Irish whiskeys are pretty unassuming characters, subtle, calm in temperament. This whiskey has a light touch with caramel and oak flavors on the front. This gives way to the peat and smoke.
The smoke rolls in rather abruptly and wipes clean any lingering sweetness and ushers in an acrid feeling as it evaporates off your tongue.
It's neither pleasant or unpleasant, it just calls for attention in a way you wish it would not. But not for the rapid transition, I think it would be easy to miss the peat flavors that bridge these two distinct tasting portions.
There's a moment where it becomes this lush, green flavor, like what one would expect the Irish countryside to taste like if you could distill a few square miles. It's unexpected but draws you from the simplicity of the fore-flavors to the smoke and fire and warmth you find in heavier Scotch. It takes the whiskey from unassuming, to knowing; which makes the whiskey a pleasant dram with a little secret that the two of you share.
Irish or Irish-styled whiskeys are fast becoming my favorites. And I especially like finding a lightly smoked drink perfect as the weather in Wisconsin shifts from Spring to Summer. It will keep you warm and happy and fuzzy like a good Irish stereotype.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
3 to 3.5 stars. Drink it straight after you let it aerate. Straight from a fresh bottle and the sweeter notes are dull but the smoke is not and it will rampage over your palate.
I could see this pairing well with a light wrapper cigar or one of the interesting barberpole cigars I;ve seen lately; I especially liked the one from Camacho which included a green wrapper that would enhance the vegetative, peaty notes on the transition.