This is a very interesting and fun whiskey with so much to offer, but that fun comes at a cost and that cost is paid in fruit. It’s delicious, it’s easy to drink, but sooner than you would think the fruit goes from just creeping up on you to completely overwhelming the palate. By the second glass it’s a bit difficult to taste anything other than the peach and banana notes. Which is a shame because it starts out so crisp and delicious.
I rarely give advice on how to drink a whiskey, because how someone decides to down a dram is their own damn business, but unless you want a banana peach explosion in your mouth I’d highly recommend just keeping this one neat.
One interesting thing about this whiskey is that it’s most likely been distilled by Bushmills. Traditionally the Knappogue Castle is distilled by either Cooley or Bushmills and this one happens to have been triple distilled. Traditionally Bushmills distills three times where as Cooley typically only distills twice. It’s entirely possible, but not very likely, that Cooley triple distilled this one, but if we’re playing the detective game it’s far more likely that it was created by Bushmills. Which technically makes this the sweetest Bushmills I’ve ever had.
UPDATE: I spoke with Castle Brands on Twitter and they confirmed that it Knappogue (and Clontarf) are all made at Cooley.
Enough semantics and on to the whiskey. If you’ve had this interesting whiskey leave your own tasting notes in the comments below.
Knappogue Castle 12 Review
Possibly distilled by Bushmill’s Cooley
Right off the bat are some green apples, honeysuckle, and lemon rind. The malt and spice are definitely in there, and as you might expect, some hints of vanilla and caramel. Though something you might not expect is how strong the scent of peaches and banana cream pie come though. To be honest it’s a bit intense.
This is one of the fruitiest whiskeys I’ve had in a while. The same green apple from the nose comes through in full force right away and it’s followed up with red berries, grapes and tropical fruit. There is also some really surprising and delicious notes of salt water taffy, mint, caramel, vanilla, and bourbon spice and if that’s where it stopped that would have been fantastic, however there are a some gremlins in this glass and they go by the names peach and banana. The sweet peach and banana notes border on overwhelming and like mogwais from hell they become even more bold and gnarly when water is added. Particularly the banana.
Incredibly smooth and satiny. If it weren’t for the massive peach and banana the texture alone would make this a daily drinker for me.
Big peach and banana that hang around for a really long time, but as they fade the malt and just a hint of bourbon spice shows up before it fades completely.