent continues, each day bringing with it a delightful little treat. You all know the score by now, on with the tasting notes!

Day 10
L - Langtons Gin. From the Lake District, practically local! Tasty and smooth, interesting yet traditional.
J - Grant's 25 - sweet and malted, with just a little bit of tobacco in the nose. Cinnamon and nutmeg provide a light and spicy character.

11
L - Filliers Dry Gin 28. Mmmm! A juniper punch but with hints of citrus and something that might be thyme in the background. A good belly-warmer with a more lingering finish than any of the gins tasted so far this advent.
J - Mackmyra Brukswhisky - The Swedish Whisky. Sweet apples and other fruity notes resonate from the nose to the finish. Smooth and dangerously easy to drink.

12
L - Herno Dry Gin - the first Swedish gin I've ever tried. It is utterly lovely: overwhelmingly citrussy, un- usual, bold and refreshing.
J - Balcones Texas - Smooth and creamy with a vanilla flavour and hints of apple, that becomes a sticky treacle texture across the tongue ending in an intense malty flavour across a great long finish.

13
L - FEW American Gin. I drank this straight after the Herno, after getting a few days behind, and I could not have sampled two such different gins! Both delicious, but the FEW was as creamy and smooth (the key note being vanilla) as the Herno was crisp and fresh. I read up on this one too and love the history behind it!
J - Evan Williams Single Barrel (2003 Vintage) - a very strange whisky, completely different to anything I've had before, with a light amber hue and a nasal waft of honeyed and charred oak. The palate tickles with a spice that feels oddly unique, with a fresh citrus that ends in the heat of warming alcohols and spice.

14
L - Boudier Saffron Gin - this looks incredible... for a second I thought I'd got my calendars mixed up and opened Jim's by mistake! Whilst very nice, however, I'm not sure the saffron added much more than colour, other than a mild spice. Delicious with a slice of orange.
J - Tomintoul 14 year - This is the first bottle of the 14 whiskies so far that I have previously bought, having polished off a bottle earlier in the year. Today, I have been reminded that I am missing this lightly creamy butter scented pale coloured dram.

15
L - Sipsmith London Dry Gin - this is the first gin all month that I've a) heard of before and b) own a bottle of. For this reason I chose to take a nip from my full-size bottle, and save my little dram for a special occasion! It's a fantastic drink, whether neat over ice or in a cocktail - my favourite is with elderflower fizz.
J - Dalmore 16 year - this interesting limited cask release is a lightly spiced with hints of apple on the tongue and a prickly heat of almost chilli on the nose and down the throat, with a smooth wood finish.

16
L - Dr J's Gin - ooft! This really packs in the flavour and left my tongue tingling. Really zingy and full of citrus elements, with a sweetness that reminds me of marmalade.
J - Balvenie Caribbean Cask - This whisky sings of vanilla across all the relative senses, a nose of rum from the barrels its aged in. There are massive notes of tropical fruits like mangos, all summed together up with a heat of spice.

17
L - Blackdown Sussex Dry Gin - the weakest of Ginvent at 37.5% but no less yummy than the rest. It has an almost smoky nose and a traditional, juniper flavour. The finish is smoother than most and the gin as a whole goes down oh-too-well!
J - Glenlivet 16 year old Nadurra - Batch 0313W (Catchy). So vanilla sweet and fruity on the nose that Laura noticed the scent from across the room. A great alcohol heat from the 54.8% dram on the tongue with a similar sweet fruit this time with a honey spice that lingers on the tongue. The finish sits happily for a good few minutes gently down the throat, warming to the stomach with a dry nuttiness. It is simply delightful.

Our next post will follow our progress across the final 7 spirits, taking us all the way to Christmas Eve. Come back soon!

Slainte,

L and J