This single malt Knappognue Castle 12 Year is finished in bourbon barrels, and was first produced in 1998, at the Cooley Distillery. In 2011, Beam Inc. purchased Cooley for $95,000,000, so someone walked away with just short of 100 million dollars. In my area, this Knappognue Castle 12 Year costs approximately $50, but prices vary every time I shop, so there could be big differences between my price and what you see at your local whiskey/bourbon reseller.
The nose is pleasantly filled with sweet vanilla and butter cookies.
The palate is sweet vanilla and spice that ends with a bit of pepper from the time the whiskey spent in the bourbon barrels.
I can’t help but compare this to Tyrconnel’s Single Malt. Tyrconnel doesn’t have an age statement, but they are within $5 of each other, and I honestly found the Tyrconnel and this Knappognue Castle 12 Years to be quite similar. I think I need to buy another bottle of each and do a blind tasting, because my memory is blurring the two together. Which means that this and Tyrconnel’s Single Malt are tied with an 87/100.
I may go back and update both the Tyrconnel’s Single Malt and this score, because I think a head to head is worth it for a tie breaker in the future.
Intoxicating vanilla and spice.
I love the buttery cookies this brings out on the tongue.
The time spent in the bourbon barrels seems to have left a bit of pepper on the aftertaste that takes away from the rest of the experience.
Having a week off, even thought I was travelling, was nice, and going back to work was very stressful, which means this bottle is basically gone, because I cheated and started to drink it on Monday. Come back Sunday and check out Whiskey Dreams to see how it fared.
This Tyrconnel Single Malt is distilled at the Kilbeggan distillery. This single malt is named after a horse, named of course Tyrconnel, who came from behind to win the National Produce Stakes horse race, or that is at least the lore that surrounds the whiskey. While this was intended as a single release, it was so popular they couldn’t stop producing it. (I wasn’t there in 1876, so I’m pretty much going by what the distillery is saying here.)
Tyrconnel is a mild gold color and the nose is sweet, light, and filled with vanilla and spice. The nose is very pleasing.
The mouth feel is light, and trails off just a tiny big from the nose. If the taste stood up to the nose this would be a contender against Redbreast. The taste is bursting with vanilla sweetness and buttery cookies, calls for your mouth to take the next sip even as the first is being swallowed, which is where this single malt gets dinged a few points. Tyrconnel has a mild, but noticeable aftertaste that turns that lovely spice into something just a bit stringent. Not unpleasant, but not endearing either.
Still, this is a quality sipper, and scores a very respectable 87/100. I plan on replacing the bottle I finished this week while travelling. One of the advantages of being on holiday is you can drink every day if you want.
All sweet butter cookies and vanilla.
Satisfies a craving for Redbreast as $25 to $30 cheaper per bottle.
Once you open the bottle each dram call to you to drink another.
Mild, but noticeable aftertaste.
Once you open the bottle each dram call to you to drink another.
My choice this week is Tyrconnel Single Malt Irish Whiskey. One of the minor pleasures of driving instead of flying is that I was able to bring this bottle with me, and in fact its half gone already. Come back Sunday for the full review.
If you hadn’t noticed, I’m on an Irish Whiskey kick. So I ordered three bottles I’ve never had before, and the first one I choose was this Kilbeggan. I’d describe this as the budget Irish Whiskey.
I know that some of you might consider this to be subtle, but I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle of Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey, so much that I just ordered a bottle of Kilbeggan Single Grain Irish Whiskey to see what $10 does.
The nose is sweet and reminds me of echos of Redbreast. Its like a fourth or fifth cousin, close enough to remind you of the resemblance, but clearly not a first order sibling.
The mouth feel is thin, sweet, and maybe except for that very first sip which has a bit of the burn from the oak tannins from the time the whiskey spent in the barrel. After that its all sweet and vanilla mixed with spice malt.
This Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey punches way above its price. For gatherings, tastings with friends who don’t know if they love whiskey, or any time where value is important, this is just a great choice. It is sippable, sweet and subtle, and earned an 84/100 for being such a great Irish Whiskey.
I plan on keeping a bottle of Kilbeggan on the shelf from now on. At this price point I don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying an extra dram now and then – or feel like I have to ration it because of how much it cost.
The price to quality can’t be beat here.
Kilbeggan is not Redbreast, but since I can buy 3.5 bottles of Kilbeggan for the price, that gives it a lot of value points.
The nose is sweet and gentle.
Sweet, vanilla, and spice all mixed together in malty goodness.
Subtle, perfect for those times you don’t want super strong flavors.
The flavors are mild and fade on the tongue.
The oak from the barrel on that first sip is just a bit stringent? Is that the right word? Maybe its a bit burny? Is that a word? (Yes, I’m writing this 3 drams in.)
If you remember y original review of American XXX Born you know I wasn’t a huge fan. American XXX Born scored a whopping 1 out of 100. When your drinking it neat or on the rocks this bourbon burns and I figured that I might be better off using this whiskey to clean guns and carburetors.
So why did I make a Manhattan out of a whiskey that got a score of 1?
The main reason is my wife. She yells at me that I have too many bottles in the cabinets, and doesn’t understand why I buy new bottles when I have thirty or forty in the “bar”. This is why I’ve been trying to drink some of my less than stellar bottles in the form of Manhattans, because Vermouth does wonders for crappy bourbon.
I figured I’d give American XXX Born a shot, and if it was horrible in a Manhattan, I’d pour it out to make room for something better.
I used my normal to 2 to 1 ratio and took a sip, expecting my mouth and throat to burn, ready to pout the bottle down my kitchen sink. I hesitated, letting the sip flow over the back of my tongue before I swallowed it, quite surprised that I wasn’t already being driven to pour the bottle out.
When mixed into a Manhattan, American XXX Born gets a huge jump in score. I know you may look at this and say, what? It only got a 35, but that is a massive 34 point increase from where it was starting.
Am i going to buy another bottle? Hell no. But I will drink the rest of this one so I don’t feel like I just pissed the money away.
Let’s see, what can we do with American XXX Bourbon?
Saves the money you spent on a bottle that isn’t fit to drink neat/on the rocks.
Makes a cheap bourbon at least drinkable when mixed into a Manhattan.
Still has a little funky aftertaste on the back of the tongue.
Makes me think about cheap alcohol I drank at college parties.
If you read my original review of Legent you will remember that I noticed the burn of the alcohol at first, but adding a bit of ice really let me appreciate the butterscotch sweetness underneath. It is a decent budget bourbon that scored just well enough at 72 to be worth drinking straight, which made me curious how it would be when mixed into a Manhattan.
My first thought is that if you are trying to introduce someone to bourbon, and using Manhattan’s as your tool, this might be the perfect bourbon cocktail for them. The butterscotch sweetness of the Legent turns into what I would almost call a dessert cocktail when its mixed with vermouth.
For me, this Manhattan opens well, but the finish it sickly sweet to the the point where it took away from the experience. It did however negate the alcohol burn of the straight Legent, so I’m still giving the Manhattan a few extra points, as I do think this mixed drink does have its purpose for the right group of guests, which earned this Legent Manhattan a 75/100.
Lovely fruit and butterscotch when it opens up.
Good price to value.
Good to introduce bourbon to drinkers who like sweeter drinks.
A little too sweet on the finish when the vermouth and Legent blend togther.
I picked up this Powers Gold Label and was excited to try it as I’ve read several really positive reviews. Powers Gold Label is 70% single pot still whiskey mixed with 30% sweet Grain Whiskey. It has the nose of a single pot still whiskey, and on face value, is half the cost of some of the best brands.
On paper that sounds amazing.
So how did it do in real life?
The nose reminded me of Redbreast, which made my mouth water. Redbreast is my all time favorite whiskey at the moment. The first sip was overpowered by the alcohol burn and spice, and then finished with a rye that just sticks to the back of my tongue and throat.
Needless to say I am not a huge fan of rye, so while this Powers Gold Label has an amazing nose, its a bit of a disappointment after that. The rye, spice, and alcohol burn make it less than I expected from the nose, and worst of all, this whiskey gave me a horrible hangover after drinking a few drams on Friday night.
The combination of all the above earned this Powers a 65/100, which means I’ll be saving it to make Irish Coffee and other mixed drinks after this.
Honey, lemon, and biscuit cookies on the nose.
Opens with hints of pepper and a little bit of alcohol burn.
Widely available, which means that if you enjoy Powers, it is usually easy to get.
The rye in the blend sticks to the back of my tongue and throat in a way I don’t really enjoy.
I drank maybe 200ml over six hours, and I had a horrible hangover the next day. I can drink more than 200ml of many other whiskeys without feeling bad the next day. I have no idea why, but powers gives me horrible hangovers.