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Whiskey Review Round Up: Tyrconnell 10-Year-Old

image via Joshua St. John/The Whiskey Wash

image via Joshua St. John/The Whiskey Wash

Tyrconnell is a label of single malt whiskey produce at the Cooley Distillery located in Ireland. Sourcing can be a notoriously foggy issue in the world of Irish whiskey. With far fewer distilleries – a grand total of 12 – operating in Ireland and Northern Ireland in comparison to Scotland, oftentimes the precise origin of a bottling remains a mystery to the consumer. Tyrconnell bucks this particular trend by divulging somewhat more information than simply the nation of origin for their whiskies.

The Cooley Distillery was established in 1987 at the site of a former potato schnapps production operation. Malt whiskey distillation began in 1989. In terms of a label, Tyrconnell has roots which reach back to 1762. The label was dormant for more than six decades following the closure of the previous production operation at the Old Watts Distillery in Derry, but the name was resurrected in 1988 when Cooley acquired the brand. The label is currently owned by the Kilbeggan Distilling Company, which is itself under the massive Beam Suntory umbrella.

The whiskeys I’m reviewing today are a trio of Tryconnell 10-year-olds, each aged in a different type of cask (madeira, port, sherry).

Tasting Notes: Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Madeira Cask

Vital Stats: 46% ABV (92 proof), aged 10 years, 100% malted barley, available around $70-$80 per 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Light yellow gold to honey. Medium legs.

Nose: Floral notes. Fairly strong wine presence. Notes of lemon-lime Italian soda. Not overly complex, but fairly bold. The nose tends to fill the air around the glass rather thickly.

Palate: Light mouthfeel and presentation. Sweet. Notes of dry chocolate-roasted almonds, clover honey, and ribbon candy. The finish is soft and silky with lingering notes of honey and oak.

Final Thoughts & Score:

Score: 85/100

I found this version to be the most drinkable of the three reviewed here today. There is a soft and sweet presentation throughout. It feels well-balanced and like a complete whiskey. It is very enjoyable. The pairing of the single malt with madeira is right on the money, bringing out the best in the dram. Quite a duet. In fact, I had a hard time coming up with proper notes on this particular whiskey as it has a sort of “shut up and drink” quality to it. A very nice dram with which to unwind.

Tasting Notes: Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Port Cask

Vital Stats: 46% ABV (92 proof), aged 10 years, 100% malted barley, available around $70-$80 per 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Light golden honey in color with medium legs.

Nose: The nose is lightly herbal while mostly sweet and fruity. Vine-ripened fruit with a light hint of ash. A bit of a solventy bite.

Palate: A fairly dry and sweet arrival. Light mouthfeel. Notes of vanilla, cereal grains, brown sugar, and tart cranberry. The finish transitions quickly and matches the lightness of the mouthfeel. A soft burn that is relatively short. There are lingering notes of fruit and toffee.

Final Thoughts & Score:

Score: 82/100

Sweet, dry, and easy to sip. This would make for a good after dinner malt.

Tasting Notes: Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Sherry Cask

Vital Stats: 46% ABV (92 proof), aged 10 years, 100% malted barley, available around $70-$80 per 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Honey gold. Medium legs.

Nose: Slight alcohol sting on the nose, but otherwise clean and sweet. Notes of honeydew melon, vanilla, cinnamon graham crackers, and butterscotch.

Palate: Sweetness right off the bat. Buttery cinnamon, like cinnamon roll filling. Some spice presence with continued cinnamon and nutmeg. Vanilla, maraschino cherries, and cinnamon jelly candies. The finish features a burn which flashes in the beginning and settles into a warm glow with lingering notes of cherry cola.

Final Thoughts & Score:

Score: 79/100

This is definitely a whiskey for those with a sweet tooth. I found it interesting mostly on account of the tart cherry notes that come and go. The whiskey presents itself almost like a premixed cocktail or even a higher proof liqueur, but not necessarily a great one. There are reasons I generally prefer my whiskies neat, after all. This is a competently sippable dram on its own, but would improve greatly with some mixing.

The Takeaway:

I found plenty to appreciate with the three Tyrconnell offerings I reviewed here. As I mention time and again, I can never get too much information regarding any individual dram I am consuming. Having an age statement as well sourcing information for each of these bottlings sets them apart from a great many of the Irish whiskey offerings sharing shelf space with them. In the case of the madeira and, to a slightly lesser extent, the port, I feel the whiskey is a quality dram worth its asking price. The sherry was just far too forward and sweet for me.

Personally, I would love to see this lineup offered in a seasonal sampler similar to offerings from Jameson and Johnnie Walker. This way the consumer can get to know each separate identity and make a more well-informed purchase.

About the author

Joshua St. John

When not sampling whiskey, Joshua St. John can most likely be found running the trails of the Pacific Northwest surrounding his home in Portland, Oregon. A lifelong world-traveler, Joshua was first introduced to single malts while visiting distilleries in Scotland, and continues to explore the world through the countless interpretations of his favorite spirit.