Ever since the Cooley tasting I attended at Whisky Lounge I’ve been keeping an eye out for a chance to try more of their whiskies. So, when I spied the Greenore 15 Year OId while clicking through the Drinks by the Dram list for my first order I couldn’t really say no.
It’s the longer matured version of the Cooley Irish single grain whiskey, the only of its type commercially available. I rather liked the 8 year old version, picking up a bottle while at Whisky Lounge London, and was intrigued by what some extra time in the barrel would bring.
On the nose it has caramel sweetness with an undercurrent of astringent graininess, a hint of grassy field and some pear. To taste it has even more caramel, with some woody vanilla and a savoury twist on the finish, with a rubbing of butter. It’s got a load of spice on the tongue which, along with finish, gives a sweet pastry taste. It’s quite delicate so doesn’t like lots of water, but a few drops brings out the pears from the nose as well as some tannic wood bitterness, while softening the caramel to a more general mouth coating sweetness. The butteriness still sits at the back of the throat and accompanies a spicy, woody finish.
Engage poetic license: Like walking through a corn field in the evening while eating a slice of pear pie.
An advancement on the regular 8 year old Greenore, with more of everything but continuing on the same theme. Again, even though it’s quite delicate (although more robust than the younger version) I think it would work well with ice, becoming like a light but interesting bourbon. My experiments with the standard edition seem to suggest that some of the astringency (a common feature among the grains I’ve tasted) is softened a chunk by the ice, but the sweetness and more robust flavours still come through, as long as you don’t try and drown a glacier in it.
I don’t really buy whisky online. Generally I like to talk at people, so buying a bottle is normally an excuse to go and annoy the folk at one of the whisky shops in London, with me asking questions, making shakily backed up pronouncements and being corrected in pronunciation of distillery names and general misapprehensions about whisky and the world in general. However, being someone who wants to try every whisky that there is (no matter what – I have a miniature of Famous Grouse above my monitor waiting for an opportune moment), my wallet and I were rather pleased to find that Masters of Malt are now selling 30ml samples of whisky and other spirits as Drinks by the Dram.
They’re very pretty
There’s a bunch of stuff on there, cheaper by the oversized shot than you’ll get in a bar and also including vodka, rum and brandy. So, my initial foray (comments on which will appear on here in time) included: Greenore 15 (an older version of my favourite at the Cooley tasting at Whisky Lounge), Nikka Pure Malt Red (to go with my Black and the White that I intend to buy, having had it recommended a bunch), Mackmyra First Edition (Swedish whisky), Zuidam Rye (dutch whisky), Port Durant tempranillo cask aged Guyanian rum (no comment needed), a 19 year old Mortlach (because Mortlach is lovely and normally more than I want to spend on a bottle) and some Bruichladdich Octomore (the world’s peatiest whisky, with this one being finished in Petrus casks…mad).
There are a bunch of other companies doing the same thing but these guys are based down the road in Tunbridge Wells, so for my carbon footprint, food mile aware brain (ignoring the Guyanian imports and everything else that I do) it makes sense. As does the overnight delivery…
Drinks by the Dram
Whisk(e)y, vodka, rum and brandy in individual 30ml servings from Master of Malt
From £1.75 (Cabin Hill bourbon) to £41.95 (1954 Glenfarclas) at the time of writing, with things appearing and disappearing all the time.