Writers Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey (2016)
While the Writers Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey is not a pure pot still whiskey, it does contain a considerable amount of it. It’s a style I’ve grown to like quite a bit, particularly after a generous whisky enthusiast provided me with samples of pre-1975 Irish whiskey from the old Bow Street Distillery and John’s Lane Distillery.
Pure pot still whiskey has its own very distinctive style, which to me is very recognisable. Fruity and floral, but spicy and industrial at the same time. It is a fascinating style, albeit not for everybody.
A few weeks ago I participated in a blind tasting of several entry level whiskies. I misunderstood the brief, and thought they were all supposed to be Scottish. However, when I tasted them, I almost immediately pinpointed one as having a strong resemblance to a pure pot still whiskey. That’s how unique this style of whiskey is.
Turned out the lineup also included an American and an Irish whiskey, with the latter being the Jameson Crested. You guessed it, a whiskey with a fairly high percentage of pure pot still whiskey. It was easily my favourite of that blind tasting.
Even when I was expecting to taste Scotch, it still stood out as the granddaddy of Irish whiskey styles. Because that’s what pure pot still is. It is the OG, the penultimate Irish whiskey. Seriously, every upstart Irish whiskey distillery should focus at least part of their efforts on producing pure pot still, honouring their heritage.
As I already mentioned, Writers Tears Copper Pot is not 100% percent pure pot still, but a vatting of single malt (40%) and single pot still (60%) whisky. It is also triple distilled, before being put to rest in American oak ex-bourbon casks. The actual whiskey itself is supplied by Irish Distillers, as Walsh Whiskey Distillers only opened their distillery last year.
Writers Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey (40%, OB, 2016)
Nose: Supremely sweet and fruity, with flashes of stewed apple, honey and vanilla, as well as cotton candy and peach gummies. Behind all that is a thin malty veneer.
Taste: A recognizable base of pure pot still whiskey. Subtle ginger, touches of oak, a whiff of menthol and diesel oil. Some green apple as well, but now also a hint of caramel. Surprisingly full-bodied at 40 percent abv.
Finish: Hint of pepper, with a fruity/grassy ending. Medium in length.
Truly excellent. The pure pot still style shines in this whiskey, even though there’s also some malt whiskey in here. Immensely enjoyable… and it is crazy affordable.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.