Showing posts with label Irish Single Malt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irish Single Malt. Show all posts

Friday, March 17, 2023

Black Beak Citrus Galaxy IPA Single Malt Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


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.


Let’s #DrinkCurious.


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.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Limavady Irish Single Malt, Single Barrel Review & Tasting Notes

In ye olde 1750, alongside the River Roe in County Londonderry, Ireland, John Alexander began making whiskey on his family farm and called his distillery Limavady. Limavady remained in business in one form or another, including adding a brewery, until it was shuttered in 1915 when Distiller’s Finance Corporation (DFC) acquired several Irish distilleries and killed them off.


Then, 260-something years later, Darryl McNally, a well-respected veteran of the distilling industry under Bushmills and The Dublin Liberties, traced his family tree and discovered he was related to the Alexanders who began the distillery.


“Limavady kept calling, so I said, let’s grab this with both hands. My brother—who was also a distiller at Bushmills—left as well to come into the family Limavady.” – Darryl McNally


But McNally didn’t want to simply do another me-too whiskey, especially since he had to source barrels. He planned on offering Irish single malt whiskey but took things a step further. He concentrated on single barrel, single malt whiskeys. While the single-barrel idea isn’t unheard of in Ireland, it is unusual.


You know me; unusual is something that always grabs my full attention!

While Limavady doesn’t disclose who distilled its whiskey, we know it is made from 100% malted and unmalted Irish barley that’s been triple-distilled in copper pot stills, then aged in ex-Bourbon barrels for about four and a half years. At that point, McNally selects his barrels of whiskey.

Next, the matured whiskey is dumped and finished in former Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry casks, giving it a chance to pull fruity notes from the wood. Those PX casks are lovingly referred to as Darryl’s Barrels.

Sourcing barrels of whiskey won’t last forever; McNally has a distillery planned so he can make everything in-house and bring distilling back to its historical roots.

Packaged at 46% ABV (92°), it carries a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Each bottle is labeled with the barrel number and bottle number. In the case of the sample that was provided to me, it is Barrel 0082, Bottle 452 of 846. And, speaking of the bottle, the brand didn’t spare any expense. It is an attractive, embossed bottle with Limavady printed lengthwise along the side, 1750 above the label, and has a bulbous neck with a glass stopper.

The bottling process and distribution are performed by WhistlePig, which has partnered with McNally. That allows McNally to concentrate on his whiskey without the hassles of logistics.

Now that we know the backstory, the only thing left is to #DrinkCurious. But, before I do, I thank WhistlePig for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it!

Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a whiskey the color of bronze. A thick, heavy rim yielded sticky tears that slowly crawled back to the pool.


Nose: The journey began with an evident PX influence, with strawberry, apple, pear, and honey, followed by malt and buttery toffee from the Bourbon. When I inhaled through my mouth, honey and pear rolled across my tongue.


Palate: Thick and viscous, the whiskey imparted flavors of raw honey, stewed apple, and peach on the front of my palate. The middle consisted of malted barley, grass, and caramel, while the back featured cinnamon, oak, and graham crackers.


Finish: Cinnamon spice and oak tannins dominated the beginning, then syrupy honey seemed glued to my mouth and throat. Stewed peaches and apple pie filling slid by, with the whole shebang remaining for several minutes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Limavady has a complex nose, an unusually thick mouthfeel, and a spicy, fruity palate. Its long-lasting finish gently warmed my throat, and I caught myself smiling as I analyzed the experience. To offer a 46% ABV single malt at $50.00 ranks this one heck of a bargain, and I can’t think of a single reason why it hasn’t earned my Bottle rating. On a side note, Limavady is one of the better Irish whiskeys I’ve sampled this year. 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.