Whiskey Review: Talnua Bottled-in-Bond

, | September 30, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Talnua Distillery. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Arvada, Colorado, distillery Talnua has staked out an interesting niche for itself. As general manager Maya Oren said in a recent interview with The Whiskey Wash, Talnua Distillery is “the first distillery outside of Ireland that is fully dedicated to making pot still whiskey.” It should be clarified that in this case, “pot still whiskey” means more than just whiskey made from a pot rather than a column still. It refers to a specific category intimately associated with both the history and the resurgence of Irish whiskey-making.

The category is defined as much by the inclusion of both malted and unmalted barley in the mash as it is by the use of the namesake implement. While the use of pot stills is on the rise in the United States (particularly among craft distillers who have less interest in the higher production volumes of the column design), pot still whiskey made in the Irish style is a rarity. A distillery fully dedicated to the style is unheard of until now. 

While Talnua takes inspiration and stylistic cues from Irish tradition (going so far as to respect the requirements of the Technical File that governs the production of Irish Whiskey in Ireland), they are perfectly clear that they are making American whiskey. Co-Founders Meagan and Patrick Miller first became enamored with pot still whiskey while honeymooning in Ireland, but studied the trade stateside. The influence of Patrick’s time at Colorado single-malt distillery Stranahan’s is discernible in Talnua’s use of local ingredients to imbue a classic European style with American regional terroir.

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This summer marked the limited release of some of the still-young distillery’s oldest product, a four-year-aged Bottled-in-Bond American Single Pot Still Whiskey. If you had to read that designation a second time, that’s because a whiskey that meets the categorical requirements to be labeled both BiB and Single Pot Still is being made available for the very first time.

This bottling is a collaboration between Talnua and Barry Chandler of Stories and Sips who selected a single barrel from a handful of casks that were sent across the Atlantic in celebration of the bond between Ireland and the United States. The whiskey itself consists of a mash bill of malted and unmalted barley, triple distilled, and aged four years in charred American white oak casks. As a single-barrel bottling, quantities are limited to 250 bottles, with remaining bottles available only for pickup at the distillery.

Talnua Bottled-in-Bond (image via Talnua Distillery)

Talnua Bottled-in-Bond (image via Talnua Distillery)

Tasting Notes: Talnua Bottled-in-Bond

Vital Stats: Aged 4 years. 100 proof. Sells for $150.

Appearance: Medium body with a golden-wheat hue.

Nose: Notes of cornbread and cola.

Palate: Big, round, peach-ring stone fruits with a subtle funk and just a hint of vanilla fade out into a finish of allspice and toasty tannins that lean more towards tobacco than leather. 

4.5

Summary

What a ride! A high quality sipper with a fun twist; the nose suggests classic, right down the middle bourbon but it’s almost all Irish on the palate. Quantities are very limited, but if you come across this juice I have a hard time believing you’d regret giving it a try. In my review of Talnua’s core range of pot still whiskeys I stated that I was becoming a fan of theirs, after tasting the BiB I’m looking to buy a jersey!

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