G’day everyone and welcome to 2020.
2019 was an incredible year, made all the sweeter by overcoming some of our biggest challenges ever.
With a full week of -30 and beyond safely under our belts here in Alberta, the sun is now shining down on +1 and I even feel brave enough to venture outside and take our wee dog Sashes for a frolic up on the hill.
Last week I had a lot of fun pouring whiskies for everyone at the Edmonton and Calgary whisky festivals. It’s always great to see so many familiar faces and share stories about delicious drams and fun whisky adventures.
Over the past few weeks while huddling by the fire I have taken to enjoying a brand new offering from the boys at Hyde in Cork. This is the latest in their range of award winning whiskies and is a style of Irish Whiskey that many more distilleries will no doubt be offering in the coming years. The cover photo for this blog is my wife Cindy just getting to the top of Blarney Castle right before her turn to give the Blarney stone a kiss.
Most of you would be familiar with Guinness. The iconic Irish Stout owned by industry powerhouse Diageo. The brewery and Guiness experience including the skybar overlooking the rooftops of Dublin is an amazing place for a pint and should not be missed if you find yourself in Ireland.
Down South in Cork where the Hyde brothers create their fine range of Irish Whiskies, there is a craft brewery called Cotton Ball. Cindy and I have had the great pleasure of staying in Cork on a few occassions and it is a fabulous place for friendly people, Irish culture, fantastic drinking establishments and unequalled hospitality.
The Hyde boys managed to get themselves a bunch of Cotton Ball stout casks and promtly popped their delicious triple distilled Irish Whiskey inside to see what the outcome might be. Let’s check it out together.
Hyde 1640 Irish Whiskey – Stout Cask finished – No chill filtration or colour added – 43% abv- 75% single grain with 25% single malt.
Colour: Has a really nice amber quality to it. Quite a complicated cask management process on this whisky. 75% of this blend is single grain (mostly corn) and was aged in heavily charred ex Bourbon barrels. The other 25% was single malt and was aged in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. Everything was then added together and poured into the Stout Casks for 6 months. The Stout casks are ex Bourbon and held the Cotton Ball stout for about 3 months before the whisky had a turn.
Nose: My wife Cindy’s Italian coffee grinder that whirls away every morning and fills the air with the heady scent of freshly ground Calgary Heritage Roasting Company coffee beans. Toffee with a swirl of vanilla fudge, plums and dark chocolate.
Palate: Sweetness up front from the single grain that quickly transitions to a lovely dark spice, coffee note and the surprising addition of a little hoppiness. Having sadly never had the Cotton Ball Craft Stout I have no idea of the level of hops used. Next time I am in Cork, its on my list of things to drink. Really soft on the palate and way too easy to drink and I mean WAY. I took a bottle over to Ontario for my brother in law for Christmas and while watching the u19 Canada v Russia game we dispatched a really healthy amount. Delicious.
Finish: I get that slightly bitter coffee note lingering on and on but the earthy sweetness of the chocolate fudge and plums with vanilla is all over it.
This is sitting on the shelf in Alberta for around $ 45 and is great value for an every day dram. I will always be keeping an open bottle on my bar for sure.
Conor and Alan Hyde have done an excellent job procuring a steady stream of whisky from Cooley, Teeling other distilleries in Ireland and then using skillful and at times complex cask management to come up with these interesting and delicious expressions. Great work guys.
Until next time enjoy whatever dram you have in your glass and do reach out to me if you would like me to point you in the right direction to grab a bottle of this Hyde 1640.