By Richard Thomas
Powers Gold Label is the entry-level label from an illustrious line of Irish whiskey, and although it remains only marginally known in America, in Ireland Powers is the best-selling whiskey around. Irish pubs are a worldwide phenomenon, but whenever I see Powers on the shelf, I know I’m in a place that takes its Irish-ness seriously.
The label dates its start to 1791 and the foundation of James Powers distillery in Dublin (making Powers a “Catholic whiskey,” for those who keep track of such things). In 1866, the Powers distillery became one of the early distilleries to bottle their own products, departing from the previous practice of shipping by the cask only. The bottles sported a gold label, and thus Powers Gold Label was born. Once upon a time, Powers Gold Label was a pure pot still whiskey, but it is now 70% pot still and the rest grain whiskey.
In the glass, Powers Gold Label matches its name, with a fine medium-gold appearance. In keeping with what one might expect from an Irish whiskey, the nose is light and airy, with a scent that is both candied, with notes of caramel and citrus, and grainy. The flavor is that of a mid-bodied, buttery and candy sweetness, once again with fruity and caramel notes. The finish has a bit of a bite on it at first, but ends sweet and warm.
You should be able to find Powers Gold Label for less than $20, assuming it is even available in the first place and that your local liquor taxes aren’t above the national average. If a vendor charges more, shop online and avoid the price gouging.
Powers Gold Label won gold at the 2009 International Spirits Competition, and then a silver at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.