While attending last years "Whiskey Live Dublin" I was lucky enough, whilst chatting at the Echlinville stand, to nab a sneak preview sample of a whiskey they shall be hopefully releasing later this year.
Since establishing themselves, not far from Belfast on the Ards peninsula, Echlinville have been quietly going about their business. Not only have they set about producing their own spirit, which is already maturing away in a range of casks, but they have also revived the much revered "Dunville's" brand.
This revival has continuously gathered momentum with the Dunville's 10yo PX Sherry Finish recently picking up the award for "Best Irish Single Malt - 12years & under" at the World Whiskies Awards......for the second year running.
Now they are planning to add to their range of finished whiskeys with a new release later this year.
In 2015 Echlinville acquired some 14yo whiskey, my guess is that it may be from Cooley, and set about placing it into some very interesting casks. Echlinville seem to have pulled out all the stops and managed to get their hands on rum casks from the exclusive Port Morant distillery in Guyana.
The casks have held the flavoursome rum for many years and are now transferring the aged flavours onto this Irish whiskey.
The sample I received was after the whiskey had only been in the casks for a few weeks but the finished release will have seen the whiskey being possibly finished for up to a year which may make this a 15yo release.
For information the sample I received was at 50% ABV but it remains to be seen what strength the final release shall come out at.
I would also just highlight that this is obviously no more than a general indication as to the quality of the whiskey, and how it may fare with a serious rum finish, and any notes listed below should be slightly different to the final release but, as you will see, I doubt there will much to worry about with regards how the final release should taste.
Onto my notes:
Nose - Initial note is of intense tropical fruit, banana, pineapple and a little melon. There's also a little green apple going on in here. Creamy vanilla combines delightfully with the fruit to give a sense of a glorious dessert. Fruit salad sweets. A little dusty old oak comes through and is almost sherry in nature. There's also a little prickly spice but not too much and the whole experience is very well balanced. Rum notes are present but are very subtle with rum and raisin ice cream. Definite sense of dried fruit which only backs up the sherry feel. With water the oak is toned down and the fruits seem to marry together like a stew. Touches of orange also appear.
Palate - Rich and indulgent. Initial hit is of serious oak maturation which is dry and spicy. This gives way to more of the tropical fruit salad flavours. Banana and green apple are to the fore. We then move back to the wood influence with more dusty dried fruits that ease into a spicy dry pepper. Quite complex and delicious. With water the fruity notes of the spirit appear to be elevated with a distinct zing about them.
Finish - Fresh apple and dry spice with decent length. A little buttered note appears right at the end.
Overall I'm impressed. If this is a sign of where Echlinville is heading then they've got my attention. It seems that with this 14yo, and the previously mentioned 10yo, Echlinville are getting their hands on some great whiskey and putting their own touch on it with some amazing casks.
This whiskey has already taken on fine fine notes of tropical rum and could be an absolute beast of a whiskey come its release date.
The only thing to query is what price the finished product shall hit the shelves at? My answer would be that, as along is it's not outrageous, it should be well worth it.
I'm genuinely starting to get excited about the direction Echlinville is heading. All I can say to them is please give us more of he same and roll on the day your own spirit is ready for us all to enjoy.
Until next time,