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  1. #1
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    Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    Sounds like an Irish Jack Daniels...one review indicated the Clontarf Irish Whiskey was too sweet...any opinions?
    Certainly a unique style for an Irish distiller.

    From Carbury Group Nov 99 Product News:

    "Clontarf is a truly unique Irish Whiskey. Distilled in Ireland using the finest grain and pure Irish spring water , the whiskey is aged with care in bourbon barrels and gently filtered through Atlantic Irish Oak charcoal to achieve a wonderful mellowness that will make Clontarf a champion among Irish Whiskies. Time honoured and traditional techniques produce the finest quality charcoal from Irish oak grown on the wild and rugged Atlantic coast of South West Ireland. In a slow and delicate process the smouldering embers finally produce a charcoal so fine that filtration produces a mellow Irish Whiskey of supreme quality and smoothness.

    Clontarf Irish Whiskey will be available in three varieties ;

    Clontarf Single Malt - a single malt with a sophisticated rich malty taste , full of texture , yet subtly smooth and lingering.

    Clontarf Reserve - a skilful blend of Single Malt and rich grain whiskies , delivering a uniquely fresh , smooth and spicy taste.

    Clontarf Irish Whiskey - extaordinarily rich , brimming with toffee and subtle oak , packed full of flavour and body."

  2. #2
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    The Clontarf brand was created by a certain Jim Murray with whiskey picked from the Cooley distillery. This would no doubt explain the "American connection" - apparently the charcoal mellowing is directly influenced by the JD practice.

    I have not tried it but I have tasted other Cooley products. One of them, Knappogue Castle, also had its bottles picked by Mr. Murray and, I believe, is exclusively aimed for the US market. Whether or not the similarities ends there, I do not know.

    Two things can be said about Cooley :
    1. They make good whiskey
    2. Theirs is not your typical Irish whiskey. In fact, to me they´re almost like a Scotch distillery based in Ireland. They double-distil and use peat in varying degrees.

    In contrast, The Old Bushmill´s distillery triple-distil and use no peat whatsoever and it shows. Even an amateur would be able to distinguish their make from single malt Scotch.

  3. #3
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    I have tried the Clontarf line, in this market it came in a three-in-one package. There were three bottles of about 8 ounces, formed to fit on each other and held together by tape and cellophane, sold as one unit. One was mostly a grain whisky, one was a richer blend, and one was a single malt, i.e., moving up the gradation of flavor. The whiskies were excellent. The basic one tasted a lot like a Canadian or good American blended whisky. The next two were richer and the malt seemed unpeated yet with a hint of Irish potstill taste, the linseed characteristic. Murray knows his stuff and these were good products, I haven't seen them here lately though.

    Comment on what Hedmans said about Bushmills: it is true few single malts in Scotland are triple-distilled. However, numerous Scottish single malts use little if any peat in their malt. I don't think any of the regular versions of Macallan are peated, for example. It remains true that Bushmills, of which the Black Label is the classic for me, doesn't really taste Scottish. It tastes somewhat Irish (potstill) even though it uses no true potstill whiskey (no raw grains). Maybe the yeast of Bushmill accounts for this Irish-tasting tendency, maybe i is the lack of peat, or both. As for Cooley, they are an excellent company and their peated whiskey is very good. It comes in three versions: regular, 12 year old, cask-strength. I have only had the regular one and the 12 year old once at a tasting.

    I guess if it was me, good as Clontarf is, I'd go for something more distinctively Irish. By my lights, this means Power's (a fine whiskey at a very low price), or Black Bush, which is more expensive than Power's but not greatly so. These typify Irish whiskey for me and tasting the others is, in in my humble opinion, not really necessary, although if you have the chance go for it. But for me it always comes back to Power's (which is 80% true potstill) and Black Bush which is a fine smooth velvety malt whisky, everything a malt should be at a favorable price. One can get the two here for about $50 (CAN) (i.e., together). Only in the bourbon world can you get a comparable value (say, Evan Williams 12 year old and Wild Turkey or Beam Black).

    Gary


  4. #4
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    The Irish climate, which despite the geographical proximity to Scotland is rather different, has been proposed by some as a key factor. If this is true then it should surely affect whiskey from Cooley, as well? Inspired by this post, I tried the Knappogue Castle (the 1992 vintage) the other day and I´m pretty sure that if I would´ve been treated to this in a blind-tasting then I would´ve mistaken it for a Scotch.

    All I know for certain is that even lightweight single malt Scotches like Glenfiddich and Glengoyne appears almost agressive in a comparison with Bushmill´s.

    Incidentally, THE Irish whiskey to me is the 12yo Redbreast. Not only is it world class but at least here in Europe it is also very priceworthy. I have no idea if this is available on the other side of the pond but if it isn´t then it should be.

  5. #5
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    Bushmill and some of the Midelton whiskies resemble the Scottish triple-distilled malts, I think. Take Auchtentoshan Triple Wood, for example, I think that bears a resemblance, more than passing, to Bushmills Black. Rosebank is like some Cooley whisky (even though Cooley is double-distilled). I think some of the Cooley line has been likened by Jim Murray to the Perthshire whisky style. But withal I agree, Irish and Scottish aren't really alike and climate difference certainly must be a factor. Then too, Irish stills are famously outsize; that probably contributes to their lightness and possibly imparts the linseed-like taste. I know many whisky fans admire Redbreast but it is one of the few whiskies I do not like, I find its petroleum-like scent and taste off-putting, even for the Irish style. For the linseed taste I like Power's or some bottlings of Green Spot because it is reined in. But Irish whiskey generally (i.e., any of the traditional pot still or single malt types) are high quality and so are the traditional blends like Jameson and Power's.

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    Hello - The 1993 and 1994 Knappogue Castles are Bushmills, while the other modern vintages are Cooley. There was a gap in production for the Cooley Distillery, and this might explain why Bushmills is used.

    The 1948 - 1951 vintages are from the old Tullamore Daly Distillery and are some of the best whiskeys in the world. They also have a bourbon note.

    I think the producers of Clontarf and Knappogue are now the same company after a takeover. I am not that fond of the Clontarf, but I haven't given it a fair enough chance.

    I am not a huge Bushmills fan, but the 1975 Millennium version is superb.

    I agree about Powers. It's what I reach for most often. The Powers 12 yr old is also superb. I also love the Redbreast and Green Spot. I wish Midleton would produce more pure pot still versions.

  7. #7
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    Jameson Gold - is my favourite Irish whisky (I've only had about 10 my whole life though !). Very strong Bourbon notes on the nose and really good bitter / sour / sweet balance on the palate. Lovely (It's duty free only).

  8. #8
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    Jameson Gold - is my favourite Irish whisky (I've only had about 10 my whole life though !). Very strong Bourbon notes on the nose and really good bitter / sour / sweet balance on the palate. Lovely (It's duty free only).
    -- the gold is put in sherry casks or barrels. That gives it a distinctively different taste from what I'll call "true Irish whiskey."

  9. #9
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    Re: Clontarf Whiskey: Any impressions?

    Jameson Gold - is my favourite Irish whisky (I've only had about 10 my whole life though !). Very strong Bourbon notes on the nose and really good bitter / sour / sweet balance on the palate. Lovely (It's duty free only).
    -- the gold is put in sherry casks or barrels. That gives it a distinctively different taste from what I'll call "true Irish whiskey."
    Many many irish whiskeys are matured in sherry casks - especially the Jameson brands. Some of the Jameson Gold is matured in virgin oak, just like bourbon. This is what gives it some bourbon notes, as well as the unmalted barley. it is a beatuiful whiskey.

 

 

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