Today we take a look at the Clonakilty, more specifically their Port Cask expression form the Cask Series. As they became Ireland’s newest operational distillery just a few days ago at time of writing, it seemed fitting to sit down on Bowes for a drop. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and had brief look at the website. Count me in as excited for another new Irish distillery, but it’s the triple distilled single pot still they’ll be one day that has me on the edge of my seat. Now while I could spend some time talking about the distillery itself, I thought it best to save that for another day, and instead focus on what we all know and love; Whiskey.
The first of the Cask Series, the Port Cask is triple distilled from an undisclosed distillery, malt and grains aged in ex-bourbon for around 8 years before finishing in Port casks from the Douro Valley in Portugal. Before bottling, Clonakilty tell us it is “cut with water naturally filtered through our coastal rock formations”, adding their own little touch of home to really make the whiskey different. Not a lot of information on the whiskey is available unfortunately, so I’ve pieced together what I can. All in all though, it looks to be a brilliant addition to the already impressive line-up of Irish whiskey out there. As we all know though, it’s the taste that settles matters, so let’s dive into a glass.
Hint of soft raspberries come through on the nose, next to a healthy slather of strawberry jam, light cream and honey piled onto an old wooden spoon that forms the base of the nose. All this seems to sniffed in a garden as well, rose bushes, passionfruit vines and perfume spreading around us before the desert is served; a victorian sponge cake with whipped cream, sliced strawberries, topped with turkish delight, salt water taffy and Edinburgh castle rock, a beautiful nose.
Our palate is somewhat reduced on the sweetness, but makes a worthwhile turn into spicy and fruit territory; chili and cayenne pepper infused white chocolate, ruby red grapefruit, blackberries against a backdrop of violets graced with a touch of black pepper. The passionfruit returns again, this time mingling with touches of orange marmalade and a spray of salted lemon zest. The finish is nice and long, peppery and spicy with ginger, peaches, strawberries and cream, growing in strength to a mid point before a gentle fall away, a brilliant bell curve of flavour.
This was the first Clonakilty I’ve had the pleasure of drinking, and I should think I’ll be trying a few more as the weeks go by. The Cask Series looks to be interesting, though I’ll be dissapointed should they ever drop the port cask expression. Coupled with this is the fact that they’ve got the port cask right; quite a few whiskies have tried to do a port finish only to end up with something either too sweet or simply too much sugar, in the Clonakilty it feels as though the dram was planning a dip into port all along. Plus, priced around €55 or less from most places, it doesn’t break the bank to be investing in a bottle that may well be gone by the weekend. Enjoy your friday everyone, and enjoy something that makes you sit back and relax.