Knappogue Castle Irish Whiskey

Summer is still upon us, so I don’t often feel like sitting down to sip a nice, warming glass of whiskey. But one recent night, after a long walk with my dog, it just seemed like the thing to do.

Knappogue Castle 12-year-old single malt Irish whiskey.

Knappogue Castle 12-year-old single malt Irish whiskey.

So I went to my liquor cabinet and there it was: Knappogue Castle 12-year-old single malt Irish whiskey. I had totally forgotten I even had this stuff because I hadn’t bought it. It was sent to me after I responded to a press release sent by the New York-based distiller. Let that serve as a disclaimer: I did not pay for the whiskey I am about to review.

Without further ado, let’s talk whiskey.

Taste

I think what I like best about this whiskey is how mellow it is. Before you even take a sip, you get a delightful whiff of alcohol. It almost burns your nostrils. But then you take a sip and it’s wonderfully smooth, though it does warm your esophagus as it goes down. The first thing you taste is vanilla and a hint of cinnamon, and it finishes with very smooth oak and ginger flavors. I’m a fan.

Profile

This clocks in at 40 percent ABV. According to the distiller’s website, “As a single malt Irish whiskey, it is crafted exclusively from unpeated, malted barley before being triple distilled through both pot and column stills. After distillation, it is aged for a minimum of 12 years in ex-bourbon casks before being bottled at 80 proof.”

How to drink it

That’s up to you. As I type this, I’m drinking it neat from a rocks glass. But if you prefer it cooled down a bit, you could serve it on the rocks or with a splash of water. Pick your poison. The only thing I would suggest is that you not mix it. This is really good, complex whiskey and mixing it would keep you from enjoying all the delicious and subtle flavors.

Value

Admittedly, this is pricey. You can buy a 750ml bottle directly from the distiller for $49.99 and Binny’s lists it for $39.99.

Metasip grade: A

This is a great sipping whiskey. It’s incredibly easy drinking and as sessionable (can you tell I’m usually a beer drinker?) as a whiskey can be. My only quibble is that it’s a little too pricey to be an everyday drink.

Quick Take: Mora’s Savvy Spirits Whiskey Club

Another Quick Take: and sorry if you whiskey lovers feel ignored. You shouldn’t be.

Ah, whiskey. Or whisky. Either way you spell it – well, Mora’s Savvy Spirits has a Whiskey Club to check out. NOTE: all the links below are affiliate links, so we’ll be compensated if you sign up.

Here goes…

Bourbon Club $72/month

Quick Take: Mora’s Savvy Spirits Whiskey Club

So we have a really hard time trying to keep track – Mora’s website has a crazy number of things on its website – all sorts of clubs to take advantage of, and here’s an affiliate link to the main site: Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits. (Tequila club? Not for me…yet. But I’m starting to head down that road. One of these days…)

We’ll admit that our whiskey skills on the site – and Dave’s own whiskey sampling – remain to be, uh, refined. But we’re getting there – and some of these reviews from our Metasip community might help us along:

Bulleit Rye Whiskey

Auchtenoshan American Oak

Granted, we don’t know if these end up in the monthly club at Mora’s – but given their track record with these clubs, the staff knows what they’re doing there.

Take a spin through the site and, of course, if you order something, let us know how it is!

 

Auchentoshan American Oak

Auchentoshan American Oak“American Oak.” How boldly non-European for this single malt scotch whisky. This Auchentoshan (with no specified age) has been matured in first fill American oak bourbon barrels and triple distilled. This triple distillation is something Auchentoshan insists on for all its whiskies which results in a higher ABV and usually a lighter nose and taste. Their American Oak is a great intro to the modern Auchentoshan.

So: real talk here. I usually check Master of Malt to learn more about scotch that I’m interested in—usually before I buy them, but sometimes afterwards. This was an afterwards: and they don’t even have it yet. That’s how new this release is.

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American Oak was produced under the purview of the woman that’s been called “The First Lady of Scotch,” Rachel Barrie, who holds the title of Master Blender for not only Auchentoshan, but also Bowmore and Glen Garioch, having moved to this post after serving as Master Blender for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg for 16 years. A chemist and research scientist by training, she treats her profession as a blend of science and art. “Usually I look for a sense of place,” she says.

Nose:

Vanillin, touch of citrus zest, caramel. Terrifically rich to the nose.

Taste:

The vanilla and caramel from the nose carry through to the tongue, joined by oakiness and a touch of spice. That oak? Like a fresh wood floor. Incredibly oaky, which becomes one note, held. Especially when contrasted with their Three Wood, which is one of my favorites and wonderfully well-rounded. The American Oak has a relatively crisp finish, though the usual scotch warming tingle takes place just afterwards, especially after the first sip. Smooth but not super easy drinking, by scotch standards.

No leather, no peat, and little smoke—and what little of it there is hovers near the finish—for those who don’t like those characteristics of scotch. This would be a good step number two for people just getting into scotch.

Profile:

40% ABV

Value:

List is $39.99 for 750 ml. If you’re Chicagoland-local, Binny’s has been putting American Oak on sale (as long as you have a free membership card) for five bucks less than list, at $34.99, but has been running out of stock regularly.

This is just a smidge more expensive than Auchentoshan’s Classic ($29.99), which it may be destined to replace, but less expensive than the other Auchentoshans, the Three Wood being the standard-bearer ($64.99).

Metasip Grade: B+

Excellent for its price point, but a little too one-note for an A-level grade. While normally I’m loath to use single malts in cocktails, this one from Auchentoshan’s site strikes me as particularly spritely for summer: Whisky-a-Lolo.

Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey

Guess what? We decided we needed to review more whiskey. So we did. Read on…

Prichards Tennessee Whiskey at Metasip

Prichards Tennessee Whiskey

We know we have a small sample size here: first a Moonshine, then Bulleit Rye. So we thought we’d take a look at something from a brand called Prichard’s. Here goes:

Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey Review

Prichard’s is a relative newcomer in the Tennessee whiskey field, third behind the rather bigger dogs Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel. The distillery styles itself as a small pot, craft producer.

Taste

Pop the cork and Prichard’s Tennessee whiskey has decent nose. On the tongue you get what you’d expect out of a Tennessee whiskey (caramel, oak, vanilla) plus a little more corn than usual. It also has some pleasant fruit notes. Smooth going in, stays on the back of the throat on the way down.

Profile

40% ABV, 80 Proof

Value

$39.95 Retail, 750 ml

Metasip Grade: C

For all the world I could not differentiate this whiskey, sufficiently, from any number of its more well known competitors. It comes off tasting an awful lot like George Dickel #8, all caramel and oak with a smattering of otherwise basic accents. It is smooth, goes down easy and is quite inoffensive but, not remarkable in any sense. It simply does not stand out.