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Friday dram

Tyrconnell 10 years old, Madeira cask

The Tyrconnell is a whiskey brand that I’ve underrated for a long time. I tasted a few of them at Malt Lane in Kinsale a couple of years ago when we still lived in Sweden but were over in Ireland for holidays. I liked the whiskeys but after coming home, I forgot about them.

Later, my husband bought this bottle during a work trip. We enjoyed a few drams of it but after moving to Ireland, some things have ended up in mysterious places. Or hidden behind other whiskey bottles.

A few weeks ago I tried to organise my whiskey shelves and found this one. After tasting it again, I wondered why I had hidden that bottle for so long!

Tyrconnell 10-year-old single malt Madeira cask finish

Being not only a whiskey enthusiast but also a music lover, I know the name Tir Connaìll from the old emigrant song “Noreen Bawn”. When I learned the song, I was certain the place Tir Connaìll mentioned there had given the name to the whiskey. But it seems that’s not the case.

Tir Connaìll was an antique kingdom of old Gaelic Ireland, located in what is now County Donegal, but included also parts of other counties. I’ve tried to find more information about it, but with no success. According to Wikipedia, it continued to exist until the 17th century but seems like the name remained for some time because I’ve seen a map from 1927 where the area still was called Tir Connaìll.

I’m very interested in history and want to learn more about the story behind Irish whiskey brands. I’m not the right person to decide whether or not there’s truth behind the stories told here and there, but I sure love reading them, and there are probably at least bits of truth in most of them.

When it comes to The Tyrconnell whiskey, instead of a story about the old kingdom, there is a story about a racehorse named Tyrconnell. In 1876, he won the National Produce Stakes horse race, to many people’s surprise. Among the crowd was the distiller A.A Watts who decided to create a small batch whiskey to celebrate the event. He gave the whiskey the name The Tyrconnell and it’s said to have become very popular.

Cooley distillery purchased the brand in 1988. It’s now a double distilled single malt, and there are some different expressions out there.

When we tasted the three 10-year-olds at Malt Lane, my favourite was the Madeira cask. I usually really like Madeira cask finished whiskeys, more than other fortified wine casks. This one is no different.

Tyrconnell 10-year-old single malt Madeira cask finish

Nose

Interesting nose with dried citrus peel, raisins, sweet liquorice, a hint of leather and Aurum liqueur.

Palate

Nice flavours of dried berries, rosehip, honey, caramel.. a light hint of sweet liquorice here too. Dry but sweet finish.

This is a lovely whiskey. I remember having a drop of the standard Tyrconnell a few months ago, it was nice but nothing out of the ordinary. This one has a bit more … hmm.. pizzazz? I’ll happily recommend it. They seem to have redesigned the label but it’s available at Celtic whiskey shop. The newer release has spent some time in bourbon casks again after the Madeira finish, I don’t know if that’s the case with my older version. But in any case, it’s very likely just as nice.

2 Comments

  • Whiskey Nut
    18th April 2020 at 11:49 am

    I don’t know if the horse running in different direction on the new label makes any difference either!
    Always a pleasure to revisit the old classics.
    On a back to back tasting the port finish suited me best.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      18th April 2020 at 12:02 pm

      Haha, I didn’t notice that about the horse! Only that the new label looks more minimalistic.
      Port cask finished whiskeys are always good too, and sometimes I find it difficult to find any big differences between Madeira, port and Marsala finishes. That was the case at least at a Bushmills tasting I attended last year. All of them were impressive with dried berry goodness. When I get the opportunity I’ll taste some of these whiskeys, perhaps the Tyrconnells, side by side to train my nose and palate.

      Reply

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