So here we are again having a look at Tipperary. I thoroughly enjoyed their 10 Year Old, but to me this, the Red Wine Finish, was the stand out Whiskey. Why haven’t I written about it yet? Well, I left it at the back of the cupboard. So what makes this Whiskey a stand out? For starters, it’s a cask strength Whiskey, at 58.5%, and that makes it something I enjoy, but that draws out the richness of the flavour all the more. 10 Years in a second fill ex-Oloroso Cask gives it a whole boost of flavour, but it’s the 11 month finish in an ex-Rioja cask that really pushes the flavours forward for this nearly 11 year old Whiskey. I am told these casks come from Spain, directly from a trusted wine merchant and friend (cough cough Bodegas Faustino), and while that may be a marketing line, in this Whiskey it feels as though it really makes the difference. So I brought out my bottle from the back of the cupboard, felt disappointment when I saw how little was left, and poured that tiny touch into a glass to enjoy. Here’s what I found.
The cask strength may hurt other noses, but from this Whiskey it does nothing but good; strong Darrel Lea red liquorice straight from the bag, roobois, English breakfast and Melbourne breakfast tea flow along red currants over hot porous volcanic rock, left to heat in a camp fire. After that we see bunch of raspberries and goji berries, nice and warming though the night is cold and a drop of water brings forth thick luscious cherries. It does get a touch confused towards that end, but it is more boisterous than anything else and revels in its own existence.
Oh, that first drop on the tongue is ecstatic; honey ham and baked beans with a side of creamy coffee, an orange dotted with spices of cinnamon and incredibly light cloves. Compared against the nose the palate is incredibly calm and relaxed, the main joy of the dram. Carrots, brown sugar, plums and maraschino cherries make their way about too as they drift slowly by, and that drop of water gives way to simmering brown sugar and a hot espresso with a side of good, chewy toffee, reflected in the chewiness of the dram. Its a long finish, and were the spice shines; black pepper, cardamon, all spice and vanilla rolling steadily into a lovely toffee we chew on for a long time as the dram brings on quiet contemplation.
The Tipperary Red Wine Finish is a stunning Whiskey, and a clear difference from other red wine finishes to boot. Where others flounder in cask strength and ex-red wine casks, this Whiskey feels as though it was made for the both and the depth of care that has gone into it is clearly noticeable. Now, no Whiskey is perfect, and the problem with this is the availability. It’s just so damn hard to find, and that couldn’t come at a worse time considering I am now without a bottle. Every now and then however a release quietly comes onto the market, and should you find yourself at a shop or bar that has a bottle, have yourself a wee dram, and ride the red tide to a beautiful time. Excuse me, there appears to be a drop still left in my glass…