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Whiskey reflections / Whiskey reviews

Knappogue Castle 12-year-old single malt, Marsala cask finish

It’s February 2021 already. After a long January full of misery, I took some time to go through old blog posts and organise photo backups, at least partially to forget about said misery. While looking through all the photos used in this blog, I was reminded of all the enjoyment that this blog and preparing all those posts gave me last year. I was out in the garden taking photos of whiskey every week (and ran out of ideas for whiskey photos too) and in the evenings I chatted with people on Twitter and made some new connections. Actually, despite everything bad that 2020 gave us, I have lots of good memories.

While remembering these enjoyable moments, I was inspired to kick off this blog again and come back to writing more than once a month. I have plenty of nice whiskeys that need to be mentioned and lots of samples too. Before Christmas – actually way before Christmas – I bought a sample pack from Dick Mack’s, with the new Blue Spot, a Killowen, and this Knappogue Castle.

Reviews on accessible whiskeys

After my post in May last year, in which I shared my thoughts about the Redbreast Dream Cask of 2020, I received some comments on Twitter where people expressed that there are too little reviews out there on affordable whiskeys – where affordable means below €100. I was inspired to actually focused on such whiskeys on this blog, and decided to try to taste some more of the classics. Now, with all the new brands and releases on the Irish whiskey scene recently, “classics” may be a weird way to put it, because there are many newer whiskeys that may fall into that category. But in reality, much of the new releases are limited editions, single casks, small batches that sell out fast, so to me, the Tyrconnells, Knappogue Castles, Kilbeggans and Midleton core whiskeys are still the main classics because to me, classics are reliable whiskeys that are available to buy at any time. Probably some Teelings, Writer’s Tears and others also fall into this category now.

Whatever the definition of a classic whiskey is, there are many widely available whiskeys that I haven’t yet tasted, and they deserve to be mentioned on this blog for anyone who is interested in them.

This doesn’t mean I will never write about a nice single cask. I’ll do that now and then, because this blog is about exploring the world of Irish whiskey, and that also includes limited editions whenever I have the opportunity to taste one. Also, when a new distillery or brand releases a whiskey, limited edition or not, it’s interesting to find out what they’re about.

The 12-year-old Knappogue Castle Marsala cask finish

This Knappogue Castle is in fact a limited edition or at least they call it that. It is still available to buy – perhaps there are new batches coming all the time? After having tasted this one, I was about to buy it for my birthday, but changed my mind. It is a lovely whiskey though and I highly recommend it.

This whiskey is a part of the Cask finish series of which there’s also a Barolo cask and French oak cask, and I know there has been a Burgundy cask too. Perhaps I should try these eventually.

12-year-old Knappogue Castle Marsala cask finish

All these 12-year-old whiskeys from the cask finish series are matured for at least 12 years in bourbon casks, then recasked for an unknown amount of time. In the case of Marsala, Marco de Bartoli Marsala casks have been used.

Nose

Nice and elegant, quite pronounced nose with apricot jam, hints of orange, raisins or other dried fruit, spice and leather.

Palate

This is fabulous. There’s fresh sweet tropical fruit with oak. Some toffee, dried fruit, nutmeg, sweet flavours, general goodness. The finish is long and gorgeous with spice and dried fruit.

Maybe I should get a bottle of this after all? It’s available to buy (and is exclusive to) Celtic whiskey shop.

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