Last month I brought you all an update regarding the release of two new expressions of Irish whiskey from a brand named "The Quiet Man".
Based in Derry City, "The Quiet Man" is the new brand of Niche Drinks ,who are planning big things with a £15 million distillery hopefully to be started later this year.
As I mentioned before, once up and running they shall be producing triple distilled malt whiskey that will be "as traditional and as authentic as possible" but, as with all of these new companies, the problem always remains of how to bring in the cash while building and waiting for your own whiskey?
The favoured route seems to be to buy up stock from other Irish distilleries, add your own touch and release under your own name. And with "The Quiet Man" this business model is no different.
For some years now Niche Drinks been buying, and maturing, grain and malt Irish whiskey, both new make and already partially matured. It is from these stocks of matured whiskey that they have released their two new expressions, which are a standard blend and an 8 year old Single Malt.
It is the latter of these two that I shall be focussing on this time around.
As a direct result of many years of successful business within the drinks industry, Niche Drinks have managed to build up long standing relationships with some of the most successful Bourbon producers. This has allowed them to get their hands on some of the best casks straight from the Bourbon industry. They are obviously planning to use these to great effect and have done so already in the release of this 8 year old.
Previously matured for some years, at another distillery, this 8 year old has enjoyed the benefit of some time in a first fill Bourbon cask and you can certainly notice this when enjoying a glass.
On a slight downside though this whiskey has been bottled at 40% ABV, chill filtered and probably been enhanced with a little E150a.
Hopefully this won't detract from it too much...
Onto my notes:
Nose - Unmistakably Cooley. Very smooth and very much like Greenore Single Grain. Fresh fruits, banana, lemon, dusty light orange and apple are all present. Smooth, soft oak vanilla and light cereals. The malt is not big and beefy but soft and easily approachable. With time the tropical notes, with which I've associated Cooley for some time, appear in the form of pineapple and coconut milk.
Palate - Malty arrival that's accompanied by a big peppery, chilli kick. Thankfully the heat doesn't overpower the spirit and without water the citrus just shows through with dry oak and some more vanilla. With water the orange comes out on top with clove spice and more creamy oak.
Finish - Medium length with dry spices and fresh fruit with cream.
Overall this is a very enjoyable dram with it's roots firmly in Cooley. If you are a fan, like myself, of the Greenore whiskeys then this will not disappoint. Bags of flavour on the nose and good strength on the palate. If I had any criticism then I would rather have seen this with a few more years under it's belt, maybe 10 would be perfect. The 8 year old packs a good punch but the chilli heat is only just restrained. A couple more years would smooth this out to perfection.
All that said this is a fantastic start for "The Quiet Man". I've mentioned before that it is absolutely imperative to hit the ground running in this business, and that means on all fronts: quality of spirit, style & presentation, price point etc etc, and I have to say I think Niche Drinks have done a very good job indeed.
Where I've seen this stocked it is at a very agreeable price and the bottles certainly look good sitting beside their Irish counterparts. As word of "The Quiet Man" spreads I can see it gaining a very decent reputation that will give the perfect base to push on from once their own distillery is up and running and eventually their own spirit is in their bottles.
Many thanks to Ciaran Mulgrew, of Niche Drinks, for the sample bottle.
Until next time,