by MICHAEL PINKUS
In honour of the patron saint of Ireland, here are a few favourite Irish whiskeys I have tasted recently, all currently available here in Ontario at the LCBO.
- Bushmills Malt 10 Year Old Irish Whiskey
- $50.95, LCBO #131870
The aromas here are reminiscent of summer fruits: raspberry, strawberry, ripe golden plums, floral and golden raspberries. I was surprised as anybody to smell these, it’s whiskey after all. The palate is creamy, warm, mellow and silky with little to no burn—in fact there seems to be a marshmallow-like smoothness: warm and soothing with toasted notes that grab a white peach then fry it, bake it and pop it in your mouth.
- The Sexton Single Malt
- $49.95, LCBO #541607
There’s some fruit on the nose here, fig and dried apricot along with some overripe peach skins. The entry on the palate is smooth and silky, almost creamy, with little “hurt” (from now on we’ll call that “the burn”), just warmth. There’s a hint of a burn on the aftertaste, but this one proved to be almost cozy and very interesting. The bottle shape is quite unique as well.
- Proper Twelve
- $38.45, LCBO #11945
The nose of this Irish whiskey was all about fruit, namely peaches: spiced vanilla overripe peaches and some baked fruit. The first sip brought the alcohol heat, but by sip two there was more to be found: spicy apricot-mango, that upfront burn was mellowed on the finish with a creamy lingering and some vanilla and cherry blossom. I could quite easily get into this one on a cold winter’s night.
- Hyde 1916 Single Grain Bourbon Matured Irish Whiskey
- $80.35, LCBO #490457
The combination of bourbon barrel and whiskey seems to be a good one. The nose is quite alluring with notes that make you want to take a sip: creamy vanilla, pineapple, caramel, pear, candy floss and even orange peel. Now orange peel is not my thing, but the rest I’m all in. The entry is silky smooth, the mid-palate also seems on the creamy side and only on the finish does the burn appear. All the while there are notes of pear, smoke, vanilla and oak—so while that burn is there, it is surrounded by pleasant flavours and is barely noticeable by sip three.
JAMESON BLACK BARREL
$49.95, Ireland; LCBO 292615
Clean and smooth with notes of vanilla, peach and tropical fruits. It fills the mouth with flavour and forgoes the burn for a nice, well-rounded woodsy finish.