Fresh off the press & ready for your glass - there's a new Irish whiskey in town. I'm a big Irish whiskey fan and love getting into a week full of Irish-centric reviews around St. Patrick's day every year. I will certainly be including this one in my usual blind bracket I run as well! My whiskey journey started long ago with Irish whiskey, before the wider whiskey world caught my eye and taste buds. Having a good bit of experience tasting through this style of spirit, I definitely think it is an area folks should spend more time appreciating.
In a recent PR announcement, this new release is described with some interesting extra detail:
Triple Wood, the first expression from Northcross, is made from a blend of whiskies, distilled in copper pot stills, and matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon barrels, Oloroso Sherry casks and virgin American Oak.
Located in the city of Dundalk in County Louth, The Great Northern Distillery is situated about halfway between Dublin and Belfast, just south of the border with Northern Ireland. Northcross is crafted using high-quality grain and some of the purest water in the country from the nearby Cooley Mountains.
For those uninitiated on the Great Northern Distillery - this distillery is owned by John Teeling, a name well established in the world of Irish whiskey. They have pot stills and column stills capable of a 17 million liter capacity, making it the largest independent distillery in Ireland. I'll certainly be looking at more of the Irish whiskeys on my shelf to see where they were distilled moving forward. You should be able to find this bottle at most liquor stores in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Now let's get into it and find out if this release is worth picking up!
Latitude Beverage Co. was kind enough to offer me this bottle at no cost and with no strings attached; I thank them for the opportunity to give this a fair and honest review!
Company on Label: Crafted & matured at the Great Northern Distillery, bottled by Latitude Beverage
Whiskey Type: Irish Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Further identification: This is a brand new release to the whiskey market landing in select states in March of 2023; the triple wood finishing combines bourbon, sherry & American oak barrels on this non-chill filtered whiskey
Nose: Raising this glass to my nose I find a distinct earthy funk that really gives off a strong Scotch vibe. Anise, clove and black tea wafts up in soft waves. The typical creamy sugar cookie notes I'd expect are fairly malt forward here. Dark cacao and heavily roasted coffee bean sits heavy in the background. The earthy tones can't be understated here and really is the overarching aroma that sticks in the nose. Deep inhales produce hints of cilantro. Let's jump into a sip.
Returning to the nose after a sip I find aromas of light cotton bedsheets, stale beer and light florals. I can't help but notice just a spritz or a mist of vinegar overlaid on some of the other aromas which is very interesting. Late in the glass everything turns quite bright, easy, sweet, simple and enjoyable. I can't quite find any significant or distinct aromas, but I'm not displeased with what was inhaled at all. The empty glass smells of salt water and Necco wafers.
Palate: My first sip is soft up front with honeysuckle and shawarma bread lightly dancing across the tongue with minimal volume. Another sip builds in the earthy tones that the nose was strongly conveying. I find it to be something like a savory chocolate that's fallen onto a bed of moist moss & rich soil. Tasting further I find minimal evidence of any of the three casks highlighted by the triple wood finishing as the base malt grains appear to pop forward first. A larger sip and swish produces sweeter tones of light corn syrup and agave. The mouthfeel is quite thin overall, but that makes it quite easy to sip and that would do well on ice on a hot day. My last sip is once again creamy with hints of marshmallow and tiramisu slowly lingering off into distant floral fields. The finish is short and sweet leaving the sipper ready for anything.
Definitely don't write this one off at one glass - explore this with patience and you will be rewarded. Air seems to have done this bottle well as this warms up to me. I do think one really has to be in the mood for Irish whiskey for this release to land. In my 3 separate tastings of this release, something I do to ensure I am giving everything a fair chance, I had 3 very different experiences. On my first tasting I was surprised by how unique this is compared to other Irish whiskeys that are on my shelf with it distinctly missing some of the characteristics that I have come to expect from Irish whiskey. On my 2nd tasting I was simply not in the mood for Irish whiskey and as such I ended up pouring this out to replace it with a bourbon... but today it landed pretty well with me. It's certainly not one of the more complex Irish whiskeys I've had, but it will definitely do well as a budget sipper for folks who aren't as crazy in-depth in the whiskey world as I am.
What I mean to say above, in way fewer words, is that I think this will be a solid crowd-pleasing whiskey.
Let me know if you get to try this down in the comments. Cheers!