This West Cork blended Irish whiskey is ultra affordable at just $30 per bottle.
The nose is subtle. It hints at vanilla and spice but it is underwhelming. It is subtle and not at all “in your face”.
That subtleness continues from the nose into the palate. This whiskey is smooth and goes down easy, but its also very light and simple. The flavor profile is relatively flat. It has a note of sweet that is easily overpowered with even a splash of water or a few ice cubes.
I enjoyed this bottle of West Cork and put it in my Everyday Whiskey category. If you enjoy Irish Whiskey and want to keep an affordable bottle on hand to enjoy with friends, this should be on your list.
The Score – West Cork Irish Whiskey
Overall it scored a 77/100, making it Sip Worthy. It’s positive and negatives are closely linked. It’s smooth, but simple, making it an easy sipper, especially if you are new to whiskey, but that simplicity also means it might leave you wanting more depth and complexity.
Old Forester 1870 is one of my favorite bourbons. It sips easy and has a wonderful mouth feel that is complex, but extremely friendly. As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with a bottle of Old Forester 1870.
After pouring a dram into a Glencairn Whisky Glass I swirled it and let a little of the heat of my hand warm the whiskey just a touch. There is a hint of floral notes that quickly turns to vanilla and caramel. Floating in the mix is a perfect amount of oak.
One of the reasons I love Old Forester 1870 Bourbon so much is that the Nose and the Palate match so well. If you like the Nose you are going to love the Palate. The front of my tongue really appreciates those light but crisp floral notes. By the team the sip has hit my mid tongue it is all vanilla and caramel that smoothly transitions to a bit of oak char on the finish.
The Score – Old Forester 1870 Bourbon
Old Forester 1870 is an easy sipper. If you are new to bourbon put it over some ice to open it up. It softens the flavors and can open them up more for new bourbon lovers. Old Forester 1870 is very Sip Worthy and scores 80/100. It is also one of the bottles that started my Whiskey Safe. That means I have a bottle for when the apocalypse hits and I’m holed up in the mountains with nothing to do but drink good whiskey.
Sunlit brown sugar.
45.0% ABV | 90 Proof
Smooth start with floral notes.
Middle tones of caramel and oak.
Clean finish with cinnamon and spice.
Isn’t always in stock.
Prices vary from $40 to $65 depending on local demand.
Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey has a lot of credentials. It won a Double Gold Medal at the 2015 San Francisco Spirits Competition, another Gold Model in 2017, and wasin the Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 Spirits in 2019.
This Glendalough was first aged in American oak barrels, then finished in Spanish oak Oloroso Sherry barrels.
With all those credentials I was excited to crack the bottle open.
I poured a dram into a Glencairn Whisky Glass and swirled it for a moment before taking a whiff. The nose is burnt oak mellowed by sweet vanilla. It was hard to pick which one hit me first. Each time I breathed in this Glendalough I picked up different notes.
The mouth feel was smooth and creamy that coats the back of your throat in spice as you swallow. Just like the nose, I found that each sip brought out a different aspect of this whiskey. At times the spice was almost overwhelming, with the oak and spice turning to black liquorice on the swallow.
Glendalough Double Barrel is stilled using a column still. From what I can find, they use a Coffey Still, which was on of the first commercially available continuous stills.
Why does that matter? This Glendalough Double Barrel is shooting for pot distilled flavors and notes, but you just can’t get there without using a pot still, which retain more flavors. Column stills tent to produce higher alcohol content, lighter flavored alcohols. Which is where this Glendalough Double Barrel comes in. It is trying to be a budget pot still in flavor, and actually does a decent job of getting there, but not all the way.
There are hints of deeper flavors from the time spent in the sherry casks, but the oak notes burn across a lot of the more subtle flavors.
The Score – Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey
For me this Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey scored a 74/100.
I will absolutely order a dram of this if I’m out and about, and it is clearly in the Sip Worthy category, but for me it didn’t make it into my Whiskey Safe which means I won’t be keeping an unopened bottle on hand to enjoy after the Zombie Apocalypse has started.
Deep golden yellow.
42.0% ABV | 84 Proof
The nose has depth and complexity.
Strong oak and toasted wood. If you like your whiskey on the stronger side of the flavor profiles, this might be for you.
Subtle sweetness that vies with the oak and sherry to be tasted.
Never quite achieves the butter cookie notes I love in other Irish Whiskeys.
The toasted/burnt oak can really overpower the other tastes.
I guess this bourbon has a big repetition to live up to.
Which probably explains the big bold flavors that this Pipe Dream bourbon brings to the table. From the first scent, to the first sip, this is a strong, flavorful bourbon.
The nose is mildly sweet, full of toasted wood and char. Don’t let the nose fool you, the moment you take the first sip this bourbon fills your mouth with a swirling, complex flavor profile. It is wood char with a little sweetness under it, which finishes on a strong nuttiness that quickly turns to black pepper.
This is not a bourbon for the weak hearted.
Scoring – Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon
I did enjoy sipping this Redwood Empire Pipe Dream and can see myself wanting more in the future. It’s not a dram I’d drink as a casual sipper, but on those occasions I want something full flavored and strong, this will absolutely be a go to, which is the reason this scored an 81/100.
Wonderfully complex bourbon.
Mildly sweet opening that instantly becomes woody char and black pepper.
Deep and flavorful.
May be too much for new bourbon drinkers.
Flavors may be too much for some.
The bottle is really tall. No, seriously, it doesn’t fit onto the shelf with my other bottles. I had to put it on a different shelf because its so tall.
According to the Powers website, this Irish whiskey received its name from the Powers family coachmen. To keep warm in the harsh Irish winters, the three coachmen would each take a swallow from their hip flask. Thus was born Powers Three Swallow Whiskey.
Thank you coachmen, I’m sure you enjoyed the whiskey as much as I did. Poor a dram in a Glencairn Glass and enjoy!
This Whiskey has just about everything you want, and honestly can have at this price point. Like everything else in life, there is a diminishing return. Sure, you can spend more, but at $38 at my local mega liquor mart, your not going to find a better value. This Powers Three Swallow has the sweet honey I love in Irish Pot Still Whiskey that finishes with just a bit of spice.
Scoring – Powers Three Swallow Irish Whiskey
If you want a great Irish Whiskey, that is affordable, approachable, and deserves to be in every whiskey drinkers cabinet, you can’t go wrong with Powers Three Swallow, which is why this has earned a very respectable 87/100.
I love my Redbreast 12 Years but the prices vary so much. Sometimes I can find it for $70, but I’ve also seen it as high as $100. For $100 bucks I’d rather get two bottles of this Powers!
I was lucky enough to visit Jamaica during the pandemic. The resort we booked was closed due to low volume (thanks Covid) so they put is in a sister resort nearby. The sister resort was Iberostar Rose Hall Suites. It was surreal and a once in a lifetime opportunity at the same time. Unless I hit the lotto I can’t imagine I’m going to have a swim up resort bar basically to myself. There were literally like three other couples in the whole place.
My go to drink after settling into vacation in the Rose Hall Suites was this Appleton Reserve Blend Jamaican Rum. It was the “top shelf” at the all inclusive, and I wasn’t going to spend more money for bottle service.
The nose was ripe fruit that ended with just a touch of sharpness. The sharpness on the nose is hard to describe. It’s a bit metallic but also chemically. Like I said, its hard to describe.
The Score – Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Rum
The palate light and smooth. There isn’t a lot of depth to this rum, but it is perfect for sipping by the edge of the pool. Overall, this Appleton Reserve Blend scored a 70/100. That makes it Sip Worthy!
The more I drank the more they refilled my glass. (I drank this while on vacation at the all inclusive resort Iberostar Rose Hall Suites.)
Chestnut Farms Straight Bourbon Whiskey is distilled by Barton 1792 Distillery and is 90 proof. It won a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition according to their website. What year? I couldn’t find it, but that is probably due to my poor google skills. What I was able to find is that this bourbon doesn’t have a website, and is made at the same Barton 1792 distillery where they make the Costco and Trader Joe’s brand whiskeys. (According to the internet.)
I’ve found awards are hit and miss for me. Some things that people rave over, tastes like gasoline to me, while some things that didn’t even place, were things I’d buy another bottle of, so I didn’t get my hopes up for this Chestnut Farms.
I’m not a huge fan of rye. For me it just creates a lot of sharp edges and an aftertaste I don’t enjoy. Maybe that will change as I get older. I remember a time when I didn’t like Brussel sprouts, but now I love them.
Why am I talking about rye? It’s because this Chestnut Farms has some rye added onto its 51% corn and malted barley mash bill. That usually means I’m not going to like it, but in this case, they got the ratio just about perfect. All those rough edges I don’t appreciate in rye whiskeys are smoothed out and come out as spicy warmth in my mouth.
The nose is mild. There is a little caramel and toffee, but its not complex and overall it very light.
The palate is a little different from the nose. It has that warm flush of a regular bourbon that quickly turns to oak char and then finishes with the spice from the rye. Overall it is a very well balanced whiskey and a great introduction to rye for those who aren’t really rye lovers.
The Score – ChestNut Farms Bourbon
Chestnut Farms is Sip Worthy and scored a 77/100. It isn’t making it into my Whiskey Safe, but it is a bottle I could see myself picking up when the mood strikes me again.
Deep golden yellow.
45.0% ABV | 90 Proof
Perfect balance of corn and rye.
Ends with a nice mix of rye spice and oak notes.
If you don’t like rye at all, you may not like this.
At a $45 price point, there are a lot of very competitive whiskeys to choose from.
I picked up my bottle of Jameson Triple Triple Travel Exclusive in the airport in Jamaica. This would have been no problem when I had a direct flight home, but due to Covid, that flight was cancelled. So after paying for the whiskey and finding out I would need to exit security, check a bag with the whiskey in it, and then pick it up at my destination, I was seriously thinking about throwing the bottle out a window.
I never check luggage, and when I land I just want to get to my car and get home. So instead of my normal routine I took my backpack, wrapped my whiskey in a travel blanket and cushioned it with my neck pillow, and checked the backpack.
I figured I had a 50/50 chance of the bottle arriving intact.
Did I mention I hate checking luggage? I was honestly going to leave my backpack at the airport and go home, because my son’s girlfriend was flying in the next day, so I figured if it was still there, I’d just pick it up the next day.
I’m an idiot who left his car keys zipped into the little pocket at the top of the backpack, so I had to wait at luggage pickup anyway.
I half expected my bag to be soaking wet when I got it off the belt. Thankfully it was dry, and when I got home the only damage was to the bottle cap:
Jameson Triple Triple Travel Exclusive is made in Midleton Distillery, County Cork, Irland. It is now on my bucket list to visit before I bite the big one.
Jameson Triple Triple is triple distilled and then blended from a selection of whiskey aged in bourbon and sherry casks. They then throw in a few hand-selected casks that have been seasoned with fortified wine from Malaga. This is what adds those hints of citrus, fruit, and that delectable sweet spiciness.
I am so glad my bottle of Triple Triple survived. I’m also sad that I’m going to have a hard time getting more. The nose will remind you of regular Jameson for obvious reasons, but it adds more depth and complexity. The time spent in the Malaga casts adds a nice dry spice to the finish that I find really enjoyable.
If I can find it, this is a bottle I will put in my Whiskey Safe. Jameson Triple Triple scored an 85/100, making it very Sip Worthy.
Deep golden yellow.
40.0% ABV | 80 Proof
Sweet nose ends in fruit and spice.
Takes regular Jameson and kicks it up a notch with more depth and complexity.
Can you find it?
I’ve looked at several of my usual online stores, and none of them carry this. It appears that I really am going to have to buy an international ticket if I’m going to get another bottle anytime soon.
Monkey Shoulder is a blended Scotch created by blending three famous Speyside single malts. Monkey Shoulder is made by William Grant & Sons, who also makes Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Sailor Jerry, Tullamore Dew, and Hendrick’s Gin. It is an interesting mix of brands, and that variety of skills really shows through in this Monkey Shoulder.
Those of you who are regular readers of Whiskey Dreams know that I’m not usually a huge fan of Scotch. I’m not a lover of the smoke as it were, so I tend to steer my selections towards Irish Whiskey and American Bourbon. So how did I get this bottle of Monkey Shoulder? I have to thank Steph!!! She was originally a girlfriend of one of our boys (still is) who became a family friend in the process. My wife and her went out for lunch last weekend and Steph grabbed this bottle of Monkey Shoulder as a present. It’s amazing how life works out. I wouldn’t have picked a Scotch off the shelf in all likelihood, and I would have been missing out if I hadn’t tried this Monkey Shoulder.
The nose has a nice wood char mixed with spice that transitions into vanilla and end on orange peels. It has a great nose that I could honestly sniff all day.
The palate is smooth and easy to sip. The smoke is there, but its soft and blends well with the vanilla, orange zest, and just kind of trails off on the back of your throat as it finishes.
The Score – Monkey Shoulder
For me, this is the perfect Scotch. There is smoke, but its soft and not overpowering, making this Sip Worthy with a score of 79/100.
Light golden yellow.
40.0% ABV | 80 Proof
Great introduction to a smooth, mildly smoky Scotch.
Nice mix of wood smoke, spice, and orange zest that gently fades on the back of the tongue.
Accessible in both taste profile as well as in availability. A quick search shows the major liquor stores carry it.
If you really don’t like smoke, this does have a nice, mellow smoke that just kind of trails off gradually.
I gave straight Wild Turkey a score of 63/100 so I was curious how it would rank when mixed into a Manhattan. I’m hoping the Vermouth will help tame the burnt marshmallow I didn’t really like in the base bourbon as a sipper.
I used my normal formula to start.
2 Ounces Bourbon
1 Ounce Sweet Vermouth
After I finished my first Manhattan I remade my drink but added in two drops of Orange Bitters. This Wild Turkey really benefited from the Orange Bitters, giving it a little more complexity where it was flat.
Overall this is what I’d call a classic mixer. It’s not out of this world, but its very sippable and its a perfect drink for parties and gatherings when you want to save the “Good Stuff” for those who will appreciate it.
A Wild Turkey Manhattan ranks 73/100.
Amber and yellow. A little blood in the pee?
40.0% ABV | 80 Proof
Affordable way to make lots of mixed drinks.
Great option for parties and gatherings of people who like Whiskey, but don’t Love Whiskey.
If you don’t like toasted marshmallows, this may not be for you.