It is Whisky Advent Day 9, and I hope you are all hanging in there and enjoying the ride. I know I am! Today we feature our first of two Irish whiskies in the 2016 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar, the Hyde 10 Year Sherry Finish Irish Single Malt Whiskey. This is a whiskey that’s gotten a fair bit of press in recent years, winning some impressive awards. But it is likely one you’ve never heard of before.
The curious thing about Irish Whiskey, is that even though it was the most respected whisk(e)y in the world in the late 19th Century, by 1975 there were just two active distilleries in Ireland. Bushmills in the North and New Midleton in the Republic. I know some of you will be surprise to hear that, and are about to ask “But, what about: Jameson, Tullamore, Powers, Paddy, Red Breast, Midleton etc… ? Again, I’m glad you did. The reality is these are just brands, some of which were once distilleries, but today they are largely produced by a single distillery.
The whiskey from Hyde is sourced from Cooley, a new distillery that cropped up in Ireland in 1987, converted from a potato ethanol plant. When it opened, challenging the industry that was there, it was just the third active distillery on the whole of the Emerald Isle. In the last few years distilleries have begun popping up like mushrooms after the rain. In just a couple years time there may be as many as a couple of dozen new distilleries. William Grant & Sons has built a new Tullamore Distillery for that brand. The Teeling Family, who opened and then sold Cooley distillery have built a new distillery in Dublin. Will the Hydes follow suit?
About the Hyde Family: (In their own words) The Hyde family have a long tradition of being involved in the Irish drinks business. From 1640 until 1962 the family ran a tavern located just outside the picturesque town of Bandon in West Cork. The Hydes sold traditional Irish Whiskey and draught stout straight from wooden casks, tapped by hand with a mallet and brass tap. The drink business runs through twelve generations of the Hyde family tree. At one stage in 1916, their grandfather, granduncle and grandaunt were all publicans in Bandon. Today, Alan and Conor Hyde are the first generation not to own a tavern, but they continue the family tradition by producing some of Ireland’s finest whiskey.”
About the Whiskey from the Producer: “HYDE Single Malt Irish whiskey is made from 100% malted Irish barley, distilled at a single location. It is made in small batches on a traditional copper pot still. Then matured for over 10 years in flame charred, first fill, ex-bourbon casks from Kentucky in the U.S.A., before finishing for a further six months in either a Sherry or an Oak cask. The flamed bourbon casks initially add a sweeter vanilla and caramel flavour, followed by the toasted sherry casks which add a nutty, spice, dried fruit, and toffee character to the final dram. Sherry oak casks are far more expensive but our view is that they are worth it for the richer character they add to our final HYDE whiskey. (Oloroso Sherry cask cost €800 each. Bourbon Casks cost just €80 each!).”
Hyde 10 Year Sherry Finsh – 46% - Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: floral, loads of vanilla, marzipan and silky caramel tones and polished oak shelves; candied fruits and Christmas cake, mom’s orange heavy mince meat pie in a buttery crust warm from the oven. Palate: round, soft, chewy and silky; loads of big juicy barley, more vanilla and some lovely toasted oak notes; creamed honey leads to melon, orange and some darker fruits; candied fruits and Christmas cake are still there and build with some firm spice; a touch meaty, like a mom’s mince meat pie right out of the oven! Finish: rich, coating and long; although the creamy vein continues to the finish, it is the darker elements (fruits and spices) that dominate. Comment: this is a lovely malt, loads of character and depth; Irish whiskey is in the middle of being reborn, and whiskies like Hyde are doing their part in its surge!” -$110
Stay tuned tomorrow, for KWM Whisky Advent Day 10!