Whiskey Review: Mosswood Barrel Aged Irish Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Mosswood Barrel Aged Irish Whiskey

Having started my own career working for a craft distillery and cocktail bar, I’m a big supporter of the little guys in the spirits industry. It’s even better when the little guy releases quality products. Mosswood Distillers has several bottles for sale, all of which are sourced and then ACE’d, their term for ‘Additional Cask Enhanced.’ Originally from Treasure Island in San Francisco, they moved to Berkeley after renting conditions became unaffordable, and they have eventual plans to begin distilling their own whiskey.

Named after Mosswood Park in Oakland and run by Therese Agnew and Jake Chevedden, Mosswood is a project of passion for new, delicious whiskey. Many ‘rectifiers’ exist these days, those who source whiskey, age it, blend it and bottle it under their own label. Mosswood does this, but with the intent to add flavor and increase the intrinsic value of the spirit rather.

The bottle we’re focusing on today is an Irish whiskey from the Cooley distillery. It is a minimum of three years old, with Mosswood further aging it for around another year in an ex-Amontillado sherry cask. Each of their bottlings focus on pairings between source spirit and the new cask, reshaping and refining the whiskey.

By carefully considering flavor pairings between the spirit and the finishing barrel, they are theoretically able to create interesting and agreeable flavor profiles. Major Scotch brands have been purposely doing this with sherry barrels for a long time, so it makes sense that a small producer like Mosswood can create quality products with a similar ideology.

Mosswood Barrel Aged Irish Whiskey

Mosswood Barrel Aged Irish Whiskey (image via Cameron Holck/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Mosswood Barrel Aged Irish Whiskey

Vital Stats: 46% ABV, Irish whiskey finished in amontillado sherry casks, 750mL, $55-$65, four years of age.

Appearance: Butterscotch

Nose: Green berries and underripe honey dew melon with lavender and citrus. At first there is upfront alcohol, but it mellows and reveals deep charred oak, much like the deep musty smell of a rick house in Kentucky.

Palate: The barrel finishing is immediately prevalent with a buttery nuttiness. Cashews and almonds are accompanied by lemon oil, a bit of banana, and orange flower. A nice woody finish makes gives this whiskey a surprisingly nice balance.

The Takeaway

The Mosswood Irish Whiskey is one of the top Irish whiskies I've tasted. The carefully selected barrel finishing process amps up the complexity, the body and the balance without removing the base spirit characteristic. There is a beautiful lightness behind it that carries the amontillado barrel notes well, all the while allowing for a very enjoyable spirit. At the price point, it is a good deal too! This is an excellent representation of what a passionate craft company can do when given the tools to create.

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About the author

Cameron Holck

Bartender in Portland, OR.