Glendalough 13 Year Old Irish Whiskey
This is the final dram from the June box and straight out of the gates let me say - this was my favourite. As I'm sure you have gathered if you have been reading the reviews I have enjoyed all of the drams: but this one was something truly exceptional. OK, fanboy rant over (for the moment); let’s talk about Glendalough.
I had the pleasure of attending a gin night in Bert's Jazz Bar hosted by the nice people at Glendalough and during the talk it was mentioned that they also made whiskey. Unfortunately, delightful as their gin is (really, give it a try), there was not any whiskey for me that night so I made a mental note to get my hands on some. I was very pleased then, as you can imagine, when it was delivered to me!
The distillery itself is the brainchild of five friends who, in their own words, wanted "to make innovative spirits while staying true to the tradition and heritage of our ancestors". Fittingly enough then the spirit they began with was poitín. The gin and poitín are standalone products, and very nice ones too, but they allowed the distillery the breathing space to be in business and make whiskey. Bear in mind that from the moment new make spirit goes into a barrel you have an expensive wait with the Angels greedily lapping up their take each year! The wait was well worth-while.
As an aside before I offer my notes, I want to mention the figure on the bottle - Saint Kevin of Glendalough. The story of St. Kevin is that when his hands were outstretched in prayer one day a blackbird laid an egg in his hand. It is said that he then stood in that position until the baby bird hatched. Apocryphal? Of course. A fitting representation of the courage and conviction required to turn your idea into a reality and see it thorough in your way? Absolutely! That is why Glengalough, a craft distillery who knew the rules but wrote their own anyway, is aptly represented by this image. For those interested, Seamus Heaney wrote a poem called 'St Kevin and the Blackbird' that I recommend to you.
Now, my tasting notes:
Appearance: Deep Gold
Nose: Citrus fruits were prominent for me - perhaps candied orange peel. Vanilla with a buttery sweetness and a hint of peppery spice.
Taste: I cannot commend the taste of this highly enough to you. Brilliantly complex with so much going on. The citrus follows through from the nose with a floral edge. An intense sweetness develops on the back of the palate: Drinks by the Dram say it is toffee pennies; Glendalough say it is like rock candy; for what it is worth I got nougat.
Finish: An interesting finish that leaves you wanting more! Spice lingers on the front of the palate with that peppery tingle while the sweet nougat/toffee/candy remains further back. A long finish that develops wonderfully.
I have written a number of times that I am putting bottles on my to buy list - this one has jumped the list and is on the way.