Welcome Whisky Lovers!
This months tasting comes from the delightful chaps over at Hibernia Distillery in West Cork Ireland!
We have 4 of their amazing Single Malts to sample along with a personal favourite of mine - Glayva.
Hibernia Distillers is a new member of Ireland’s rapidly growing Irish whiskey sector. Based in Innishannon, West Cork, Ireland, Hibernia Distillers produce a range of Premium, Single Malt, Irish Whiskey under the HYDE brand.
Started by brothers Conor & Alan Hyde in 2014 the brand has gone from strength to strength with sales now in over 15 countries worldwide.
PRESIDENT DOUGLAS HYDE ( 1860 - 1949 )
Douglas Hyde was the 1st President of Ireland from 1938-1945. He was sworn into office on 26th June 1938, which was the very 1st presidential ceremony in Ireland’s long & rich history. Hyde No.1, Presidents Choice Whiskey, pays homage to the first leader of our Free State. Hyde Irish whiskey was created to deliver complex Presidential flavour notes that are a celebration of Ireland’s unique history, heritage and provenance.
NOSE: Delightful peaches & cream, vanilla, barley malt softness, with citrus, sweet, honey, caramel, chocolate, orange, lemon, banana, & infused with spices.
TASTE: Wonderfully smooth yet complex, creamy yet fruity with notes of caramel and Manuka honey, apricot, plum, and a silky malt texture.
FINISH: Rich, Spicy, & Oaky. It lingers in the mouth with a creamy rich finish.
VINTAGE SPANISH OLOROSO SHERRY CASKS INFORMATION
No cask has a more dramatic effect on a maturing whisky. The majority of the whiskey industry uses American ex-bourbon barrels for the full maturation.
At HYDE we use hand-picked Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, Hogsheads not barrels!
For our two stage sherry cask finished whiskey we use two types of barrels:
1. An American White Oak (or Bourbon barrel) The American barrel is used once to mature bourbon whiskey, and generally imparts flavours such as Vanilla, honey, fudge and obvious sweetness.
2. A toasted Spanish Oloroso Sherry Butts (Quercus robor) from the Galicia area, sourced in Andalucia. The Spanish Sherry butts are first fill casks which contained sweet Oloroso Sherry for at least 2 to 4 years.
Spanish Oloroso sherry casks give colour, spice and dried fruit character, whereas US Bourbon oak casks give lighter, sweeter vanilla and butterscotch flavours.
Many of our vintage sherry casks are at least 20 years old and were originally used to make dry Oloroso sherry, which contributes to the very distinctive richness in the final HYDE single malt whiskey. ( These typically are Cinnamon, Fruits, Berries and sometimes heavy Christmas cake notes ).
NOSE Cinnamon and clove with succulent s weet caramel flavours. Complex and spicy with sweet American bourbon notes.
TASTE Robust single grain spices with a touch of cracked black pepper give way to a buttery vanilla and charred oak taste.
FINISH Long and satisfying, ending with a silky combination of oak and barley
NOSE: The aroma is rich with notes of tropical fruits from the Caribbean, passion fruit, vanilla and butter toffee.
TASTE: Notes of Sweet rum, vanilla, ginger and lime with back notes of apple mango and orange in the background.
FINISH: Rich and Spicy with a buttery vanilla finish.
VINTAGE CARRIBEAN DARK RUM CASKS INFORMATION
At HYDE we use TWO different casks to age our Rum cask single malt.
STAGE ONE: For the First 5 years Hyde single malt is aged in flame charred, first fill, Oak Bourbon casks, from the USA.
STAGE TWO: For an additional 9-12 months we transfer HYDE into charred Dark Caribbean Rum casks, made from American white oak.
The flamed bourbon cask initially adds a sweeter vanilla and caramel flavour, followed by the charred dark Rum cask which adds a sweet spicy rum character to the final expression.
Premium dark Caribbean Rum casks are hard to find and are far more expensive to import all the way from the Caribbean to Ireland, but our view is that they are worth it for the rich fuller character it adds to our final HYDE Single Malt whiskey. (Caribbean Rum casks cost €900 each whereas American Bourbon Casks cost just €80 each! )
NOSE Spiced with notes of red berry fruit, vanilla, and toasted oak.
TASTE A creamy nutty palette entry with notes of sweet custard, apple peel, red berries and orange blossom honey.
FINISH A nice long satisfying finish of plum, jam and spice ending with a silky combination of oak and barley
Extended information for the whisk(e)y nerds among us :) Steve
SLOW, GENTLE, MATURATION IN WEST CORK & THE GULF STREAM
The warm Atlantic Gulf stream provides West Cork with the perfect 'temperate' oceanic micro-climate for maturing Irish whiskey casks in. West Cork in Ireland is a coastal region in the far southwest of Ireland with an exceptional micro climate not found anywhere else in Ireland with warm summers and mild winters. The region has one of the mildest and most temperate climates in Western Europe. The West Cork coast is warmed by the Atlantic 'Gulf Stream' which results in lush, almost tropical, vegetation. Temperatures here tend not to get as low as elsewhere in Ireland – snow is almost unheard of – and though it rains more than average it is also warmer and sunnier than average for Ireland. Temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) or above 25 °C (77 °F) are very rare in West Cork. The effects of this warm, wet, temperate, micro-climate are very evident when you visit West Cork and see palm trees, luxuriant sub-tropical vegetation, and exotic flowers growing in abundance in tropical display gardens. Plants such as Italian Casita and actual Palm trees that would find it impossible to survive elsewhere in other parts of Ireland thrive in West Cork. Another plant, Fuchsia magellanica, has become the unofficial emblem of the region. There’s something restorative about the temperate West Cork climate that allows subtropical plants to flourish where they have no business growing. Unlike anywhere else in Ireland, West Cork is "a place apart" - And you can taste the difference in HYDE Single Malt Irish Whiskey!
NOT CHILL FILTERED: WHAT IS CHILL FILTERING?
The process of ‘chill filtering’ is widespread across the whiskey industry with 95% of all whiskey using this process to remove substances from the whiskey before bottling. The main reason for ‘chill filtering’ is in fact just cosmetic. A whiskey with an ABV below 45%, which has not been chill-filtered, will go cloudy when ice is added or when it gets cold. This natural phenomenon is seen as undesirable by consumers and manufacturers alike so distillers have reacted by removing these naturally occurring particles in the whiskey by the process of ‘chill filtering’ before bottling. However, Whisky at 46% ABV and above does not go cloudy as the higher alcohol level stops the cloudiness from forming.
WHAT CAUSES THIS CLOUDINESS?
This cloudiness is caused by the presence of natural fatty acids, esters, and proteins in the whiskey. These all occur naturally in the whiskey from distillation and some are imparted from the wooden casks during the long maturation period. When whiskey is cooled down then these naturally occurring fatty acids, proteins, and esters clump together to form cloudiness in the whiskey know as a whiskey ‘haze’. A whiskey that is not chill filtered may also develop sediment at the bottom of the bottle over the years if stored in a cool place. Unfortunately both sediment and cloudiness are seen as undesirable by the wider whiskey drinking community. During the early 20th Century it was discovered that this perceived ‘whiskey haze’ imperfection could be ‘fixed’ by filtering them out of the whiskey at a low temperature before bottling. The result was that these naturally occurring elements in the aged whiskey could be removed easily by this chilled filtration process.
THE CHILL FILTERING PROCESS:
The process of chill filtering involves dropping the temperature of the whiskey down to zero degrees Celsius in the case of shingle malts and to -4 Celsius in the case of whiskey blends. The chill temperatures for whiskey blends are lower as they contain grain whiskey and have a lower naturally occurring concentration of fatty acids. Once chilled the whiskey is passed through a series of very tightly knit metallic meshes under high pressure. The amount of residue collected depends on the number of metal filters, the pressure level, and the flow rate. The slower that a whiskey is passed through a chill filtering process then the more residue that is collected in the filters, but this is also more costly. During this process any other sediment or ‘coals’ present in the whiskey will also be removed.
GOOD OR BAD?
Here at HYDE we DO NOT Chill filter any of our single malt whiskey. We believe in producing a more Natural whiskey with the full character and taste of the original whiskey straight form that cask. We think you can taste the difference. The removal of all the naturally occurring fatty acids, esters, and proteins form the original single malt whiskey affects the final flavour profile and original character.