Ireland is known for two distinct spirits (and no, one of them isn’t Irish Cream). What we’re talking about are poitin and whiskey. Never heard of poitin (pronounced pot-cheen)? You can read more about it here. But more significantly, what are the differences between poitin and whiskey?
Homedistiller.org sums it up quite succinctly by saying, “Early poitin was raw single (barley) malt whiskey. Peat was the heat source. Later to cut costs (possibly in line with Scottish practice) malted barley and other grains (wheat, oats, rye) were used. The use of treacle (molasses) is mentioned, as is raw (brown) sugar, (one source says sugar was used after 1880). Currently barley and sugar, or even sugarbeet pulp is mentioned. I would imagine if potatoes were not suitable for eating, that they would be used too.” As well, most poitin was illegally distilled at high-proof and unaged (barrels are expensive!). So, in a nutshell, this is Irish moonshine made from whatever was handy and cheap.
As for Irish Whiskey, you know from previous articles that GSN has written that it is a very strictly regulated industry which has four standards:
- It must be distilled and aged on the island of Ireland
- It must be distilled yeast-fermented mash of cereal grains
- It must be aged for at least three years in wooden barrels of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres
- If the whiskey is a blend of two or more such distillates, the product must be called a “blended” Irish whiskey
Glendalough’s whiskey is crafted from a mash bill of Irish malted barley and corn. It rests three and a half years in American oak first-fill Bourbon barrels before being finished for an additional six months in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.
Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey (84 proof)
Visual: Mild pale gold.
Nose: Elegant, malty and warming. The sherry comes through in a winsome way.
Taste: Initially sweet with sherry and malty with a flavor profile reminiscent of freshly cooked sugar corn. This quickly gives way to a bit of heat and spiciness. Lastly, the woodiness of the oak adds a touch of down-to-earth rustic friendliness.
Finish: Medium long with the lasting memory being one of spice and wood.
Overall: Similar in many ways to a traditional Irish whiskey, yet different enough to be distinguishable from the pack. A very nice and well-defined spirit.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Glendalough