“Standing proud on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in Kinsale, Co. Cork, we are Blacks, Ireland’s first co-located Brewery & Distillery.
Born out of passion by founders, husband and wife duo, Sam & Maudeline Black. What started as a hobby, after Sam was gifted a home brewing kit for Valentine’s Day from Maudeline many years ago, quickly became an obsession and a burning desire to experiment and create. It is this enthusiasm and drive that saw Blacks Brewery become a reality.” – Keeper’s Quest Brands
It was in 2013 when the Blacks opened their brewery and distillery overlooking the Bandon River. Their dream went beyond simply producing beer and spirits. What they made had to be unique and not another mass-produced product.
Blacks is a member of Ireland’s Origin Green – Bord Bia. It is a voluntary, state-run program that partners the government, private sector, farmers, and food producers with a shared mission of embedding sustainability in everything they do. For Blacks’ part, it actively reduces waste production and energy consumption and employs energy-efficient technologies. Blacks also plants an oak tree for every case of whiskey it sells.
Today I’m exploring Black Beak Citrus Galaxy IPA Cask. It is a single malt Irish whiskey that aged in (you guessed it) an IPA cask that held the brewery’s ale. It is brand-new to the American market. There’s not a lot of information available on this whiskey. However, legally it must be made of malted barley run through a pot still at a single distillery and aged in oak. The label suggests it is sourced, but I could not locate information on which Irish distillery is responsible for the distillate.
Bottled at 43% ABV (86°), it is packaged in 700ml, but Keeper’s Quest Brands, its exclusive US distributor, didn’t have pricing information yet. Due to this, the Bottle, Bar, or Bust rating will only consider the aroma and taste. And before I can do that, I must thank Keeper’s Quest for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.
Appearance: The yellow-gold liquid was poured neat into my Glencairn glass. It formed a medium-thick rim that released wide, slow tears.
Nose: It smells like this whiskey was aptly named, as a blast of grapefruit, orange, and lemon filled my nostrils. It took an effort to get beneath that citrus, and when I did, there was an aroma of freshly-cut hay. A malty note was easily discerned as I pulled the air into my mouth.
Palate: As this whiskey hit my tongue, it provided a thin mouthfeel. Honey, lemon oil, and vanilla were on the front, while the middle featured orange peel and white grapefruit. The back consisted of clove, oak, and black pepper.
Finish: Clove, oak, black pepper, and grapefruit remained in my mouth and throat. That sensation remained for several minutes. But, just as I thought that was the end of things, I tasted very dark chocolate.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I believe Blacks achieved its goal; this was unlike any Irish whiskey I’ve had. I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. I’ve had American Single Malts that were finished in IPA casks. From memory, those were more tangerine-like than the grapefruit the Blacks’ whiskey possessed. The honey and vanilla were reminiscent of Irish whiskey.
If bitter fruit notes don’t excite you, you probably won’t appreciate this whiskey. If you’re an IPA fan, you likely will. But, those looking for a typical Irish whiskey will be taken aback; there’s little that resembles one. Black Beak Citrus Galaxy IPA Cask is way off-profile, and because of that, you should try this before walking away with one. That’s a recipe for a Bar 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.