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Friday dram

Velvet Cap Irish whiskey

Another interesting Irish whiskey was launched on the 31st of May, the Velvet Cap.

After so many premium Irish whiskeys being released recently, I was delighted to see a lower-priced whiskey being introduced to the market. Velvet Cap is an old bonder’s brand that has now been adopted and revived by the Blackwater distillery near Waterford. For more info about the brand, I recommend that you read Peter Mulryan’s blog posts.

Velvet cap whiskey sample

The new Velvet Cap whiskey is a blend of 50% malt and 50% grain whiskeys, made at the Great Northern Distillery and Cooley’s, and sourced by the Blackwater distillery where they have also been further matured and blended.

The whiskey has spent some time in rye casks that have been refilled with stout. There also appears to be a certain port cask component in it.

The launch of whiskey was held online on Facebook, on Blackwater’s page with Omar Fitzell and Barry Chandler as hosts (but really it was hard to say who was the host and who was guest!). It was an enjoyable and informative evening. 

Velvet cap whiskey tasting

Nose

Definitely some different aromas from what I’m used to! Whole cereals with intense citrus and apricot jam. Hay. Is there a light beer aroma in there as well? There’s tropical fruit with a certain sourness to it, as well as butter biscuits.

Palate

There’s an immediate and intense spice with the first sip. Sweet-bitter orange marmalade. It’s quite light-bodied with bitter dark chocolate in the finish.

This whiskey has a flavour profile that I don’t drink usually. It’s interesting and different – but this doesn’t mean it’s not good! It has some intriguing flavours and I’m wondering if it’s the rye influence. I have some other rye whisky samples that I’ll open soon, so after I’ve tasted them I’ll probably know more about that.
I’m coeliac and stout/beer/ale cask finished whiskeys are not known to be safe to drink. Whiskey is never tested for gluten, and although the amount of gluten in these whiskeys likely is quite small it’s not necessarily small enough to be safe. It happens that I sip these whiskeys, but only for tasting purposes and in very small amounts. So it’s unlikely that I’ll buy a bottle of this, but I definitely think you should! It’s available at the usual online shops for a nice price.

The little parcel that Blackwater distillery sent out included the Velvet Cap whiskey and a nice branded Glencairn glass, but also a generous sample of their rye-based new make! I normally never like to drink clear spirits, there’s something about it that I just can’t handle. But this new make was different. It was very fresh and nice in flavour. The aromas gave some light citrus, deciduous forest after an early summer rain, some tobacco or fresh herbs. The flavours were also very fresh with citrus and a nice spice. It was very drinkable, and I’m looking forward to seeing what a few years in casks will do to it.

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