Tasting Notes (in English): Single Cask Bottlings Tipperary Boutique Distillery 2020

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Covid-19 has been hard on many of us, and it has thwarted many bottlings this year. The new single cask bottlings from the Irish label Tipperary Boutique Distillery fell victim to the virus this spring. Although they are ready to be send out, they got stuck in Ireland and have largely failed to reach their intended markets. Which is a pity because there are some fantastic barrels in the range.

Due to Covid-19, the new single cask bottlings by the Irish label Tipperary Boutique Distillery are not available on the German market this year. However, after Jennifer Nickerson, owner of Tipperary Boutique Distillery, told me about her new bottlings during our last conversation, I became curious. As the daughter of a Scottish distillery manager, Jennifer grew up with whiskey and so far she has shown a good knack for beautiful, classic bottlings.

If you just like coke-coloured sherry bombs or are big fans of Virgin Oak and lots of wood, then you can confidently stop reading here and move on. But if you are a lover of old Irish whiskeys, then you should read on. Single cask bottlings with old Irish single malts are often terrific, but they are also becoming increasingly rare and unfortunately also more expensive. Luckily, there is a tasting set available which was assembled in connection with an online tasting at Mulligan’s whiskey shop in Dublin, and I decided to order it. Postage was no problem and after a few days it was delivered from Ireland to my mailbox in Germany. So, was it worth the effort? Here are my tasting notes:

 1. Tipperary B. D., Irish Single Grain, 9 years, Single Cask no. 627, 59.5%

Special info: Grain whiskey, distilled on pot stills, matured in bourbon barrels, cask strength, no added colour, non-chill-filtered, 250 bottles, triple distilled, approx. 75 euros

Color: light yellow

Nose: wow! Unusually intense for a grain. Banana, caramel, sweet syrup, fruit pies, Fanta, marzipan, almond bread, glue and cotton candy. Great!

Taste: very creamy and oily. With a few drops of water, it becomes milder and gentler and shows peach aromas. With the typical bitterness of grain at the end.

Finish: long and warm

Conclusion: This grain is extremely aromatic, which is probably due to the fact that it was not distilled on a column, but on classic pot still stills. Impressive!

2. Tipperary B. D., Irish Single Malt, 2008-2020, Sherry-Cask, Rioja-Finish, RC 103, 57.53%vol. 

Special info: matured in a refill sherry cask, with a 20-months finish in a Rioja red wine cask from Bodega Faustino, cask strength, no added colour, non-chill-filtered, triple distilled, 300 bottles, approx. 90 euros

Color: copper-red

Nose: the dry red wine finish of the Rioja shows up first, and combines picturesquely well with the underlying aromas of the refill sherry barrel: raisins, nuts, chocolate, but also a very slight sulfur note that always puts me off a bit. Dry and earthy.

Taste: strong and dry, with very nice spicy aromas and a full mouthfeel. At the end there are dry tannin notes, but without being woody.

Finish: long, warm, and rather dry on the tongue.

Conclusion: A well-done and balanced whiskey, with a finish to the point. Nice complexity. The wine finish is pronounced, without being overwhelming, and gives the whiskey mainly a nutty, spicy and dry character. Due to its dryness I like to combine this one with dark chocolate or a nutty cheese so that the saliva comes back.

3. Tipperary B.D., Irish Single Malt, Single Cask No 2302, 17 years, 5/2002-2/2020, 57.23%vol.,

Special info: fully matured in bourbon barrels, cask strength, non-chill-filtered, without added colour, triple distilled, 210 bottles, approx. 125 euros

Color: straw yellow

Nose: whoops! That’s a nose! Very unusual and super intense fruit flavors that remind me of the bright and clear voice of a young Joan Baez. Lots of sweetness and an unbelievable amount of sugary canned pineapple, blossom honey, beeswax and fresh tobacco leaves. After a long time, shortbreads and hard caramel candy like Werters Echte.

Taste: leather, tobacco notes, cherry juice and furniture wax. No wood. Creamy and waxy.

Finish: long and warm

Conclusion: one of those unusual, fruity-leathery Irish whiskeys that are unique and cannot be compared with anything in Scotland. Be sure to give it a lot of time in the glass, the whiskey will reward your patience.

4. Tipperary B.D. Irish Single Malt, Single Cask No 142, 1/2002-2/2020, 18 years,  55.83% vol.,

Special info: cask strength, full maturation in rum cask, no added color, not chill-filtered, triple distilled, 210 bottles, approx. 130 euros

Color: straw yellow

Nose: hearty bread, mango, raspberries, overall rather subtle. A few drops of water open it up, but it remains slightly subdued. It can use a little more time in the glass.

Taste: Chili and leather bag, pleasant spicy aromas, no wood. After a few drops of water, it gets a bit milder, but is still slightly spicy, slightly dry

Finish: long and warm

Conclusion: I didn’t find the rum barrel here, there was probably not much rum in the barrel left when the whiskey was poured in. 18 years later, the refill barrel has produced a very nicely matured whiskey with a great deal of complexity, a rather soft voice and a bit of a chili moment. If you give it time, it blossoms out and its voice becomes louder.

5. Tipperary B.D., Irish Single Malt, Single Cask, Cask No 4533, 18 years, 12/2001-2/2020, 48.60% vol., 

Special info: refill Ex-Bourbon Barrel, without added colour, not chill-filtered, triple distilled, cask strength. With 48.60% vol. an unusually high Angels' Share and therefore an unusually low level of liquid in the barrel, which indicates very active maturation, but unfortunately only resulted in 135 bottles. Approx. 145 euros

Color: straw yellow

Nose: tropical fruit mix of mango, pineapple, with honeycombs, powdered sugar, soft caramel candies and juicy butter cake. And a little bit of very faint wood aromas.

Taste: Wow !!! This is great - creamy, oily, waxy-rancid, full-bodied, incredibly sweet on the tip of the tongue and rather dry

Finish: long, warm and dry

Conclusion: a very nice, old, Irish whiskey. It is almost tragic that after 18 years the barrel only produced 135 bottles. On the other hand, due to the high evaporation rate, the barrel was also much more active than its siblings, which makes it appear significantly older than it is. A super nice barrel for connoisseurs and lovers of Irish whiskey.

Overall impression:

The market is currently flooded with (very) young Irish whiskeys, which are pumped up with all sorts of creative finishes in very wet barrels. They are like whiskey on steroids  and are a good companion for a fun evening on the patio, in a cocktail or at the regulars' table. These young jesters-in-a-glass are fun to drink and have lots of fans. The new single cask bottlings from Tipperary with their "old-school style" are players in a different league.

However, if you know how grandiose and unique old Irish whiskeys from refill barrels can be, you will not let these single cask bottlings from Tipperary slip by. Fruity, very harmonious and complex, they seduce the connoisseur to give the whiskey time, to bring the glass to the nose again and again and to always find new facets.

I like each of the five bottlings very much, whereby my personal favorite in this flight is No 3, closely followed by No 4 and No. 5. The grain is also terrific, while No 2 is more of a tribute to the sherry-and-wine barrel fraction of whiskey-drinkers. Jennifer did not tell me which distillery they come from, but my guess would be a northerly distillery that begins with a B.

Young Irish are fun. But Old Irish have what it takes for a deep, satisfying and lasting love. Unfortunately, bottlings with old Irish whiskey are becoming increasingly rare and prices keep rising. In view of the current market situation, the prices of the Tipperary Distillery are absolutely fair.

These bottlings are not for the color drinkers, but for the connoisseurs. The bottlings are currently not available outside of Ireland, but they can be easily obtained from L.Mulligan's shop in Dublin.


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