Category: Friday dram

Method and madness single pot still whiskey Hungarian oak cask finish

Method & Madness single pot still, Hungarian oak cask finish

This Friday is not any Friday, it’s Good Friday. So should you have a dram on Good Friday? Some will say no, some will say yes.
I claim that if you have respect for the product, enjoy it responsibly and for the right purposes, there’s nothing wrong with having a dram on Good Friday. This of course is relevant for having a dram on whatever day!

I bought a bottle of the first Method and Madness single pot still some year ago, the one finished in French chestnut. Then of course I was very curious about the newer single pot still releases. I was a little annoyed about the 28-year-old though. Don’t misunderstand me, seeing older Irish whiskeys is nice and good for the variety in Irish whiskey, but when there were still so few new single pot stills out there, I preferred to see new whiskey releases in a price range for normal people and so that the whiskey will be enjoyed, not put on a shelf. Anyway, there is also another younger single pot still release, finished in Hungarian virgin oak. I tasted this a month or so ago at Shelbourne bar in Cork.

There are a few different types of Hungarian oak, and according the the Method and Madness website, this one used for this whiskey is Quercus Petrae, which grows densely in the north-east of Hungary where the conditions are harsh with cold winters and hot dry summers. It’s similar to the French oak but it grows more slowly and the wood has a higher density than the French oak.

This single pot still whiskey is first matured in a combination of first fill and refill ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in Hungarian oak for 11 months. It’s then been bottled at 46% ABV.

Soft creamy vanilla. Spices such as cloves. Something fresh fruity, perhaps green apple.

Slightly more dry than what I’m used to in single pot stills. There’s a nice sweetness and I sense a hint the woodyness of the virgin oak. A nice combination of soft vanilla and oak. There’s dry pepper at the end but not much spice on the palate otherwise. The finish is particular – something herbal with a feel of rosemary, gin herbs. It’s slightly too light bodied in my opinion, but has very nice flavours, it would have been interesting to taste it at cask strength.

With a few added drops of water the aromas are more intense, and there’s more pepper on the palate, and more oaky flavours.

This is a very nice whiskey although not among my favourite single pot stills. However, virgin oak and single pot still from Midleton is a very interesting combo!

Burke’s 14-year-old single malt

Some Wednesdays I go to Cork to attend a language exchange – and while killing some time, what better opportunity is there to go and taste some new (new to me) whiskeys?

My go-to whiskey bar in Cork is Shelbourne bar. It’s a brilliant place where they stock hundreds of Irish whiskeys – fabulous for someone like myself.

Ireland has lots of new whiskey brands, as well as old whiskey brands being revived. I’m very curious about these old brands, I want to learn more about them, about the history of them, and of course taste the new bottlings. What I always wonder when we speak about old brands is how much people have worked on trying to recreate the same style of whiskey as it used to be back in the days.

One new-old brand that I came across recently is Burke’s. The only information I’ve managed to find is from this page, that tells about the brothers Edward & John Burke who founded the company E & J Burke in Dublin. They were very successful with their whiskey, and they also opened branches in Liverpool, New York and Australia. It seems they were primarily bottlers, brewers and importers in those countries.

Although new bottlings of old whiskey brands may not be like it used to be, I like the concept of using historical brand names, because it is a way to keep a part of history alive.

The Burke’s 14-year-old single malt is Cooley spirit used for the first release by the Great Northern Distillery, opened in Dundalk by the great John Teeling in 2015.

This one was a single cask release that now sadly is all sold out. I’d guess (from the flavour profile) it’s matured in ex-bourbon casks, and it’s bottled at 59% ABV. This is a superb whiskey – some may think it’s useless to review a whiskey that you can’t buy, but who knows, they may release something similar again, and in whatever case – it’s available to taste in Cork (and maybe in other whiskey bars too).

LOADS of vanilla. Pepper, honey, and something herbal. I see that some people find fruity notes in this – I don’t, but I usually have difficulty finding fruity notes in whiskey, unless they’re very distinct.

Yet again vanilla, and the pepper comes in here too and goes along very well with the vanilla. There is something else going on in the background that I wasn’t able to define, could be cinnamon or something like that? Nice and soft texture.

I loved this whiskey. It’s a fine example of a really well made Irish whiskey, sweet, nice and creamy, but still good body and spice. As far as I can remember, it’s the first time I’ve had a cask strength whiskey from Cooley. I certainly hope it’s not the last!