I’ve never wanted a whiskey more than this one. Not because I expected it to be that brilliant whiskey – after all it’s only been matured for three years. It’s rather because it’s the first single pot still whiskey to be produced at a non-Midleton distillery for many, many years, and I think it’s about time that Ireland starts producing more single pot still whiskey again. After all, pot still whiskey is unique to Ireland and something to be proud of.
About pot still whiskey
So for those who don’t know, what is pot still whiskey? I’ve read some labels on bottles or on certain distillery websites that they make pot still whiskey but then in the next breath, they say it’s a single malt.
Pot still whiskey isn’t just whiskey distilled in a copper pot still.
Whiskey – in different forms – has been produced in Ireland for centuries, and in 1785 the English introduced a tax on malted barley. Many Irish solved the situation by malted barley with unmalted barley, and a small amount of other grains (up to 5%, according to today’s regulations), and pure pot still whiskey was born. However, it seems like unmalted barley in Irish whiskey mashbills was in use long before this.
In the 1800’s, pure pot still was the most popular type of whiskey in the world, but after the fall of the Irish whiskey industry after World War II, it almost disappeared from the market. Midleton has kept a few brands alive but after the merge of Irish whiskey distilleries, many formerly pot still whiskey brands became blends.
The name “pure pot still whiskey” is no longer in use, and now you’ll only hear single pot still whiskey or just pot still whiskey. There is some hope for us pot still whiskey lovers because during the last 10 years we’ve seen new Powers single pot still bottlings, new Redbreasts added to the standard collection, there's Yellow Spot, new variations of the Green Spot, as well as interesting pot still whiskeys under the Midleton brand. There are also some new distilleries that plan on making single pot still, so the future of pot still whiskey looks very promising.
I was delighted to know about the Dingle pot still whiskey release. They are quite brave in that they release whiskeys after only three years of maturation, but I understand that they do. Most whiskeys under new brands today are sourced from well-established distilleries, and it’s refreshing – and gives hope for the future of Irish whiskey – to see new distilleries releasing their own whiskey.
This young pot still whiskey was unavailable outside of Ireland, and I kept my hopes high that there would still be some when I arrived in Ireland in March. I didn’t need to worry when there is the Dingle whiskey bar in Dublin!
So here it goes…
Dark wood, pepper, some undefined freshness, swimming pool, mint. With a bit of water, the pepper and mint aromas are more intense.
A slightly bitter flavour, possibly from too much oak character, a hint of varnished wood, then mint and something creamy and sweet, with a nice peppery medium-long finish. With a bit of water the bitterness disappears, the whiskey gets softer and with more vanilla flavour, nice but also less interesting in how it develops on the palate.
This whiskey was certainly interesting. Lots of activity and odd flavours playing around. It’s very different from the Midleton pot still whiskeys, but with more intense flavours than the Dingle single malts. I guess for more balance and consistency in the flavour profile, the single malts are better. An interesting whiskey and I enjoyed it, but can’t wait to taste it when it’s been in the cask for a couple of more years.