Yes, lots of Irish single malt whiskeys lately, but this one – an Irish single malt 1991 bottled by The Nectar of the Daily Drams – is different because it says ‘peated’ on the label. Now most of the recent releases are linked to Bushmills (and to the Teeling stocks) which have a reputation for using only non-peated barley.
Does this mean it would have been produced by Cooley then (who make the peated Connemara)? Not necessarily… Bushmills did effectively make some lightly peated whiskey in the late 1980’s (as confirmed by Michael Jackson’s 1987 ‘World Guide to Whisky’) and it is said to have been discontinued at the beginning of the 1990’s. So Bushmills is certainly not off the table. In that case this would be the first peated Bushmills I’ve tried so far – and it looks like this is a rare treat.
Irish single malt 23 yo 1991 (47,4%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams 2014, peated)
Nose: it certainly has the typical triple-distilled characteristics. Plenty of exotic fruits (pineapples, maracuya, banana, lime juice) and floral honey. Hints of muscat. Big vanilla. Really enticing. The peatiness is just around the edges, light as in very old Islay whisky. It brings some ashy notes and a slightly earthy dryness that’s always clearly noticeable but never disturbs the joyful fruitiness. A wonderful marriage. Mouth: sweet start, with jelly beans and tropical fruit juices (tangerine, mango, passion fruits). Fragrant orange blossom. Some minty notes that fade into a light walnut dryness, liquorice and peaty notes that are slightly more prominent than on the nose. Finish: long, still echoes of fruits but there’s a little more oak, pepper and sweet peat now.
To me this is rather Bushmills, the peatiness has nothing to do with Connemara and the tropical fruitiness is unmistakable. It doesn’t matter – I think it is a rather superb combination of flavours. One of the most talked about drams at Spirits in the Sky 2014, for good reasons. Around € 180.