Last year I brought you all a preview / review of something very special that Echlinville Distillery are currently working on. This was their single malt that is currently being finished in a Port Morant rum casks. For anyone wishing to see the original update, along with tasting notes from last year, you can do so by clicking here.
For those of you that want to cut straight to the chase I shall recap.
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 pulled out all the stops and managed to get their hands on rum casks from the exclusive Port Morant distillery in Guyana.
The casks, that held the flavoursome rum for many years, are now transferring the aged flavours onto this Irish whiskey.
The first sample I received was after the whiskey had only been in the casks for a few weeks and the most recent sample I received was just over a year later, making this now firmly in the 15yo category.
For information the first sample I received was at 50% ABV, and this most recent sample was straight from the cask, but it remains to be seen what strength the final release shall come out at.
As with the first review I'd just like to highlight that 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 - Initially heavy with fresh green apple but this quickly moves into smooth vanilla wood, rum and raisin ice cream and even banana ice cream. The fruit flavours are rich and intense, no doubt brought on by the cask strength nature of the alcohol, yet the smooth oak encompasses them beautifully. Some deeper notes lurk in here also with stewed orange and a little hint of raspberry. The balance between spirit, wood and rum influence is very nice indeed. As the dram opens up the fruit flavours begin to dominate with further banana in the form of foam banana sweets and a little banoffee pie. There's not much spice on the nose and I feel this may be the wood having a nice restraining effect. Right at the end there's also a little touch of white grape. With water the fruit is intensified and the oak vanilla becomes more prominent.
Palate - Intense, dry arrival and a lovely balance of fruit and oak spice. The fruit comes in with more fresh green apple, banana cream, and more rum and raisin ice cream. We now also have spice in the form of prickly black pepper which brings a nice extra dimension. The influence bestowed upon this whiskey, by the cask, is big, bold and pretty darn good. The oak has brought a lip smacking dryness that arrives from the first sip and lingers long after the dram is finished. The intensity of the alcohol brings a hint of grappa which ties in with the white grape picked up on the nose. With water the fruit is again softened down.
Finish - Medium length, dry yet juicy and extremely delicious.
Overall this is a seriously good Irish fruit bomb of a whiskey. This is turning into the beast I had hoped it would become nearly a year ago.
The fruit notes are deep, rich and intense. I feel that this whiskey is nearly ready to be taken from the cask and bottled for everyone to enjoy.
When it is released I shall be interested to see what strength Echlinville end up choosing for the final bottling. The two samples I have tasted are probably both higher in ABV, than how the final product shall be presented, but I hope they keep the strength high to show off all the rich ,intense goodness that is packed into this whiskey.
Echlinville are certainly moving from strength to strength, and gaining a lot of admirers on the way, and I have no doubt that once they release this Port Morant finished whiskey they will gain a hell of a lot more.
Until next time,