Back in February, this year, I brought you all news of a brand new release coming from Echlinville Distillery, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
The release was of course Dunville's VR 10 year old single malt.
This is the second release under the reinvigorated Dunville's label and if you wish to catch up on my release update then go ahead and click right here for a recap.
This new release is a 10 year old single malt, bottled at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and finished for around a year in a PX sherry cask.
With regards price I had initially stated that it was to hit the shelves at just under £50 but Master of Malt currently have this on sale for £44.62.
Those of you who have followed this blog for a while would remember, back in February 2014, I reviewed the first release of the Dunville's VR, which was a blend, and I raised a few points that I felt would need to happen for this brand to achieve the status it is aiming for and, judging by the presentation of this 10 year old, Echlinville are moving rapidly in the right direction as they wait patiently for their own spirit to mature.
Further to this vast improvement, since I last wrote about this release in February, this whiskey hit the world stage in spectacular fashion when the World Whiskies Awards recently awarded the Dunville's VR 10 year old the award of "Best Irish Single Malt - 12 years and under" for 2015!!
Now, while I've no idea, presently, which other whiskeys the Dunville's VR was up against, this is an unbelievable achievement and brings the brand back into the limelight with a bang. I can only imagine how chuffed Shane Braniff was with this result knowing the passion and effort he is putting into his brand and distillery.
Seeing as the whiskey has clearly wowed the judges at the World Whiskies Awards I may as well share my humble opinion....
Onto my notes:
Nose - Initially tropical with good hints of banana and a little coconut water but quite quickly some nice fresh fruit also appears with green + red apple and lemon sweets. The sherry finish is not immediately obvious. Some light pepper and a slight buttered note. Sherry finally starts to appear but in a gentle fashion with light mixed spice and buttered red fruits. The finish has been handled with care and allows the original spirit to stay in control without the sherry over dominating. Right at the end a slight perfumed note also shows through. With a little water a distinct dusty note appears giving a nice sense of age.
Palate - Initially sweet with malt and light berry. Some black pepper and chilli heat arrives but this really benefits from the 46% ABV. The dusty note sits in the background, presumably from the sherry casks, and with a little water the whiskey becomes much sweeter and sherried with more mixed spice, stewed strawberry and some dryness into the finish.
Finish - On the short side of medium but enjoyable with a lip smacking finish of red fruit.
Overall this is an excellent improvement on the 1st release. I know they are two completely different styles of whiskey but in terms of direction we're now definitely heading upwards.
In honesty I initially struggled to get to grips with this release, when I first opened the bottle, as it was unlike any other Irish whiskey I'd tried before and in my opinion it reminded me more of some Scottish malts I have in my collection.
As I moved through the bottle though the familiar tropical fresh fruit notes, I was fully expecting, came to the fore and I am now fully enjoying each glass. This whiskey can't be rushed, and needs a little time to open up, but the reward is a glass of whiskey that is well balanced and full of flavour.
The finish of this release is very impressive and gives you just a hint of sherry without overpowering the original spirit. I believe that future releases may have a slightly longer finish, in the PX casks, and I think this will enhance the spirit even more. Whatever the standard of the casks being used, they are imparting just the right influence needed to bring this whiskey up a level or two.
Without doubt Echlinville, and the Dunville's brand, are going in the right direction and all I can say is here's to the future.
Lastly I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Shane Braniff for the sample bottle.
Until next time,