Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Pernod Ricard. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Powers Irish Whiskey, a top seller in its native land, has released another bottle to the United States. Available in select states for around $45, it promises to be a “modern expression” of what their whiskey embodied before moving to the Midleton Distillery. As a single pot still Irish whiskey, it is triple distilled and made from both malted barley and un-malted barley. They claim to remove more tails and heads than other Irish whiskies, delivering more flavor before blending with grain whiskey.
The name of this whiskey comes from the tradition of displaying a varying number of swallows on their bottles. They indicated age, quality and purity of the whiskey. With time, all Powers bottles began to boast three swallows, and this release reportedly pays tribute to the excellence and reputation of the brand.
A legacy of more than 200 years, the Powers brand has been around since 1791. John’s Lane Distillery, the original production site, was producing whiskey at a rate of 900,000 gallons with six large pot stills during the late 1800s. The two largest stills had a capacity of 25,000 gallons for production of the low wines. This is a highly respectable volume for the time, and it continues to be one of the best selling Irish whiskies in Ireland. With a backing by their Pernod-Ricard owners, this new release no doubt has promising prospects in the United States.
We are all aware of the popularity of Irish whiskies such as Jameson. As consumers continue to enjoy more top-shelf offerings of smooth Irish whiskies, the Powers Three Swallow Release no doubt is aimed towards those thirsty and curious drinkers. It is aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in Oloroso sherry barrels. It is also said that the stills used for Powers at the Midleton Distillery were based on the original stills from the John’s Lane Distillery. With any luck, this whiskey would taste very similar to a Powers bottle from pre-1974, which is when they moved operations to the Midleton Distillery.
Tasting Notes: Powers Irish Whiskey Three Swallow Release
Vital Stats: 86.4 proof (43.2% ABV); single pot still Irish whiskey; triple distilled in copper; non chill filtered; malted and un-malted barley; aged in ex-bourbon and finished in ex-Oloroso casks; no age statement; $40-$45 for 750mL.
Appearance: Wildflower honey.
Nose: Not intensely aromatic. Some vanilla and toffee along with orange, raisins, and spicy malt.
Palate: Apple, marzipan and cinnamon begin, leading into a balancing experience of apricot and crème brulee. Darker fruits such as prunes go along with a touch of milk chocolate before finishing with a savory, toasted spice.
Before tasting, I find the claim that using more “heart” and less “tails and heads” improves the whiskey is not necessarily a fair marketing play. It is about how you age the cuts, and how those flavors develop over time. While more heart tastes better before the barrel, it isn’t until after several years that you will know if that was better or worse, or just different.
However, the heritage of more than 200 years is stronger than my few, and it is obviously apparent when you drink it. It is smooth and easy like most Irish whiskies, but it is complex and rich as well. The complex spice and sherry notes are carried wonderfully on the chosen proof while you sip away at this easy drinking delight.
User Review3.12 (25 votes)
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After graduating with an engineering degree in Colorado, Cameron Holck discovered his passion for hospitality. He followed his love of the outdoors into the Pacific Northwest where he continues his dedication to bartending, and as a sales representative for Four Roses Bourbon. He warmly welcomes the fact that a night...