The Dublin Liberties Irish Whiskey

The Dublin Liberties Tasting Notes

We were lucky enough to try 4 of 5 whiskies currently available from the new Dublin Liberties Distillery.

The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil
(photo credit: Celtic Whisky Shop)

Oak Devil 5 Year Old

46% ABV. This bottle is a blend of 70% grain and 30% malt, matured in American bourbon casks for at least 5 years.

Price: €49 (Celtic Whiskey Shop)

Nose: Light and subtle. There are notes of pear, sweet caramel and a light oak. Some hints of raisins.

Palate: The pear and the caramel of the nose follow through, along with vanilla fudge and a citrus hit of orange peel. There are hints of dried red fruits and a soft peppery spice.
Finish: A grainy finish with a powerful spice hit, with notes of green peppercorns and caraway balanced by the sweetness of cherry cough sweets and a light honey.

Overall:  An easy drinker without any over-powering flavours. It would make a good introductory whiskey for your unconverted friends and the flavour profile makes it ideal for whiskey cocktails.

Copper Alley 10 Year Old

The Dublin Liberties Copper Alley
(photo credit: Celtic Whisky Shop)

46 % ABV. Single malt, matured in American bourbon casks for 10 years and finished for 6 months in Olorosso sherry casks.

Price: €60 (Celtic Whiskey Shop)

Nose: Tangy and malty. An immediate hit of over-ripe red apples as well as red and white grapes, sandalwood and some nutty tones. 

Palate: Quite a sweet palate with red apples, marzipan, walnuts and fruit & nut chocolate.

Finish: A savoury finish, wheat biscuits and a little spice with a citrusy sharpness that lasts.

Overall: The nose did not do justice to the taste of this dram, which got better with time. There is an enjoyable contrast between the sweetness of the palate and savoury finish.

The Dublin Liberties Murder Lane
(photo credit: Celtic Whisky Shop)

Murder Lane 13 Year Old

46% ABV. Triple distilled 13 year old single malt, aged in American bourbon casks and finished for 6 months in Hungarian Oak casks that previously held Tokaj (a dessert wine).

Price: €160 (Celtic Whiskey Shop)

Nose: Subtle and soft. Vanilla pods and creamy fudge alongside fruity and floral notes of plums and orange blossom.

Palate: Bakewell tarts and buttery pastry, stewed red fruits, particularly plums, and some tropical citrus, possibly grapefruit.

Finish: Red apples, brown sugar and vanilla. Hints of creamy coffee and a light citrusy spice.

Overall: A dessert whiskey . The wine cask is an interesting experiment that has paid off in the flavour profile of this bottling.

Keeper’s Coin 16 Year Old

The Dublin Liberties Keeper’s Coin
(photo credit: Celtic Whisky Shop)

46% ABV. Triple distilled and matured in American bourbon casks for 16 years, and finished in Pedro Ximanez hogsheads for 6-7 months.

Price: €320 (Celtic Whiskey Shop)

Nose: Honey, vanilla fudge, burnt sugar and cream soda along with light red fruits, orange and pomegranate juice.

Palate: Dried pears and a light vanilla cream, nutty chocolate brownie, toffee and plenty of soft spices like cloves, fennel and powdered ginger.

Finish: Christmas cake. Prunes, dark chocolate, oaky and the same light spices as the palate.

Overall: A beautifully balanced dram. I was ready to buy a bottle for my collection, until I saw the slightly hefty price tag. This is a limited edition with only 300 bottles in circulation.

About The Dublin Liberties Distillery

In February 2019, The Dublin Liberties Distillery opened the doors to a new €10m site and visitor experience, making it the third whiskey distillery in the Irish capital. The distillery is inside a 400 year old building and features three copper pot stills for triple-distillation and a spring water source on site. Owned by Quintessential Brands, the site is now producing whiskey. The initial releases were sourced from an unnamed Irish distillery, selected and independently bottled by Master Distillerr Darryl McNally. There are local legends and stories behind each of whiskey names, which can be found on the Distillery’s official website.

Many thanks to The Dublin Liberties Distillery and Steve Rush @TheWhiskyWire for these Tweet Tasting samples.

Cooper King Distillery Tour & Tasting

About Cooper King Distillery

Cooper King Distillery with Co-Founder Chris (Right)
(photo credit: MacComms)

Self-built. Independent. Sustainable. Cooper King Distillery are doing craft gin and whisky their own way in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside. The distillery was founded by a young couple – one scientist and one architect – who quit the 9-5 rat-race in 2014 to seek a life of adventure in Australia. From there, they discovered the booming Tasmanian whisky scene, fell in love with the authenticity of craft spirit production and made it their mission to bring the Tassie ethos back to UK.

Growing Orchard

Chris and Abbie spent the next couple of years sourcing local ingredients and building a 100% green energy distillery from the ground up in Abbie’s parent’s back garden. The inaugural product, Cooper King Dry Gin was released in May 2018. This is hand-distilled using innovative cold-vacuum distillation and uses honey from the distillery beehives, locally grown lemongrass and lavender. They also pledged to donate 1% of sales to the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to plant trees in the local area, have a growing orchard on-site and have a bottle refill scheme to reduce waste.

The first batch of Single Malt Whisky went into production in 2019 and is currently sat barrels crafted by England’s last independent master cooper, with a projected release date of 2024. It is made using a Yorkshire brewing barley and distilled in a unique copper pot still shipped from Tasmania – the only one of its kind in Europe. It is non-chill filtered, naturally coloured, single cask and single malt.

Tour

We were kindly invited to tour the Cooper King distillery by Ellie from MacComms. Tours are available every Saturday for £10 and take approximately 1hr 15mins. You can book a tour from their website.

The Cooper King distillery is situated about 10 miles outside of York in the beautiful countryside of Sutton-On-The-Forest. We were lucky to be having the tour on the last day of summer and enjoyed a tipple from the bar in their outdoor seating area, over-looking the orchard. Co-founder Chris was our guide for the day, and his enthusiasm was contagious. He had a story behind every piece of equipment and told us the meaning behind every step of their process. They are truly a small-batch, eco-friendly craft distillery.

We were taken through the bar into the distillery. One corner is dedicated to gin production, which is where Abbie’s science background shines through, with glass vials and laboratory equipment on every bench top. They use cold-vacuum distillation, which requires less energy and reduced water consumption compared to traditional methods.

Gin Production at Cooper King Distillery

The centre-piece of the room is the 900 litre Tasmanian copper pot still – the only one of its kind in Europe. Whisky production started just this month and they are carrying out mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation all under one roof.

Whisky Production at Cooper King Distillery
(photo credit: MacComms)

What is refreshing about this distillery compared to others is Chris’s laid back attitude and approach to craft spirits. They are enjoying the process, sourcing the best local ingredients and working with local business. They place a heavy focus on the quality and sustainability of their products as oppose to the quantity they are pumping out. They have no solid date for when their whisky will be bottled, as Chris said “we won’t release it until it’s ready”.

Tasting 

At the end of the tour we got to sit out in the sunshine and sample a few of their products, along with some treats from a local bakery.

Dry Gin

This was their inaugural product.
42% ABV with notes of cardamon, honey, lemongrass and lavender.

Herb Gin

40% ABV with fresh and dried basil, lemongrass, cloves and fennel.

Skosh Smoked and Spiced

My personal favourite! This is a limited edition bottling in partnership with the Michelin award winning restaurant in York, available only from the distillery or the restaurant.
41% ABV with notes of black cardamon, nori and mandarin.

New Make

Now sold-out bottling from the very first spirit run.

47% ABV with a surprisingly silky mouthfeel, almost like a tequila. Slightly malty, with notes of lemon, powdery black pepper, toffee and sourdough bread. If this is anything to go by, then I am extremely excited about their whisky.

You can support Cooper King Distillery by signing up for one of their Founders Club packages here.

Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old

Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old – Tasting Notes

 
40% ABV and matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and sherry casks.
 
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year

Price: £35.90 (Master of Malt)

Appearance: Yellow gold (they do add colouring).
 
Nose: Ripe green apples and straw initially, with soft notes of creamy toffee and polished wood.
 
Palate: Silky smooth. Grassy, yet full of the sweetness of stewed apples and brown sugar. Some hints of vanilla custard. 
 
Finish:  A slight sharpness, with the spiciness of cloves and ginger. Bitter apple seeds and burnt sugar with a little bit of vanilla coming through. 
 
Overall: A very simple, standard Highland whisky with apples all the way. What I like about Royal Lochnagar is their small portfolio; they do very few expressions and they choose quality over quantity. This 12 year old is quite light and delicate with no complexity. Not my usual preference, but sometimes you just want a straight-forward no nonsense dram. 

Continue reading “Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old”

The Glenrothes Manse Reserve

The Glenrothes Manse Reserve – Tasting Notes

Price: £50.17 (Master of Malt)

Released for Travel Retail, the Manse Reserve is part of the Manse Brae Reserves collection and carries no age statement. 43% ABV and matured mostly in American Oak, with some influence from Sherry Oak casks.

The Glenrothes Manse Reserve
Nose: Marzipan, dried fruits and woodland tones.
 
Palate: Very heavy notes of raisins, as well as pears, vanilla custard and sugary fruit shortcake biscuits.
Finish: Long lasting. Sweet fruits and dry Autumn spices (particularly ginger and nutmeg).
Overall: Sweet, delicate and not overly complex. A dessert whisky that would suit a cool Autumn evening.

Continue reading “The Glenrothes Manse Reserve”

Talisker Classic Distillery Tour

Approximately five years ago, in a quiet student bar a few miles south of Manchester City Centre, my attention was grabbed by a tall bottle of amber liquid on the back shelf, and so I asked the bartender for a taste. It was like nothing I’d ever tried before: the smoky aroma, the smooth texture, the maritime taste and the slow burn. That was the moment that I really discovered Scotch. That was the very start of my whisky journey. One quick sip by the bar became one glass, and then searching the internet for a bottle. My gateway dram? Talisker Single Malt.
Isle of Skye
Talisker Distillery produce some of my favourite whiskies and will always hold a special place in my heart. Based in Carbost on the Isle of Skye, it is no small mission to plan a visit. We drove from mainland Scotland, across the Skye Bridge over Loch Alsh, and then an hour through the narrow and winding roads of Skye to reach the Distillery. Skye itself is well worth exploring (I recommend wild camping on the North Eastern coast), as it is essentially the coastal equivalent of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I’d say you can taste the rugged coastal landscape in the whisky produced here.
In true adventuring spirit, we did not book tickets for the tour in advance. We rocked up to the distillery and hoped for the best. Once we had finally found a place to park the Bumble Camper in the small car park, we were told that all Classic Tours were booked up until the late afternoon. We were in no rush, so booked onto the next available tour and took the time to explore the coast and have lunch in the local pub just a few minutes walk from the distillery.
Entrance Fee: £10
Tour Length: 45mins
There were about 10 people on the tour with the delightful Gordon, who had a good sense of humour was incredibly knowledgeable. We had some trouble-makers in our group, but Gordon was very patient and made sure they did not disrupt the tour too much for the rest of us.
Talisker Distillery
The tour itself was somewhat generic. It started off with information about malting barley. As Talisker is characteristically peaty, we were given some peat to pass around, then peated and unpeated barley to smell and taste the difference. This part was no doubt interesting for the whisky novices in the group, and as a Talisker fan I was happy to taste the barley that goes into the spirits.
We were then taken through the still room and saw the majestic copper stills: 2 wash stills and 3 spirit stills, and we were given a brief explanation of the spirit safe which was cordoned off about 5-10 metres from the public. This was disappointing as the spirit safe is one of my favourite parts about distillery tours! Next, it was outside to see the wormtub condensers. This was the first time I’d seen wormtubs in person as not many distilleries still use this method. We were then taken through a corridor with a glass panel on the wall revealing the warehouse, where we could see barrels of Talisker whisky, but sadly we were not allowed inside. Again, disappointing as I would have loved to have smelt the aromas of my favourite whisky maturing! Finally, we were each handed a dram of Talisker Dark Storm and had a somewhat hurried tasting session before being ushered back to the gift shop and bar.
 
The Warehouse
Overall, the distillery and surrounding land was beautiful to see but the tour itself was not particularly special as it focused more on the production of whisky in general than the things that make Talisker unique. They do offer a Whisky and Chocolate tour for £30 or a Talisker Masterclass tour for £45, which are longer tours with guided tastings of 3-5 additional drams, respectively.
Talsiker do have an exclusive bottling available at the distillery which is available to buy at the shop or taste at the bar. You can find my tasting notes on that here.