Nov 192012
 

Writer’s Tears

40% abv

Score:  80/100

 

An interesting Irish from a familiar distillery.  For the sake of maintaining its desired anonymity let’s call it Schmidleton.  Capiche?

The Writer’s Tears website (which also sports a very rudimentary lesson on Irish whisky) maintains that their ratio of pure pot still whisky to single malt whisky is a closely guarded secret.  Ummm…ok.  Not really certain why that needs to be kept under lock and key.  Two distilleries using the exact same still design…exact same water source…exact same spirit cuts…etc…will still produce VERY different whisky.  Truth.  But…if marketing some sort of hush-hush recipe helps…so be it.

Anyway…said to be a favorite style of Irish writers through the 19th and 20th century, let’s see how it holds up in this humble hack of a writer’s opinion…

Nose:  Lemon and orange zest.  I recall a big banana note on the cask strength version.  Still here in this standard release to be sure, but milder.  Vanilla and lemon yellow cake.  Light whiffs of allspice.  Slight lilac-iness.  Custard and sweet cookie dough.  Light and Auchentoshan-ish.  (No…this is not simply because ‘Toshan is also triple distilled like many Irish…they really are quite similar!)

Aperitif-like and very easy to put back.  Orange, vanilla, oak and nutmeg-dusted creme brulee.   If not an aperitif, then certainly a light dessert malt; perfect for following white fish or a mild creamy chicken dish.  Very grassy/grainy finish (Sauvignon Blanc-like…reminds of young anCnoc) with an orange and banana cream linger.

Light…pleasant…unoffensive…and entirely Irish.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 8:49 pm
May 022012
 

Writer’s Tears Cask Strength

53% abv          1200 bottles

Score:  82.5/100

 

This was kind of a fun one to approach.  Sitting down to dinner one eve, a face suddenly appeared at the back window.  I went to the door to find a mate of mine standing in the snow (hey…welcome to Canada, friends) with three glasses in hand.  Not just any glasses, mind, but Glencairns filled with healthy drams.  The first two were a couple he had mentioned passing over.  The third?  Well…his only words were ‘a surprise for you’.  With that, he dashed back across the yard and was gone.  Ahhh…the beauty of having members of the Collective living so close.

I don’t often get to blindly nose/taste a dram with no preconceptions, so this was a treat.  Immediately recognizable as Irish and cask strength (clean and fruity…enormous nose), the rest was actually surprisingly easy to dig into and parse as well.  One of the defining characteristics of triple distillation, which is employed by a majority of Irish distillers, is that the resultant drink is quite pure and crystalline.  It becomes fairly easy to dissect a whisky and suss out its primary flavors.

So, not knowing at the time that I was tackling the cask strength Writer’s Tears, here’s what I came away with…

A nose rich in peach and tangerine.  Very clean and crispy.  Sweet barley sugars, creamy vanilla and white chocolate are prevalent, as is a light dusting of nutmeg or cinnamon.  Sounds like an extremely appealing dram, no?  Sadly, this is all absolutely lambasted by an enormous wallop of banana candy.  So hefty, in fact, I walked away for a bit hoping it would fade a little.  No such luck.

First sips reveal a perfumed and almost artificial profile.  Very concocted.  Not sure how better to express myself here.  I always look for a natural integration of spirit and oak.  It should seem completely harmonious.  As if the two had been waiting for each other.  In this case it almost feels like something disingenuous has taken place.  Like I’m being duped.  It seems a bit like one of those sets where the buildings aren’t real, but merely elaborate facades propped up on stakes.

Over-analytical?  Over-critical?  Perhaps.

The rest of the palate is simply chewy and fruity Irish whisky.  The banana is ever-present, but the oak holds it a little more in check here than on the nose.  The fade carries…yeah…banana.

So…is this banana thing a deal breaker?  For me, absolutely.  But let’s be clear here.  A note that I don’t particularly care for does not mean this is a bad dram.  It certainly does not mean it is flawed either.  It is simply not a profile that sits comfortably with my tastes.  If banana is your thing…this may be right up your alley.

But honestly?  Save your money…there are better Irish whiskies out there.

 

Reviewed by:  Curt

Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 9:25 pm