Whiskey Review: The Tyrconnell 15-Year-Old Madeira Cask Finish - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: The Tyrconnell 15-Year-Old Madeira Cask Finish

Perhaps inspired by their cask finishing-mad Scottish neighbors, Irish whiskey makers are beginning to include more novel cask types in their maturation regimes. Case in point? This new bottling from The Tyrconnell, a single malt aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 15 years, then finished in Madeira wine casks.

The Tyrconnell single malt is made at the Cooley Distillery, which is part of the Kilbeggan Distilling Company, which, in turn, is owned by Beam Suntory. The whiskey is made entirely from malted barley and double-distilled on a pot still, much like the Scottish tradition.

The malt gets its name from an odds-beating racehorse named Tyrconnell who ran—and won—the 1876 National Produce Stakes Horse Race at The Curragh, which, according to the brand’s publicists, is “Ireland’s most important thoroughbred racecourse.” Why is it that whiskey culture and horse racing seem to go together around the world?

This release isn’t the first time that the distillers at Cooley have experimented with Madeira casks. In 2007, The Tyrconnell released a 10-year-old expression finished in Madeira as part of a permanent series that also uses Port and sherry casks. This, however, is the oldest Madeira-finished bottling the brand has put out, and it’s described as a limited release.

Part of Portugal, the island of Madeira is known for its eponymous wine, a complex fortified wine made from a variety of grapes, predominately a red grape called Negra Mole. Uniquely, it’s heated during the winemaking process for a period of at least three months, giving it some whiskey-like flavors of nuts, stewed fruit, and toffee. Does that mean it’s a perfect companion for finishing fruity Irish single malt?

The Tyrconnell 15-Year-Old Madeira Cask Finish

Vital Stats: 46%, 15 years old, suggested retail pricing of $100 for a 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Pale gold

Nose: A very pleasant, light, lively nose, with gentle aromas of malt, pineapple, banana, light caramel, butterscotch pudding, and toasted nuts. 

Palate: Perched between malty and vinous, with a mouth-coating, syrupy texture. Fruity notes of red cherry, currant, bananas foster, and white grape juice kick things off, then salted butterscotch, thyme, and white pepper move in. The finish is long and tropical, with more pineapple and stone fruit tapering off to a slightly astringent, but not overly oaked, finish.

The Takeaway

Really enjoyable. Wine finished whiskeys can be hit or miss, but The Tyrconnell made a solid connection here. Balanced, easygoing, and tasty, with a welcome touch of sweetness and fun tropical twist.

User Rating 4 (5 votes)