The Irish whiskey magicians at Glendalough take a return trip to Japan (following on its previous 13, 17, and 25 year old releases) with the launch of Glendalough Mizunara Cask-Finished Whiskey, a youthful 7 year old single malt that is finished in this rare, Japanese oak. (Glendalough was the first Irish whiskey producer to use this type of wood.)
It’s immediately an unusual experience, the nose intense with roasted grains, burnt wood, and a lumbering wine-like quality. It’s extremely savory and unusual for Irish, which almost always pairs its fresh cereal notes with a honeyed sweetness to soften things up. I mean, that’s why people like drinking Irish whiskey. There’s virtually none of that here on the nose, a smoldering walk through a forest with a campfire detectable off in the distant.
The palate shifts gears so dramatically it’s an immediate surprise. Here that roaring wood and cereal shifts into much more engaging and deeper, more vibrant character, notes of coffee grounds, licorice candy, and dark chocolate all quickly coming into clear focus. There’s sweetness, but more of a molasses character buried beneath the panoply of savory, brooding qualities that swirl together cohesively. The finish goes on and on, a caffe corretto featuring a pinch of anise that takes things in yet another direction. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
You may not love it like I did, but I promise this is unlike any Irish whiskey you’ve ever had.
A / $100