Whiskey Review: Writers’ Tears Cask Strength (2020)

, | March 4, 2021

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Walsh Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Supposedly, writing and whiskey go hand in hand. There are stacks of books written by notoriously drunk authors, and the tales of their drunken debauchery are much taller. Creating a fine whiskey is similar to creating a literature masterpiece, so it is quite apt that a whiskey be branded Writers’ Tears.

Walsh Whiskey first produced Writers’ Tears in 1999, although it did not hit the U.S. market until 2015. Bernard and Rosemary Walsh vowed to create an Irish whiskey that would change the reputation of Irish whiskey. While Writers’ Tears is a blended whiskey, the blend is from premium aged single pot still and aged single malts. The 2020 Writers’ Tears Cask Strength marks the tenth iteration for this annual release. 

In 2016, Walsh Whiskey broke ground in Royal Oak and built a distillery to produce eight million bottles yearly. There are plans for a Writers’ Tears release in 2023 with the all organic, triple distilled spirit from the distillery. Unfortunately, we do not get a taste of it in the 2020 Writers’ Tears Cask Strength. It does, however, have a new label design and packaging for the exclusive, super-premium expression. 

Given we are in the digital age, I cannot write my review on my typewriter, so please enjoy my notes below on the 2020 Writers’ Tears Cask Strength. 

Writers' Tears Cask Strength (2020)

Writers’ Tears Cask Strength (2020) (image via Courtney Kristjana/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Writers’ Tears Cask Strength (2020)

Vital Stats: 54.5% ABV. Pot still and single malt blended Irish whiskey matured in ex-bourbon barrels. Limited to a total of 3,000 bottles (1,500 for the United States and 1,500 globally). 750ml $150. 

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Appearance: Coppery amber

Nose: Honeycomb and cinnamon infiltrate the nostrils straight away. Grapefruit peel and lemongrass brighten up the whiskey. The dram seems almost syrupy with dried stone fruits like plum and apricot. A touch of raisin also comes through. Finally, the aroma of praline, butterscotch, and toffee linger on finish. 

Palate: The mouthfeel is slightly oily, but it is soft and full bodied. The whiskey is warm and full of baking spices. Overall, the whiskey is literally liquid malt and grain fully immerses the tongue. It is mellow for a cask strength, let alone an Irish whiskey. The whiskey is peppery and woody. A faint bit of sweetness comes from candied ginger. 

The Takeway


Honestly, if I were blindfolded, I would not be able to tell this was an Irish whiskey. The mouthfeel is velvety and the whiskey is more mellow. It is not hot at all, even with the 54.5% ABV. The price point for this premium Irish whiskey is decent. If you, or you have a friend who, cannot get into Irish whiskies, I suggest trying Writers’ Tears. The Cask Strength is limited, but definitely worth a try.

User Review
3.71 (7 votes)


Courtney Kristjana

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...