The Irishman: Founder’s Reserve

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. On 3/17/2015, at about 7 am local time, my father and I touched down in Dublin for our all too brief visit.  In that time we covered many miles, decided to completely change the course of the trip toward the sunny south, and drank many a lovely dram. It is with this fond memory that I write now, looking back, and I hope looking forward to that lovely land, and those lovely people.  To all ye over in Ireland, I raise a glass, sláinte!

Which leads us to tonight’s libations, The Irishman: Founder’s Reserve.  My quick and distracted research (one laptop streaming Netflix and writing while browsing on the other like a master of the multi-task) leads me to a bit of information about The Irishman, first that the founder for which this is reserved is Bernard Walsh, father of the brand.  I’ve also learned that the brand themselves does not do the distilling, rather they’re a 3rd party blend and bottle outfit, which doesn’t have the stigma in Ireland that it seems to have here.  This blend, so the bottle tells me is a blend of 70% single malt and 30% single pot straight whiskey, which my fantastic internet pseudo-journalism tells me, may have at least partly been sourced from the famed Cooley distillery. I can prove none of that, and don’t really give a damn.  What I care about is the taste, and this Irishman doesn’t let me down.  I’ll cut the bullshit.  Here it goes:

Irishman

The nose leads with a strong wave of tart and mouthwatering green apple which really takes some cutting through, before you’re rewarded with softer honey notes and just the light hint of spice.  The first sip cuts back that green apple immensely, leading strong on the honey, with a very warm pear pie thing going on about the mid-palate and bit of peppery spice on the finish, with just the right amount of burn.  As it finish the warmth really hangs resilient on the tongue, with a clinging warmth to get you through a chill drizzly night.  I happen to be typing in just such a night.

So, as you all paint shamrocks on your faces tomorrow and get right pissed, I beg of you to do one thing, to make the holiday a touch more Irish.  Okay, a few things.  One, don’t drink piss beer dyed green.  Two, take a minute to sniff your drink, taste your drink, fuckin’ enjoy your drink.  Finally, say cheers when they give you the drink and sláinte when they give it to you, that’s the proper way.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

I’m going to keep this brief, as there are a lot of superfluous words populating the internet in regards to the subject.  No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump’s bigotry, I’m talking about Whisky Bible’s 2016 Whisky of the Year 2016.  If you really want to get some quasi-professional input you should check out Geoff Kleinman’s review at Drink Spirits here.  I am anything but professional, so let me tell you what I think in cliché; the best whiskey in the world is the one in my hand (and belly and bloodstream and brain and all that.) That is not to say that some whiskies are not of a higher level of distinction, because of course they are, but with any enjoyable whiskey, any whiskey of a certain quality, it’s the individual qualities that count.  I’m not in the game of superlatives, so let’s just get to those qualities, with another one of my not-even-remotely-famed single shot reviews…because that’s apparently all I have left.  Final note to the reader before getting on with it, take the bag off Crown bottles, otherwise you’ll have no idea how much is left.

Crown

Right, tasting, let’s start on the nose.  From first sniff the dominant notes are warm apple pie (or should it be apple crisp?) with a very heavy spice footprint, like maybe the top came off the cinnamon shaker.  Filling in that lovely crisp is definitely a rich brown sugar note, but following up we get a hint of sawdusty must and an interesting twist of lemon zest also comes across.

The priming note on the palate is a tart crisp apple note which spreads across the tongue leaving in its wake a touch of dryness similar to the mouthfeel of a hearty Cabernet.  The spice, of course, is not left by the wayside, with nutmeg and cinnamon present in spades, but seeming to leave the apple on its own, clinging instead to some kind of oaky sawdust scone, which is far more pleasant than the Civil War rations I’ve made it sound like.

The finish on this is surprisingly light and a touch short, with a mellow heat wisping down the throat at 90 proof, which leaves the tongue with just a soft dry tingle and a hint of honey around the edges of the mouth.  Nothing too startling, just a friendly Canadian cleanliness.

I really do not have too much more to say.  I know I’m not the man to slay the hype beast, I’m just another fella out there drinking whiskey to see what the fuss was all a-boot*.  What I will say is that it is nice to be able to drink a whisky rated as the best offering of the year (agreeing or not with that distinction) without having to drop more than $30.

 

 

 

*This article could not have been complete without a Canadian diction joke, I apologize.