Today, I ventured into the international, tasting an Irish whiskey next to a bourbon. The Irish whiskey is distinctly different and lighter. It’s as if nothing is added, necessarily, but some of the harsher flavors of the newer world whiskies are taken out.
Irish whiskey seems kindly familiar every time I have it. I wonder if it’s possible with one sip to be transported back to that college spring break I spent in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day. I think of dark wood booths and reading, but not necessarily reading in dark wood booths. (In addition to that spring break, I also spent a week at an Irish literature summer school once-less kissing, more James Joyce).
I was actually a little surprised. I think of myself as more a bourbon or Scotch gal, but I when I sat down and listened to these two whiskies, I liked what the Irish had to say. But that's what this is all about - meeting some new friends. I approach whiskey like I approach people. I generally expect to like everybody unless they prove me wrong.
Today’s new friends: Angel’s Share Bourbon and Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey
What I knew: Straight bourbon, at least 4 years old, but no age statement, and 86.6 proof. Finished in port wine barrels.
What I learned:
This one was very interesting for a bourbon. It smelled like plump, sweet oranges, but the taste was much spicier than I expected, with a softness around the edges. Despite the finishing in port wine barrels, it was not especially sweet, and not syrupy or terribly caramelly like bourbons can get. It’s like the Port cancelled out some of the sweetness of the bourbon. It made me think of Autumn sunshine and a quiet walk through the park.
And at the same time: Tullamore Dew Blend
What I knew: Irish, triple distilled, no age statement.
What I learned:
The smell of this one was what I could only describe as cleaner. With maybe a little nutmeg. It had a rich, full flavor, with citrus hints, but not orangey in the way of the Angle’s Share. With a few drops of water, it became sweeter and softer, like drinking rosewater with a touch of honey.