Sunday, November 4, 2012

Knappogue Castle 1995 - Blind Tasting

Knappogue Castle Vintage selections denote year of distillation, this one in 1995 is 13 years old and was distilled at Bushmills (prior to 1993, Cooley). There's no color added so it's a very pale blond. I found the color interesting as this whiskey is aged entirely in bourbon barrels. Even though it's second use, I would have expected something a little darker. This selection comes in at 80 proof but to me, drinks like something more than that.

This is the 7th selection in the blind Irish tasting and for the most part, the results exhibited a somewhat lopsided bell curve with tasters approving more than disapproving.  Interesting data point, the Beverage Tasting Institute gave this selection an exceptional rating of 92.  Our tasting panel was not quite as generous.

My thoughts on this selection is that it's a very delicate whiskey exhibiting a profile that was somewhat grassy with citrus overnotes, honeyed, light summer berries and a touch of spice about mid palate.  The finish was somewhat oily and moderate in length.  The Knappogue is a lighter experience than say Jameson 12 and while both are 80 proof, the Jameson is a blend not a single malt like this selection.

Scores came out as follows:

95-100 Classic Whiskey 0
90-94 Excellent Whiskey 0
85-89 Very Good, Above Average Whiskey 4
80-84 Average Whiskey 6
75-79 Fair Whiskey 1
74 and Under - Pass on This Whiskey0

The tasting panel had the following comments on this Irish Whiskey:

"A delicate nose of malt, spice and citrus (grapefruit, maybe a little orange). Sweet on the palate, with a clean finish."

"Nose is very fruity, some tropical notes (Mango, papaya) and some fruit cocktail notes.
Palate: Fruit yielding to malt notes. Exceedingly light with floral notes.
Finish: Fruit stripe gum."

"Very light color, presented initially as fruity on the nose...but then ended with an alcohol kick.
Light legs in the glass leading to an OK mouth feel. Found this to be ok on the initial sip but thin and leading to a very short finish and that wallop of heat that was so evident from the initial nose....."

"Color of this whiskey is very light. Very clean, bright fruit nose.....this one is very interesting on the palate…grapefruit on the back end of the finish? This one packs a good deal of flavor, appears to have more age and is quite interesting."

This is an Irish whiskey that is interesting enough to keep on the bar when you want something easy to sip on.  Somewhat complex with a good mingle of flavors.  I'm not sure if this particular release is still available but the pricing should be reasonable if found.  If this one cannot be located, maybe try the current 12 year.

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