Origin: Killarney (Ireland)
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon first fill, ex-Tawny Port
Added coloring: No
Owner: Wayward Irish Spirits
Average price: € 60.00
Official website: www.waywardirish.com
The O’Connell family has ancient roots in County Kerry, Ireland, going back as far as 1450 when they imported wines from Spain and Portugal from Ballycarbery Castle.
Various historical vicissitudes, driven above all by the protest against English domination, brought the O’Connells to Killarney, on the Lakeview Estate, an area with a microclimate particularly favourable to the cultivation and, later, the production of whiskey.
Renovating an old stone farmhouse as a storage area for maturing barrels, the family grows their own barley, with the first distillation finished to rest in 2019.
Having no whiskey of their own yet, Wayward currently resorts to bonding, bottling distillate procured from third parties, with the inaugural release taking place in 2019.
They currently have three bottlings: the present one and a Small Batch Double Port made in two versions, at 46% proof and full 61.7% proof.
This second batch of their inaugural release is in every way similar to the first, and is the result of blending whiskies from two distilleries, 22% from a 2006 vintage from Cooley and the remaining 78% from a 2015 from Great Northern, with the latter having spent around a year in casks containing Tawny Port. The whiskey was cut on a weekly basis before bottling, reducing the strength by about two degrees at a time.
Limited edition of 1,000 bottles, the name is a tribute to Daniel O’Connell who was a political leader in the first half of the 19th century, called The Liberator for his fervent campaign in favour of the emancipation of Ireland from British rule.
Light amber in the glass.
The nose is greeted by a rich compote of red fruits with strawberries, raspberries and cherries in which pineapple, candied orange peel, almonds, toasted malt and caress of wood are immersed. Vanilla, cinnamon and pepper come to the fore. Slight alcohol tingle.
Warm and spicy mouthfeel, dry and rather oily, the red fruits become less jammy leaving less mellifluous tones of rhubarb, lemon, dark chocolate, liquorice root. Vague smoky aftertaste from the toasted malt. Compact and balanced.
Medium long and dry finish with saline touches, re-proposing the sweetness of red fruits muted by the toasted wood and with a splash of lemon.
The Port pipes have done no harm, on the contrary, if they seem to dominate the nose, they find balance in the mouth in a not obvious and accommodating dram, especially in the very satisfying finish.