KWM Whisky Advent Calendar 2017: Day 14

14 12 2017

The name of this whiskey basically encapsulates what I’m feeling right now, just over halfway through Advent, with 26 posts in the books and 2 more on the way tonight, not quite soon enough to feel close to the finish but far enough along to make me wonder what the heck I was doing.  Writers Tears was so named to be evocative, in honour of those 19th century Irish writers who would descend on their favourite pub to soothe their frustrations and as a global boutique brand that did not need overt Irish references to find its niche in the whisk(e)y world.  (That said, the lack of any apostrophe in “Writers” makes it hard to come to any sensible grammatical conclusion about the name choice.  It just looks like two plural words standing awkwardly beside each other at a bus stop.)  Writers(‘) Tears is a refreshingly modern story:  it is the creation of Walsh Whiskey Distillery in southeast Ireland, a company which was only founded in 1999, and then only to make (seriously) Irish Coffee.  Walsh didn’t launch a solo whiskey until 2007 (made via supply agreements with other distillers) and didn’t have a physical distillery space of its own until LAST YEAR.  Writers Tears came into being in 2009, making it a shade younger than my dog (good boy, Eli).

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This Writers Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey bottling is 60% Single Pot Still Whiskey and 40% Single Malt Whiskey, though it comes from 100% Irish barley and contains no grain whiskey.  Let me explain.  Single malt whiskey refers to any whiskey made by a single distillery from malted barley (malting is a process where the raw barley is soaked to get it to germinate before being dried, helping the starches in the barley convert to fermentable sugar).  The limited distinction between this and single pot still whiskey (a purely Irish concept) is that single pot still whiskey features both malted AND unmalted barley in the mash (the liquid that ends up being fermented and distilled), which is distilled in a copper pot still.  The raw barley is supposed to lend spiciness and texture to the mix; I got more of the second here than the first.  This blend is a brilliant medium-amber colour and emits toasty honey, celery sticks, carrot cake, wheat field and vanilla cream aromas, any spiciness certainly of the baking variety.  Cream is also THE word to describe the palate, rich and smooth like steamed milk, soaked through with languid burnt sugar/creme brûlée flavours along with mocha frappuccino, star anise and Werthers’ Originals, all overlaid by a light maltiness.  Yeah, it’s as delicious as it sounds.  An absurd value for $52 — Irish whiskey now fully has my attention.

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