The Pogues has long been one of my favorite bands and after reading the press-release about West Cork Distillers putting out a Pogues Irish Whiskey to honor the legendary band I was immediately interested. I waited and watched and the day this whiskey arrived in Los Angeles I snapped up a bottle… and then set it aside for several months so I could write about it in March.
The Pogues Irish Whiskey is supposedly the “highest malt-containing blended Irish whiskey, with 50% grain and 50% single malt” which, as we’ll see in the review, would definitely explain the richness of character I found in this whiskey. A 50/50 blend is incredibly high even in Scotland and so if any blended Irish Whiskey deserves the title of being rare it’s certainly this one.
Blended by Barry Walsh and Frank McHardy, the master blenders behind this, the whiskey is made of single malt and grain whiskey that’s been aged for “three years and a day” according to the back of the bottle. This approach and the 50/50 blend, as the distillers put it, was done to give the whiskey “as much character as the band itself”. Which is a big claim to try and fulfill as The Pogues are a colorful bunch who’ve been known to get a bit rowdy. Though if they really wanted to give this whiskey character they would have bottled it at a higher proof (nothing crazy, 96 would do), non-chill filtered and left the caramel coloring out. It is in a black bottle afterall.
The Pogues Irish Whiskey Info
Region: Skibbereen, West Cork
Distiller: West Cork Distillers
Mashbill: 50% Irish Single Malt (100% Malted Barley) and 50% Grain Whiskey
Age: 3 years and 1 day
The Pogues Irish Whiskey Review
Caramel, dried dark fruit, malt, dried citrus peels and light touches of vanilla, spice and honey. It’s a far more complex and interesting nose than I was expecting – a warm aroma that smells far better than any Gartloney Rats that’s for sure.
Caramel malt, fruit, vanilla, spice, buttery pastry, graham and light notes of honey, toasted grain, dried apricots and nuts. Like the nose the palate is more complex and interesting than expected, especially for the category and is the kind of thing that would still taste good at Four O’Clock In The Morning.
Long fade of malt, dried apricot, honey, toffee and dark sweets that will Love You ‘Till The End.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, medium body and a polished, almost oily, feel. The kind of whiskey drinking experience that’ll give you The Ghost Of A Smile.
I was fully expecting The Pogues Irish Whiskey to suck, to be The Parting Glass between me and the “standard” blended Irish category. A 3 years and 1 day whiskey released at 80 proof, chill filtered and loaded with caramel coloring – despite being in a black bottle – didn’t exactly instill the greatest amount of confidence in me. It sounded like the kind of thing you’d pound before confronting your Bastard Landlord in a Dirty Old Town.
In the end my love for the band won me over and I kept an mind open while tasting this 50/50 blend of Irish Single Malt and grain whiskey. I’m happy to say that I did not have to yell “Whiskey You’re The Devil” while pouring it down Hell’s Ditch on a Tuesday Morning. While I don’t think The Pogues Irish Whiskey lives up the distiller’s goal of creating a whiskey with “as much character as the band itself” it does manage to keep me on The Sunnyside Of The Street.
That 50/50 blend gives it a surprising depth of character that makes it stand out like a Squid Out Of Water when comparing it to the competition and that’s enough to keep this Pair Of Brown Eyes smiling. Definitely worth a try, especially if you’re a fan of the band or Irish Whiskey. It may not be a Fiesta in a glass, but it’s no Turkish Song Of The Damned either. This Body Of An American doesn’t need Streams Of Whiskey of the utmost caliber to be happy, just a nice sippable dram on a Rainy Day In Soho (South Hollywood) from time to time.
Till the next dram… Sayonara.
The Pogues Irish Whiskey Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 85
- Palate - 85
- Finish - 85
- Balance, Body & Feel - 85
The Pogues Irish Whiskey is a good whiskey at a good price.