Origin: Galway (Irelabd)
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry PX, ex-Poitin
Added colouring: No
Owner: Micil Distillery
Average price: € 50.00
Official website: micildistillery.com
The history of this Irish distillery has its roots in the mid-nineteenth century, when Micil Mac Chearra was illegally distilling poitin (an unaged pot still) on a hill in Connemara, with the family maintaining the art of (lawful) distillation on Galway Bay over the years.
We come to his great-great-great grandson, Pádraic Ó Griallais, who in 2016 established a distillery in his honour, the first in over a century in Galway, producing poitin, gin and, from 2020, whiskey.
While waiting for the latter to be bottled, as is traditional in Ireland, at the end of 2021 the distillery has released two bottlings made from third-party whiskey, finished in proprietary casks: Micil Earls Island, a single pot still, and this Micil Inverin Small Batch.
The distillery makes no secret of the production process of this blended whiskey, which is very particular in its pursuit of flavours and aromas.
Starting with whiskies produced by Great Northern Distillery, an initial blend was created consisting of 20% virgin grain, 45% ex-Bourbon grain, 20% triple distilled peated malt, 10% double distilled malt and 5% triple distilled pot still.
The blend was matured in two types of casks, ex-Pedro Ximénex and ex-Bourbon re-charred, but after several tastings from the casks it was decided to add a double-distilled malt from 2017, matured in ex-Bourbon casks with finishing in ex-PX also from GND: do you have a headache? It’s not over yet!
Before joining it to the blend, the latter component was matured for nine months in ex-Poitin peated casks from Micil, which in turn had matured for six weeks in virgin Spanish chestnut casks.
The final blended, lowered to 46% proof, is therefore ultimately composed of 47.5% blend aged in ex-Bourbon first fill casks, 47.5% blend aged in ex-PX casks and 5% of the last malt addition in ex-Bourbon, ex-Poitin and ex-PX.
Madness? Perhaps, depending on the end result.
It’s the peat that emerges first on the nose, a mixture of burnt wood and grilled herbs dominated by juniper and thyme. And we are right on a barbecue, on the side of Angus fillet rather than pork ribs, on a bed of dried pineapple and orange slices, liquorice root, Worcester sauce and caramel. There’s also room for toasted cereal. Peculiar.
The darker components of liquorice, tamarind and blackberry grow on the palate, with apple chips, caramel, malt biscuits and coffee accompanying, all sprinkled with chilli and paprika. Cloves and herbs hold sway in the background, along with grass burnt on a bramble bonfire.
Quite long finish of liquorice, apple, dried citrus, unlit barbecue, herbs.
The final result is truly excellent. It’s difficult to say which of the meticulously chosen components most influenced the blended product, but the fact is that in the glass you have a unique and rich product, at a bargain price, that demonstrates a care and love for the distillate that is truly rare.