Maker: Irish Distillers, Cork, Ireland (Pernod-Ricard)
Age: 12 y/o
Appearance: Dark gold with a persistent “pearl necklace” in the Glencairn.
Nose: Big bourbon barrel nose. Caramel, oak, cotton candy, brown sugar, a bit of creamy toffee
On the palate: Full-bodied. At first sip, I find myself checking the bottle to make sure I didn’t pick up a bourbon instead. On further sips, though, the malty, pot-still character comes through, especially as it fades into the finish. This Irish whiskey speaks with a heavy Kentucky accent, which may explain why it is every bourbon-lover’s favorite Irish.
Finish: sweet and creamy, more candy notes, with some oak poking through. Then a long low burn.
Parting words: This is one of the world’s greatest whiskeys. The best Irish available. Redbreast also comes in a 15 y/o version. Oh, and the 12 y/o was Malt Advocate Magazine’s Irish whiskey of the year. ‘Nuff said.
Maker: Magner’s/Bulmer’s, Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland (C&C Group)
Appearance: gold with an odd pinkish hue. Fizzy, but the head dissipates quickly.
Nose: Yeasty and dry, sourdough bread.
On the Palate: slightly sweet with a hint of sourness like Granny Smith apples or the cider apple equivalent. A hint of some other sort of fruit is lurking in the background. Cherry or raspberry maybe?
Finish: Dry fading into an assertively yeasty taste.
Parting words: This cider is firmly in the British style. Sugar has been added and it is effective at tempering the yeast and sour
dryness. It’s more amicable than some of the bone-dry English ciders that seem to take their cues from Champagne than anything else. But in sweetening itself up it loses some of the subtlety that makes the bone dry British ciders interesting. At any rate, a nice refreshing drink, but not worth seeking out.