It has been some few months since the last Whisky Israel Society Summit #3 (Highland Park theme), time in which all of us found ourselves a little too busy, and so almost half a year later, finally our next summit took place.
We have been planning to give Irish whiskies a dedicated tasting for a while now, and standing to our word, Whisky Israel Society’s 4th summit was all about them.
In coincidence, the last two episodes (315, 316) of WhiskyCast.com were all about Irish whiskey as Mark Gillespie, WhiskyCast.com founder and a good friend, was invited to Midletown for the unveiling of two new Irish Distillers expressions. This proved to be very good for me as I listened to episode 316 just few hours before our 4th summit began, and have learnt a lot about the Irish whiskey industry history, background and evolution. So far in my whisky connoisseur becoming, I focused mainly on expressions made according to Scottish whisky producing ‘methods’ (and I include Japanese and Taiwanese whisky in that), and had a fair high-level knowledge of whiskey (Irish and American). Thanks to Mark traveling the globe, I was more ready for the summit.
From our previous summits, you already know that setting date, time and place for our whisky dedicated eves is always a bit chaotic, but as was ultimately scheduled, we all met at Gal’s place this time, each brining his assigned bottle and Glencairn glasses.
The Irish whiskies we were to have were –
- Bushmills Malt 10YO – by Gal
- Bushmills Malt 12YO Rum Cask – by yours truly (Shai)
- Bushmills Malt 16YO – by Richard
- Jameson Gold Reserve – by Yariv
- Jameson 12YO Special Reserve – by Yariv as well
- Jameson 12YO Distillery Reserve – by Raviv
- Jameson 18YO Limited Reserve – by Raviv – this was actually a surprise that Raviv decided to pamper us with
- Connemara Peated – by Igal
We wanted to try and keep the amount of whiskies to be tasted low, in comparison to previous summits, however as you can obviously see above we can’t restrain ourselves. As ever, all of these were detailed on the placemat prepared in advance.
According to what is becoming Whisky Israel Society Summits’ traditions –
- Gal had a well set table waiting for us with fine cheeses, breads, cut up vegetables and obviously water;
- I insisted on photographing ALL the bottles before we start (making Richard and Igal backdrop holders/light stands – and I do thank them for doing so even though I was harsh on them as they we not holding still);
- and my camera, using timer, took a group photograph of all of us around the table.
Before unfolding the tasting notes for all of the above (except the Connemara), which are provided by Gal (yet another summits’ tradition), a quick summary of the summit if you will.
All of us are usually Scotch whisky drinkers, and having this summit was a refreshing and interesting change from that. We had quite an enjoyable, chatfull evening which included an in-depth analysis of each expression’s character and properties. It seemed we all found Irish whiskies to be “harder” and “rougher” from our beloved Scotch whisky, and in spite some sort of dustiness some of us felt to be present in most of the whiskies (except for the Jameson 18 and Connemara), we had a consensus that Irish drams can do you for a good night out.
Close to midnight we finished the lovely summit with a wee taste of Big Peat, as we wanted something Scottish that can also be tasted following the Connemara.
Left to right: Yariv, Igal, Raviv, Gal, Shai and Richard
The below notes, are by Gal (though you’ll see some commnent by me as well). You’ll notice that the Connemara does not have notes, that is because when we finally got to it, we didn’t have the patience to do a proper tasting; it was however extremely peaty…
Bushmills Malt 10 Year Old, 40% ABV, £26 (buy here)
Nose: A full nose of Banana, Coconut, varnish and some brine.
Palate: Alcoholic, with apple; lots of vanilla, some brine and sherry notes are apparent with the addition of water.
Finish: Long and malty.
Shai: As Gal wrote down – ‘Shai liked’, and yes I do recall I rather enjoyed this one as it was fruity and light in a way for me.
Bushmills Malt 12 Year Old Rum Cask, 40% ABV, (Duty Free Limited Edition only)
Nose: Canned Pineapple, butter, tropical fruits galore (Shai: Canned tropical fruits).
Palate: Apples, quite alcoholic too. With some water cinnamon comes out and sherry notes even though no sherry casks used!
Finish: Bitter cocoa, (Shai: medium and dry finish).
Shai: There’s actually a funny story with this bottle. I was introduced to this whiskey by my bank manager who got it as a gift. He doesn’t drink whisk(e)y, so the first and only person to open it and taste it (at the bank) was me. After a while I just purchased the bottle from him after a friend told me he was looking for this expression. After I bought it, the friend changed his mind and so the bottle found its way to the summit and to my whiskies cabinet.
Bushmills Malt 16 Year Old, 40% ABV, £49
Nose: Very very sweet. Balsamic vinegar, sultanas compote, too sugary.
Palate: Big sherry, sultanas, prunes. Extremly sweet with some metallic notes on the back. Meat bouillon.
Finish: Medium, with dried fruit.
Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve, 40% ABV, £27 (buy here)
Nose: Lots of malt and heavy bread notes. A little bourbony and metallic.
Palate: Sweet, malty, grainy perhaps.
Finish: Very short!
Jameson 12 Year Old Distillery Reserve, 40% ABV, (Distillery Only)
Nose: Less malty and grainy than the 12YO SR. Fruity with vanilla, sultanas, apples apples and bigtime coconut.
Palate: Spices, vanilla, coconut, malt.
Finish: Not long, but quite spicy, with pepper and subdued oak.
Shai: Another one that I asked Gal to mark as a favourite. I really enjoyed this one as it was more interesting to the palate than the ones tasted before it.
Jameson Gold Reserve, 50% ABV, £55 (buy here)
Nose: Sweet, cinnamon, spices. More refined and round. Sort of buttery.
Palate: Very subtle and sweet. Creamy with vanilla and some honey.
Finish: Butter over Toasted wood.
Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve, 43% ABV, £67 (buy here)
Nose: Guava, Passion fruit. Some mango. Tropical fruits and fruit leather. A Wow nose!
Palate: As lovely as the nose suggests. The tropical fruit are not there, but some apricots and lighter fruits are including sultanas.
Finish: Some oak wood, bitter malt, quite dry.
Shai: I actaully liked this one, up to the finish. I found the finish way too bitter and tried to ass some water, which sweetened the finish a bit, but killed the nose and palate.
Thanks for reading, and as I close all summits posts: Can’t wait for the next summit!