Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 10

10 12 2014

Here come the internationals!  After 9 consecutive days of scotch whisky, the KWM finally departed Scotland’s shores and ventured all the way to…well, Ireland for Day 10.  But a short hop is better than no hop at all!  I’m delighted to start checking out the other whiskies of the free world, and almost as delighted to finally get to spell it as I’m naturally inclined to:  “whiskey”.  The bottle told me I could.  I read recently that a handy guide for how you should spell the word “whisky” with respect to a given bottle is to look at where it’s from:  if it’s from a country without an “E” in its name (like Scotland, or Japan), don’t put an E in “whisky”, but if there is an “E” in its name (like Ireland, or the United States), put an E in “whiskey”.  Not sure if that holds up across the board, but it works here.

Stellar looking bottle plus an E in "whiskey" to boot. I'm happy.

Stellar looking bottle plus an E in “whiskey” to boot. I’m happy.

Tonight’s whiskEy is a small batch Irish Whiskey from Teeling distillery, which is a high-malt blend finished for 6 months in ex-rum barrels (take that, Oloroso sherry casks!) and bottled at 46%.  There’s not much that legally differentiates Irish whiskey from scotch whisky apart from their country of origin, although Irish whiskies are almost never peated, are usually distilled three times in a pot still and tend to be less regulated in terms of contents.

First things first:  this is a GREAT looking bottle.  I don’t have an exact price on this one, but I think it would come in somewhere between $50 and $60 retail, which may make it the cheapest bottle in the calendar to date.  But it’s delicious.  It comes across half pretty and half acrid on the nose:  bananas (with peel), cardamom, peaches and cream, but also glue/varnish, parchment and old paint.  Then the rum influence swoops in once the whiskey is on your tongue, soft and sweet, bathing the palate in honey, maple syrup, butterscotch and burnt sugar on a background of tropical fruits.  Really, once you think “dark rum” it’s hard to taste any other influence, but if you love dark rum (which I do) and are sick to death of Oloroso sherry aging (which I am), you’ll find this a glorious diversion.  Hoping for more globetrotting tomorrow!

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