Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Busker Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

Apparently, I'm on an Irish whiskey kick right now. That's okay, I go through various cycles of stuff I like to explore. Truth be told, I started in Scotch. Then I discovered Bourbon and my mind was blown. Since then, I've branched out to Rye, Indian, Japanese, and, yes, Irish. I believe the attraction of Irish is it was at one time, until Prohibition, the most popular whiskey on Earth. Then, for a variety of reasons, including Prohibition (bastards!), the love for this elixir waned. The cool thing, however, is that Irish whiskey is enjoying a resurgence that has exploded.

A few weeks ago, I reviewed The Busker Triple Cask, Triple Smooth Irish Whiskey, it easily snagged my Bottle rating.  It was a blend of three different whiskeys from The BuskerSingle Pot Still, Single Grain, and Single Malt.  Today I'm drinking one of those component whiskeys - Single Pot Still. 

Distilled by Royal Oak Distillery, which is the source of brands such as Writer's Tears and The Irishman, Single Pot Still starts off with barley. However, the mash is a blend of both malted and unmalted barley. Malted barley is typically going to offer chocolate and cereal notes, unmalted barley typically will lead to spicy notes. It is then run through a copper pot still, which takes longer to process than a column still. Pot stills usually create a more flavorful spirit, whereas column stills are built for speed and consistency. Both provide delicious whiskey, and, of course, so much depends on what happens beyond distillation.

The Busker Single Pot Still carries no age statement, but to fit the definition of Irish whiskey, that means it is at least three years old. It matures in ex-Bourbon barrels and ex-sherry casks, then packaged at 44.3% ABV (88.6°), and a 750ml bottle runs under $30.00.

I'd like to thank The Busker for sending me a sample of this whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, The Busker appeared caramel in color. I have to say that's darker than most Irish whiskeys I've perused. It left a thin rim on the wall, which generated fat, slow drops to fall back into the pool of liquid sunshine.

Nose:  An aggressive aroma of malt started things off. But, I also smelled honey, brown sugar, and apples. When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, I tasted only honey, and it was fairly thick.

Palate: The Busker had an incredibly oily mouthfeel and heavy body. Again, this is atypical, at least in my experience, with Irish whiskey. As expected, however, was a total lack of any "burn" on the palate. On the front, I found vanilla and sweet honey. That morphed mid-palate to milk chocolate and red grapes. Then, on the back, a compelling blend of toasted oak, apricot, and cereal.

Finish:  The finish began as spicy, with oak and, of all things, rye.  That would be a result of the unmalted barley. When the spice fell off, it became a rich caramel. Unfortunately, the finish was short-to-medium in length. I would have loved to have it remain in my mouth much longer.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Out of nowhere comes this brand called The Busker, and let's just say with two of their four expressions under my belt, I'm impressed. This isn't going to blow your mind like the premium selections from Midleton, but when you're talking return on investment, The Busker Single Pot Still delivers. As one of the three components of The Busker's blend, I could pick out how the Single Pot Still influenced that. At the same time, this is a totally different experience. My only complaint is the finish was too short. I wish it could have gone on and on like the blend did. But, that's not a legitimate gripe, just an observation.  This one is taking a Bottle rating for me, and between the two I've tasted, I believe I like the Single Pot Still slightly more.  Cheers!

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

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