Showing posts with label Three Drams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Three Drams. Show all posts

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Three Drams, Three Trumps! Plus: Cork Whiskey Fest coming soon!

Three Drams, Three Trumps!

Recently, I came across an early 2021 box from Little Island based Three Drams . They operate a subscription service, sending you three drams (3C) every month, 2-months or 3-months and follow up with an online discussion where you can join in and get lots of info from the producers. It is an excellent service. My trio, detailed below, were all excellent but it looks as if just the Dingle one is currently available. Then again you may strike it lucky just as I did!


Cork Whiskey Fest coming soon! Details and tickets here.


Dingle Single Malt 46.3% ABV

Widely available at c. €55.00

Up to the start of this decade, Dingle had been releasing Single Malts in limited releases, the batches by number. By then though, stock had been built up and they decided this was the time to release a Single Malt that would last into the future (though the intention is to continue to make limited numbered releases available). So what we have here is the core Single Malt and the aim is for continuity, that this particular whiskey will be consistent into the future.

None of this came about by chance. The plan had been there for years. And it wasn’t just stocks of spirit that were required. Dingle style requires predominantly sherry casks and stocks of these rare (and getting rarer) containers also had to secured.

And another element of continuity is the vat where the spirits (61% from those Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, the rest from Bourbon) are matured. There is something of a solera element here as Dingle Master Distiller Graham Coull disclosed on a social media tasting that the vat will not be totally emptied but will “always be topped up”.

He also said that the age of the spirit is in the 5 to 7 year old range and the basis will always be that Pedro Jimenez. “We set our stall out on having a high sherry input so we have relationships to get an ongoing supply of quality casks, not an overnight thing.” Dingle Distillery’s hugely anticipated Core Single Malt release is here to stay. 

This Core Single Malt release has, as you’ve seen, been years in the making and comprises of malt whiskey that has been matured in ex-Bourbon, and PX sherry casks. It is bottled at 46.3% and non-chill filtered. This is a very interesting whiskey in which the component casks come to the fore at different stages.

There’s a striking nose here with a lime zest and crushed mint standing out. Flavours are complex: juicy raisins, Christmas cake and honey, letting you know the major influence of the PX. And the honey and spice linger long. But nothing cloying or heavy here. A well-planned and well executed whiskey, one for the long term!

Killarney 8 Year Old Inaugural Whiskey 46% ABV

Killarney pic

This is the inaugural whiskey from Killarney Brewing & Distilling Company, a premium blend of 8 year-old Irish whiskey, paired with Killarney’s own barrel-aged Imperial stout. A limited edition whiskey, it was finished in their own Killarney small batch Imperial Stout casks. The stout is matured in the same Killarney Whiskey casks and designed to complement the flavours of the whiskey blend. And you do get a large bottle of the stout with the whiskey, at least you did, until the limited issue whiskey sold out!

Only 1092 bottles have been produced of this unique offering and it is in celebration of the year The Annals of Innisfallen (Killarney’s “Book of Kells”) were released. This collector’s edition pays homage to the storied monks of Innisfallen Island, located in Lough Leane, Killarney.

Killarney’s Brian O’Leary says the project was “started years ago” and they began to work on it with renowned distiller Noel Sweeney. While the whiskey was maturing, the company’s new distillery and brewery on the Killorglin road was taking shape, a very impressive complex now that includes a 170 seat restaurant and a fantastic cocktail bar on the roof with splendid views over  the spectacular reeks just to the south.

They wanted their first whiskey to be elegant with the beer barrel playing a role but not being allowed to dominate. It was huge effort but they came up with a very drinkable and balanced whiskey and Brian said there was a great response to it. Nose is fresh and light with hints of white peach and pears, flavours of caramel and banana, malt and chocolate, with a smooth and red apple finish. Light, elegant and subtle, as ordered. Perhaps, they’ll try and replicate it in the near future! Just don’t use my favourite Casey Brothers stout - I want that just as it is!

As I write, the Fossa complex is not quite completely open - no tours yet - but you can book a meal in the restaurant and the tap room is also up and running. Keep an eye on their social media for opening times; tours are due to start soon.

The whiskey, which is now sold out, cost €99.95 (including a large bottle of the stout).

Thomond Gate Miguel Hogan 60.11% ABV

Nick Ryan, founder of Thomond Gate Whiskey, has many interests and one is history. And that was how this whiskey came to be known as Miguel Hogan.

Colour is a fairly rich gold with tints of rose. The aromatics are quite a mix, mainly fruity, but also creamy vanilla, honey, even wine gums, all at play. Busy too on the palate with spicy cinnamon and sweet honey, more fruit (pears, grapes) and no real let-up as the finish lingers on. Very interesting balance between the grain and the ruby port cask. Doesn’t drink like a sixty per-center!

Nick Ryan: “Very much a Limerick brand… this is something I wanted to bring back to Limerick.. to put it on the whiskey map. Very pleased to have been able to source from Great Northern.”

And it was also in Great Northern that he, with help from the crew there, found the Ruby Port pipe. “It is straight from the cask, this is full character, big fruity nose… Taste it a bit and then add a drop of water.”

Oh yes, that magic drop of water. It never fails. Just a few carefully counted and inserted drops and everything is enhanced, especially in the mouth where the fruit, spice and honey seem to find a brio that had been in waiting for just a drop of the old H2O.

And Miguel? “..Galloping Hogan, the rebellious hero from the parish of Doon, Co. Limerick. Having following the Irish Brigade to France (in 1691), his service in the French Army was cut short. After duelling with his cousin, he left for Portugal under the punishment of death. Known as Miguel Hogan, his renowned night-time manoeuvres, perfected in the defence of Limerick, were quickly put to good use. In memory of Miguel Hogan and the blood he shed for Portugal, we have sourced a Single Malt Whiskey, which has been finished in a Ruby Port Cask. A tribute to his rebellious spirit, which found hope and peace in his adopted home and with a Portuguese marriage.”

And another little bit of history. “It has been 100 years since Limerick had its own whiskey and in memory, we pay homage to the long lost distillery of Thomond Gate which sat on the banks of the River Shannon between 1809 and 1919. The distillery was named after the fortified city gate which in times before the building of John’s Gate in 1494.”

Thomond make small batches (often just a cask) and release just a cask at a time. If you are (very) lucky enough and come across a bottle of this one on sale, it will set you back around €100.00.