Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Beam-Suntory. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Up until the millennium, Irish whiskey label The Tyrconnell was a one trick pony. However, that changed with the unveiling of its experiments with finishing in different types of casks: Madeira, port, and sherry. As a result, each highlighted the focus and attention put forth in every bottle. A new expression in this vein recently emerged from Beam Suntory/Kilbeggan Distilling Company in the form of the The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish.
The regular Tyrconnell 16 Year Old is the most mature of The Tyrconnell line and this variant I’m reviewing is a limited release. Ex-bourbon barrels showcase the brand’s signature double distillation methods, and from there it was then given additional maturation in wine casks from the Andalucia region of southern Spain, which were initially seasoned with Oloroso sherry before a second seasoning with Moscatel wine.
Aged in the absence of flor, Oloroso is naturally dry. The aromas of Oloroso range from nutty to balsamic. Moscatel is a sweet dessert wine characterized by floral and fruity aromas, and a honeyed raisin palate. Let’s see how they influence this whiskey.
The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish (image via Beam Suntory)
Tasting Notes: The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish
Vital Stats: 46% ABV. Irish single malt whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 16 years before finishing in seasoned sherry barrels from the Andalucia region of Spain. 750mL $99.95.
Nose: Three layers of fruit, flower, and grain make up the aroma on this dram. At the forefront is mushy apple and traces of golden raisin from the sherries. In the middle is a strong rosehip perfume. On the finish is French baguette. Overall, it is light like a typical Irish whiskey.
Palate: While it starts out floral and light, the heat from the ABV eviscerates the delicate nature.Some baking spices are present. Oak completely overpowers the dram. The oak paired with the Oloroso makes this Irish whiskey mouth puckering dry. The sweetness of the Moscatel comes through, however, it turns and sours. The breath finishes with apple and oak.
I was excited to try The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish before opening the bottle. Having just done a sherry tasting with a local aficionado, I was looking to see how the Moscatel and Oloroso influenced the Irish single malt. The nose is phenomenal, and the dram starts out fine on the palate, though a bit hot.
In an instant everything went to pieces. The whiskey soured and something funky was happening with the flavor profile. I tried over the course of time to see if it would change, but it sips consistently to my dissatisfaction.
Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...