It’s been a while since I’ve had some positively old Irish Single Malt in my glass. We were in the full swing of the pandemic already, but I believe back then we were hopeful it would all be behind us in a few months, or a year tops. Anyway, good whisky has never been a bad idea, so let’s pour some Irish Single Malt 1993 27 Years from The Whisky Agency.
I plan on focusing more an Irish whisky in 2022 (depending on what I can get my hands on), because I believe it might just be a more exciting market than Scotland is. Sure, there are a lot of new distilleries in either country, but Ireland is going through some interesting growth that quite simply can’t be replicated in a more mature and established market such as Scotland.
Mainly, I’m hugely excited by the developments surrounding Irish single pot still whiskey. Finally the industry is rallying around changing the Irish Whiskey Technical File in order to make it historically accurate. In short, Irish single pot still whiskey has to be made from a minimum of 30% malted barley and 30% unmalted barley. Additionally, up to 5% of other grains can be used. But this was deemed too restrictive by people who had researched the history of Irish single pot still whiskey, such as writer and historian Fionnán O’Connor.
There’s loads of evidence that historical mashbills included much more than just 5% of other grains. So much so, that the Irish whiskey industry had no choice but to submit a new Technical File for approval. For instance, in the ‘What is Whiskey Case‘ from 1908, J. Talbot Power & Andrew Jameson clearly stated that it is common practice in Irish whiskey to use a mixture of malt and barley with between 1/5 and 1/3 oats, wheat and rye.
When the new Technical File will be approved later this year, Irish whiskey distillers are allowed to use up to 30% of other cereals, namely oats, wheat and rye. This is a way more accurate reflection of Irish pot still mashbills and will greatly enhance the diversity of the pot still category. Some distilleries have already experimented with historical mashbills, such as Boann Distillery. It will take time for the full effects of the rule changes to become visible, but I can’t wait to see what all the new (and old) Irish distilleries come up with.
Anyway, sorry for that tangent, because I won’t even be reviewing an Irish single pot still whiskey today. Instead, this 27-year-old whiskey from The Whisky Agency is a single malt. It’s origins are undisclosed, and I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you whether this was produced at Bushmills or Cooley, but it definitely is one of those two.
Irish Single Malt 1993 27 Years (49.2%, The Whisky Agency, 2020)
Nose: Orchard fruits along the lines of apricots, quince and peaches, but there’s also room for subtle pastry notes as well as faint whiffs of vegetables. I get some chalky and mineral touches too, with finally a sliver of honey. Taste: Creamy mouthfeel. Impressive notes of beeswax, pollen and macadamia nuts, as well as puff pastry and a zesty citrus influence. Some melon and peaches too, accompanied by soft notes of white pepper. Finish: Gentle fruits and honey with a slight mineral touch. Very enticing.
Certainly not the fruit bomb as some some of the late 1980s vintages, but the Irish Single Malt 1993 27 Years from The Whisky Agency offers more than enough redeeming qualities. Polished and well-aged.