Review: Clonakilty Irish Whiskey – Port Cask Finish and Chateau La Cardonne Finish

Review: Clonakilty Irish Whiskey – Port Cask Finish and Chateau La Cardonne Finish

I recently had a chance to sit down with Padraic Coll, co-founder of the Clonakilty Distillery, when he visited Boston to discuss the company’s whiskey line and future plans. One of Clonakilty’s more exciting projects is collaborating with local breweries across the U.S., aging their Irish whiskey in a variety of distinctive beer casks. They had just collaborated with local brewery Jack’s Abby, aging their whiskey in Framinghammer, a strong Baltic porter. I tried the result: big malty backbone, strong chocolate notes, and definitely a winner as the colder months approach. I left our meeting excited for the future of the Clonakilty brand.

Part of that future was detailed in our last review of their whiskey, Double Oak, which detailed Clonakilty’s dedication to terroir and the cultivation of local barley. But currently, most of Clonakilty’s whiskey is sourced from other distilleries, and though we might guess from where, they won’t tell. At this point, it is the extra aging that makes the whiskey distinctively Clonakilty.

After my meeting with Coll, I was left with samples of two very different Clonakilty whiskeys to sample for a formal review. Let’s give them a try.

Clonakilty Port Cask Finish Irish Whiskey – On the nose, this triple distilled Irish whiskey is light, bright, and fruity, showing strawberry, peach, and cream notes along with a little vanilla and cereal grain. Not what I expect when Port casks are involved, but still agreeable. The palate is a bit heavier with a nice balance of cereal grain and toasted malt hitting first. Peaches and cream follow, which also gives the whiskey a lovely mouthfeel. Peppery spice comes next, with a finish that is fairly long as those notes disappear. I would not have guessed this was finished in Port casks, but it is a well-integrated product that fans of Irish whiskey will want to try. 87.2 proof. A- / $53

Clonakilty Chateau La Cardonne Bordeaux Finish Single Malt Irish Whiskey – The nose of this double distilled single malt whiskey introduces balanced notes of honey, vanilla, and a touch of red fruit. The palate is delightful, oily and mouth-coating with rich notes of honey and toasted malt. Some pepper arrives mid palate. When a bit of water is added, which I recommend, the red fruit peeks through along with a touch of salinity, which adds an interesting complexity. The finish is long and enjoyable. A distinctively Irish and delicious single malt. 92 proof. A- / $50

Clonakilty Port Cask Finish Irish Whiskey




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