Tuesday 3 June 2008

Whiskey Miscellany

It's been a while since I did a round up of short items. A couple of larger articles are in the pipeline but I have enough for a miscellany so let's go with that.

An American Tale
You might have spotted that the Meet My Shorts feature over there in the sidebar has gone all American. That's thanks to Eoin in Rhode Island (Our Man in Brown) and the enigmatically named Ash Ponders in Arizona. The US prices are even better value than they appear when you consider that a standard US measure (a jigger) is 44.4ml whereas an Irish measure (the quarter gill) is only 35.5ml. Our Man in Brown (University) tells me that the bar there is more generous still. Students, eh?

Isle of Arran Tasting
The Isle of Arran whisky tasting in Dublin last week was an enjoyable and civilised affair. We sampled nine of their whiskies plus one cream liqueur. Their flagship 10yo single malt was generally well-received though not quite to my own taste. Most of the rest of the whiskies consisted of the base malt finished in a wide variety of casks (Marsala, Tokaji, Moscatel, Fino Sherry, Burgundy). This is pretty brave since they try not to repeat finishes so they can never be sure what they are going to end up with.

For my money, the Burgundy finish had the edge but this was topped by a malt matured entirely in a single, first-fill sherry cask. The Arran Gold Cream Liqueur was surprisingly enjoyable, a finely-balanced combination of whiskey and cream.

Jameson Signature Reserve
Only available in Duty Frees, Jameson Signature Reserve is part of the newly-branded "Reserve" line-up from Irish Distillers (along with 12yo Special Reserve, Gold Reserve, 18yo Limited Reserve and Rarest Vintage Reserve).

Thanks to Michael Foggarty, of the Celtic Whiskey Shop, I had a chance to sample Signature Reserve. It's a rather sweet whiskey (think Opal Fruits/Starburst), no hard edges to it at all. I think it would be a very pleasant whiskey at a higher strength. As it is, the taste is somewhat thin and the finish very short. Hints at great things in the rest of the Reserve range, perhaps.