Our friends at CIL US Wines & Spirits — the American arm of Camus Cognac — have chosen an interesting project for their next release: Irish whiskey.
Lambay Irish Whiskey comprises two expressions, both made by West Cork Distillers and finished with unique barrel treatments that take a nod toward their creators’ roots in France. The whiskeys are named for Lambay Island, a tiny spot of land off the coast, near Dublin.
Details follow along with tasting notes for both expressions. Both are NAS whiskeys, bottled at 80 proof.
Lambay Irish Whiskey Small Batch Blend – “The finest malted, un-malted barley and grain whiskeys, carefully blended, triple distilled and matured in bourbon barrels with a pleasant Cognac cask finish, exposed to the sea air. A touch of Lambay Island Trinity Well Water, renowned for its volcanic properties, makes the whiskey as unique as the island.” This whiskey, the color of pale sunlight, offers a nose of simple grain elements, some honey, and a touch of burnt matchsticks. On the palate it’s bolder than expected, with notes of lemon peel, moderate spice, sweet nougat, and touches of walnut and banana. The finish is short, with a renewed focus on the grain. A perfectly credible, if simple, Irish. B+ / 35
Lambay Irish Whiskey Single Malt – “A deliciously smooth unpeated whiskey, triple distilled and finished in selected French Oak Cognac casks that have been exposed to the sea air and maritime winds on Lambay Island.” To clarify, the single malt is matured on Lambay Island, while the Small Batch is not. Much darker, amber in color, it’s a very different spirit. The nose is immediately heavy with apples — almost Calvados-like — with a touch of baking spice added and a hint of bubble gum. On the palate, some petrol (oddly) emerges, leading to notes of canned fruit and baked apples. The finish finds milk chocolate emerging and a hint of cinnamon. It’s quite a nice collection of flavors, though the syrupy fruit gets in the way of cohesion and the palate is a bit thin. This could stand a slight bump in abv. B+ / $50