Triple Distillation

Review: Bushmills Single Malt 10 Years Old Irish Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Bushmills 10 2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
Ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso barrels
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bushmills (Bushmills, N. Ireland)

I believe this one is mostly ex-bourbon casks, but a triple distilled malt from Bushmills. Bushmills is more known for their blends, but this 10 and a 16 and 21 year old highlight the malt in their whiskies - triple distilled in copper pot stills rather than the more typical double distillation, resulting in a lighter spirit (generally...).


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L7171IB001 10:31

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Very nutty – it’s like opening up a bag of hazlenuts with the skins on. Apple juice, peach, oak, blanched almonds, marzipan, green wood, and light barley earthiness. The hazlenut is terrific! The palate is nutty and earthy, lightly sweet, with some vanilla and apple – leading into light, woody spice: nutmeg and cinnamon. The finish is lightly tannic and still carries a bit of that sweetness, but is where the barley really comes out and shines. It still has a bit of grassy spice to it, which is nice.

Canadian distillers often describe single malt as very nutty – this is complete evidence of that. It’s not the defining characteristic for me, generally, but it is on display here...

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $42.


Review: Writer's Tears Red Head Irish Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Writer's Tears Red Head 2.jpg
ABV
46%
Aging
Oloroso Sherry Casks
Recipe
Single Malt
Distiller N/A (Ireland)

A triple distilled Irish single malt, matured in Oloroso sherry, 46% and non-chill filtered. Nice! It's one of three whiskies in the standard Writer's Tears lineup, with the standard, this, and the cask strength (more limited) - a nice lineup.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L7103L2140 12:54

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Surprisingly sharp and grassy – I wouldn’t have thought so much for a single malt. Wine, some rancio, raisins, apple, and loads of spices – clove, star anise, celery seed, white pepper. Great complexity – so many spices! The palate carries all the flavours, but with great richness – dried fruit, clove, cinnamon, prune, currants, milk chocolate. Very much in the Irish whiskey style, yet very much influenced by the „old world” flavours reminiscent of spicy port, cognac, armagnac, and old world wine. Terrific. As with the standard writer’s tears, great finish. The spices all come out and they are held together (quite nicely) by the fruit. Slightly drying too – I will never complain about this.

Very much in the same style, but better, than writer’s tears. The spices are terrific! I quite like this, and it is upped in complexity from the standard Writer's Tears. I cannot but help recommend, particularly given my love of spices...

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $65.


Review: Hazelburn 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
10 years; Ex-bourbon casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Springbank (Campbeltown, Scotland)

Hazelburn is the lighter brand of Springbank - it is made from triple distilled spirit, as opposed to the Springbank and Longrow which are not as highly distilled - resulting in a different spirit that we would expect to be lighter. As Scotch is typically distilled twice, this is one of the less common methods for distillation in Scotch. As with Springbank whiskies, it is bottled without chill filtration and without coloring.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Apple-y, and a bit raw with quite a few mineral characteristics coming through on the nose – it reminds me quite distinctly of seashells. It is light – peach, white grape, honey baked pears – but it still has that heavy richness of springbank that is a bit oily and waxy. There’s a light bit of a sweet confectionary element to the nose.

The taste is quite light – walnuts, apples, vanilla sweetness, and the lightest touch of dried fruit. There is a light bit of complexity coming in from the spirit, and the finish develops through vanilla and caramel and toffee and light apple and almond and the lightest touch of smoke. The whisky is designed to be on the lighter side of Springbank – it certainly is, and held a lot more complexity than I expected from the nose, and doesn’t taste too raw or young – also not something I expected based on the nose – that Springbank distillate is brilliant stuff. If the finish were more expressive this would be a notch higher also.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $84.


Review: Auchentoshan 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
12 yrs; primarily bourbon but also sherry casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Auchentoshan (Dalmuir, Scotland)

This is the signature release of the distillery – one of less than a handful in the lowland whisky region of scotland. The spirit is triple distilled, being one of only two distilleries to do so, with the other being Hazelburn from Springbank (most Scottish whisky is double-distilled).

Triple distillation means that the spirit is distilled three times in a pot still before being diluted to barreling strength and put into barrels. This means that, essentially, there is a narrower selection of what actually goes into the spirit and the spirit off the still is quite a bit lighter. At Auchentoshan, spirit also comes off the still at 81.5% rather than the typical values of 60% for most Scotch Whisky.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: Lightly fruity and light, quite akin to brandy, I find. Nutty and fruity, with lots of apple seeds, toasted almonds, vanilla, and grape. There’s also a touch of dried fruit, but mixed with the grain it’s much like the smell of raisins in bread. The barley comes through very nicely, I must say – quite brilliant too. Raisins in bread.

Taste: Lightly sweet. The entry is light, before the richness builds and some dense, slightly earthy malt hits and takes complete command with a dose of vanilla. I really do like the dense, slightly earthy and nutty barley in the middle – it makes the whisky for me, especially as it slowly unfolds and then leaves you with some almond. It’s light, though – sometimes to the extent that the alcohol seems to come through too much.

Finish: Warming, satisfactory, with good flavour level. Malt remains in firm control, and it is slightly drying, with decent length and a touch of oak and apple seeds, vanilla, and light toffee here and there. Sometimes the dryness gives a bit of a tendency to make my mouth feel a bit empty – like the sensation after drinking carbonated water. The barley retains its earthy characteristic too, which is quite nice.

Quite a light dram – too light, in general, for what I usually like to drink – but nonetheless very enjoyable. The structure is very nice and makes the overall whisky very appealing. The barley, certainly, is nicely presented and the structure is well built around that with the grape fruitiness, nuttiness, and earthiness – for that, it is quite nice. I enjoy it significantly more if I take time to warm the spirit in my glass with my hands – it’s a general rule but sometimes I get hasty.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $65.