Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years Review

Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years Review

Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years is an independently bottled Irish Whiskey from The Whiskey Exchange. It was initially launched at their 2015 Whisky Show, gathering a rather positive response at the show. Being 22 years old and a single malt I feel like this one came from Cooley because, once again, it doesn’t taste anything like Bushmills to me and the only other Irish Single Malt producer in existence 22 years ago was Cooley… and then there’s the smoky peat aspect to it.

The Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years has a distinct smoky pettiness to and while I did dig up some indications that Bushmills utilized some lightly peated malt back-in-the-day (source = Michael Jackson’s 1987 The World Guide to Whisky), their site and current master distiller both say they only use un-peated malt. So I did a bit more digging and discovered that 1996 was the first year Connemara was released and it was done so as a NAS whiskey. By Irish law whiskey must be aged a minimum of 3 years which puts the distillation date of that first Connemara as 1993 or earlier. 2015 – 22 = 1993 so Cooley definitely had peated malt in the distillery at that time.

Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years Info

Region: County Louth, Ireland

Distiller: Cooley
Bottler: The Whisky Exchange
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Sherry
Age: 22 years
ABV: 51.8%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $200

Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years Review

EYE
Dark honey

NOSE
A rich tapestry of fruit, citrus, menthol, iodine, dark fruit and peat dusted with light notes of malt, nuts, honey and a touch of ash. Water opens up some vanilla taffy and orchard fruit notes and bolsters the honey note a bit more as well.

PALATE
Rich full flavor of sherry, fruit, citrus peels, menthol, phenolic peaty smoke and dark fruit. Light malty sweetness, nuts, spice and a touch of honey kicks up towards the end. Water opens up some vanilla taffy and orchard fruit notes here as well, but doesn’t really enhance the honey the way it does on the nose.

FINISH
Long nutty, ashy and fruity with layers of peat smoke, menthol and sherry sweetness.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Excellent balance, full round body and a rich thick feel.

OVERALL
Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years is a great whiskey. It has a rich, dense, sweet and dark character from the ex-Sherry casks that pairs well with the fruity malt; then comes the peat. This whiskey has just just enough smoky peat to make you take notice, but in no way does it overpower. Instead it balances against the sweet and dark notes fantastically. It’s the kind of dynamic Irish whiskey I’ve been looking for.

It’s also this smoke that gave away exactly who the distillery was. Cooley is the only Irish Whiskey distillery that’s utilized peated malt in recent years and then there’s that happy coincidence with the age of the Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years. The first year Connemara showed up was 1996, as a NAS, and since Irish law requires whiskey to be at least 3 years so it had to be distilled in 1993 or earlier; 2015 – 22 = 1993. Well done Cooley… well done indeed.

SCORE: 93-96/100 (A, not consumed at home)

Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 93
  • Palate - 93
  • Finish - 93
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 93

Summary

Finest Irish Single Malt is as tasty as they come. A truly complex and fantasyic Irish Whiskey.

Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years Label

 

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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2 Responses to Finest Irish Single Malt 22 Years Review

  1. This is actually Bushmills. According to the people at the stand pouring this last year it’s from the same batch of 1991 casks that have been bottled by The Whisky Agency and The Nectar (among others) over the last few years. It was a one-off experimental batch. AFAIK the entire lot was sold to the Teelings, so it never went into Bushmills itself. It’s fantastic stuff, so it’s great to see it getting more publicity.

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