Connemara is named after a defunct Irish distillery, and the whiskey is produced as Irish whiskey (and Scottish) would have been before the advent of drum maltings: with peat fires. Connemara is reportedly peated at around half the phenol ppm of Islay malt, rendering it milder. There is some confusion about the source of Connemara’s peat…
The Quiet Man, a new brand partnered with Luxco for distribution, is the first Irish whiskey bottled (and soon, distilled) in Derry, Ireland in more than 100 years. While the distillery is under construction (slated for completion around now, early 2018), the brand sources Irish whiskey with a “high” (undisclosed) malt percentage, and marries the blend in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels.
The whiskey was distilled in 1999 and matured exclusively in Caribbean rum casks and bottled without chill filtration at 46% ABV. Only 10,000 bottles of the limited edition were released, and retailed in select countries (not the US) for £85 to £100.
I felt about the standard bottling that it could do with less watering-down, and along comes a Cask Strength sample for me to verify that assumption! Walsh releases a yearly bottling of the Writers’ Tears Cash Strength (around 2000 bottles a year) with a different label and packaging, and it does not appear to ever make it to the US market. The whiskey is aged in first-fill American oak and bottled without chill filtration. The 2014 edition is a respectable (but not extreme) 53% ABV.
Despite the “Powers” name, this release bears little resemblance to the bottom-shelf Powers blend, which is a typical Irish blended whiskey containing both pot-still whiskey and cheap grain whiskey. The John’s Lane bottling is 100% single (formerly “pure”) pot still Irish whiskey. … triple-distilled in copper pot stills by Midleton from a recipe of both malted and unmalted barley and aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon and sherry casks …
The Irishman is a brand of sourced Irish blended whiskey released by the very-much-not-a-distillery Walsh Whiskey Distillery Ltd., which also sells the very popular Writers’ Tears. Like Writers’ Tears, this is actually not a “blend” in the typical sense. It is a mixture of 70% single malt Irish whiskey with 30% single pot still Irish whiskey, with no column-still grain whiskey in sight.
Produced by the same bottler (NOT distiller) who sells The Irishman blend, Walsh Whiskey Distillery Ltd., Writers’ Tears is a novel vatting of 40% triple-distilled Irish single-malt whiskey “probably” from Cooley (but the source is unknown), and 60% triple-distilled Irish single pot-still whiskey from Midleton, the only distiller of mature single pot-still whiskey — for now!. The vatting is aged for an undisclosed amount of time in ex-bourbon American oak casks and bottled without chill-filtration at 40% ABV.
Author Fionnán O’Connor has assembled a beautiful coffee table style hardcover book entirely about the magic of Irish single pot still (previously called Pure Pot Still) whiskey. In the author’s own words, “It’s worth repeating that there aren’t really that many of them. What’s left from the past can be difficult to find and, although the future looks brighter than it has in a century, what’s bottled at present is still relatively slim. … that’s also why this book seemed worth writing in the first place and I can only hope that that same narrowness of scope might offer me a little more room to give each of these tipples the attention they deserve.”
…Green Spot isn’t cheap to start with. Nor, presumably, are empty grand cru Bordeaux barrels from Château Léoville-Barton. Midleton has taken the classic Green Spot and aged it for an additional 1 to 2 years in the French oak Bordeaux casks, before bottling at 46% ABV.
The West Cork Distillery is a new (opened in 2003 as an experimental “pet project” and then expanded to its current location in 2013) and actually independent Irish distiller, unlike the previous poster-child for Irish (whiskey) independence, Cooley, which sold to Beam Suntory in 2011. Among other things, West Cork bottles this blend and a 10 year-old Irish Single Malt.