This week on our tour Around The World Of Whiskey we’re heading to Ireland to take a look at the new cask finishes that are changing the flavor of the traditional spirit.
For all too long whiskey (and really all brown spirits) followed a standard path with little room for innovation. Fortunately, the stuffy image of whiskey has been blown away to make room on the global theater for brands new and old who are reimagining how whiskey should look, how it can taste, and who should enjoy it.
This unique spirit starts with a base of the finest Irish malted barley and is distilled three times before being aged in 1st fill American oak ex-bourbon barrels. The spirit is finished in virgin oak casks that have been charred with Atlantic Kombu seaweed. The result is a earthy and slightly smoked spirit with umami and maritime undertones that match well with the notes of roast coffee, salted caramel and dark chocolate.
For their Craft & Casks collection Hinch has teamed up with a range of Irish craft breweries to create a range of different beer barrel aged spirits. The Imperial Stout finish uses barrels sourced from Whitewater Brewery from their Kremlin Imperial Stout which brings notes of orchard fruits, toffee, coffee, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon spice.
As one of the most well-known names in Irish whiskey it should come at no surprise that Jameson has something unique up their sleeves when it comes to cask finishes. In their Black Barrel expression, the bourbon barrels are given an additional level of char in a painstaking process that showcases the skill of their coopers. The result is an intensified aroma of fudge, butterscotch, and creamy toffee with nutty notes and spiced vanilla on the palate.
After hand-selecting casks of malt and grain whiskey that have been aged in ex-bourbon barrels Teeling’s master distiller marries the spirits to finish in central American rum casks for up to 12 months. The result is a premium Irish whiskey with notes of dried fruit and a hint of additional sweetness. The smooth and slightly woody finish has hints of exotic fruit and a subtle spice.
This limited-edition expression from Method And Madness brings a single pot still Irish whiskey matured first in ex-bourbon sherry casks to finish in wild cherry wood casks. On the nose you’ll find notes of pine needles, fresh ginger, coconut, and green leaves. On the palate expect hints of garden herbs, black teak, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, and hints of toasted hazelnut.