Well it’s nearly St. Patricks day and here are my thoughts on three random Irish Whiskies that happen to be in my possession; because that’s about as close to a coherent theme as I’m going to get.
First up the Clontarf Classic Blend – I happened to have this after a friend gave me half a bottle he had left over. It’s a blend and it looks very stylish with its black label. But I’m sorry to say that I thought this was pretty poor. I really struggled to get anything out of it beyond the sharp alchohol taste. There was a tiny hint of vanilla (subtle if you were being kind) but beyond that it was very spirity. Water just seemed to make it flatter. I don’t know – not the one for me I’m afraid. Also I don't know how my mate came by it because it seems tricky to get hold of.
Jameson – ah, now I’ve heard of this one. This was a little half bottle knocking about the cupboard. Darker than the Clontarf, certainly sweeter on the nose. Very pleasant nose, I was getting Rhubarb and Custard. It was nicely smooth – albeit with a bit of grain spirit edge, I wrote down burnt grass which represented a little bitterness. Not a long finish but pretty good all in. Plenty to recommend it, goes for about £21/bottle.
Finally Cassidy 5 year old. I have no idea if this exists outside of a M&S tasting pack – I’ve not found it for sale any other way. So I don’t know anything this distillery but there it is, I hope you weren’t coming here to be enlightened. To taste, less sweet than the Jameson but more buttery with a bit of vanilla – which I think is imparted by grain. A bit of alcohol burn but not bad. In my unscientific opinion it seemed like the edge was taken off with the aging. The best of the three.
So there you have it - 3 whiskies brought together for comparison for no other reason than the fact that they are Irish and it’s mid-March.
I don’t know if there’s much to conclude except that I won’t be buying another Clontarf, (even if I could find the stuff) I wouldn’t be averse to picking up a Jameson (although I have other blends to explore first). And I’ll probably never see another bottle of Cassidy again (unless it’s another M&S stocking filler).