Irish whiskey is a lovely category. It was once the most popular spirit in the world. Trade wars, taxation, malpractice, war, and, of course, Prohibition in the United States nearly killed it off. There were only three working distilleries in Ireland at its low point, but Ireland has been enjoying a resurgence in distilling over the last several years.
Irish whiskey is defined as a whiskey distilled in Ireland from a mash of malted cereal grains, which can be combined with other cereal grains. It must age in wooden casks no larger than 700 liters for at least three years in the country. The only additives allowed are water and caramel coloring and must retain the color, aroma, and flavor of this process.
One of the four types of Irish whiskey is called single grain. That term can be confusing. As is in the case of Scotland, the term single refers to one distillery used in the distillation process. As such, you’re not looking at a single grain containing only one type of grain. Instead, it can have multiple grains and still be called single grain.
Today we’ll explore a single grain from Glendalough Distillery called Double Barrel Whiskey. The exact distillery is undisclosed, but the mash is made from corn and malted barley. The double barrel part refers to the aging process. The whiskey spent at least three years in ex-Bourbon barrels from Wild Turkey then spent another six or so months finished in former 700-liter Oloroso sherry butts.
Once that process is complete, spring water from the Wicklow Mountains was used to proof it to 42% ABV (84°), and there are no statements regarding chill-filtering or added color. Due to the proof, the assumption would be that it is chill-filtered. You can expect to pay about $35.00 for a 750ml package.
Before I get started on the tasting notes, I want to thank Glendalough for providing me a sample of Double Barrel Whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, I’ll #DrinkCurious to learn more…
Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, Double Barrel Whiskey was the color of deep gold. A medium-thick rim formed that created wide, fast legs.
Nose: I was taken aback by how complex the nose was, made of apple, nuts, honey, date, toasted oak, and then, behind all that, was a floral bouquet you might expect from rye. As I drew the aroma into my mouth, a wave of honey and vanilla rolled across my tongue.
Palate: The texture was light-bodied but creamy. Brown sugar, apple, and pear were on the front. The middle consisted of vanilla, honey, and toasted nuts. Then, I tasted cocoa powder, roasted coffee, cinnamon, and dry oak on the back.
Finish: Medium in length, the first note I discovered was smoke. Where did that come from? Cinnamon, oak, vanilla, and toasted nuts followed.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I honed in on that smoky finish. There were no hints on either the nose or palate that it was coming. Did it come from the sherry butts or the Bourbon barrels, or was it just dumb luck? I appreciated how much Double Barrel Whiskey kept me guessing. Frankly, I think this is genius, especially for the price. I can’t think of a single reason why this shouldn’t have it, so I’m crowning it with my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.