By Richard Thomas
Updated April 2, 2015
Ireland’s Glendalough Distillery follows what is a tried-and-true pattern for craft outfits in America. Since whiskey takes a while to age and hardly anyone wants to wait anywhere from a few to several capital-hungry years before building a brand, Glendalough has resorted to a mix of unaged spirits and sourced whiskeys in the meantime. On the one hand they have their barely-aged poitins (Irish moonshine) and gin, and on the other they have a line of sourced whiskey.
The most recent release from that whiskey line is Glendalough Double Barrel, out as of last month. A no age statement (NAS) whiskey that is reportedly between three and four years old, it is also a single grain from a corn and malt mashbill, and one that was aged in ex-bourbon barrels before receiving a six month finish in ex-sherry casks (hence, “Double Barrel) and being cut with local, Wicklow Mountain water. Then it is bottled at 42% abv.
Glendalough Double Barrel presents itself in a straight forward enough way, with a clear glass bottle capped with a screw top, and adorned with their logo depicting St. Kevin of Glendalough. In the glass, the whiskey has the appearance of white wine, which is what I expect from any young spirit aged in used wood.
The nose packs apple and grass scents, with a solid note of dry wood. The flavor is fruity and woody in equal measures, in a place where white raisins mingles with peppery wood, mixed in with creamy butterscotch for good measure. The finish is light, but long lasting.
Glendalough Double Barrel is a nice little sipper, and one where the sherry finish shows itself well. In going that route, Glendalough has taken what might have been a youthful and unremarkable grain whiskey and built on it in a relatively short space of time.
Addendum by Jake Emen
Lightly floral nose with medicinal qualities, menthol/mint, and fruit.
On the palate, pine needles, and wood, dry profile. Grainy.
Lots of malt and grain on a sharp finish.
With ice, a new sweetness emerges, with an almost whipped cream like flavor, toffee, burnt caramel, and malt. Richer, a little bit of a syrupy mouthfeel. Definitely improved but still some unsettling, sharp medicinal flavor.
An interesting product which I think is best served with cocktails at this stage.
Glendalough Double Barrel is priced at €28 in Ireland.