Ulster Whiskey Blog

Tyrconnell Single Malt

If Noah had been Irish, all the other animals in the world would have perished and only the horse would have survived.  David Attenborough would never have become famous and horse racing would have replaced Blue Planet, and every other show on TV.  To say the Irish are obsessed with horse racing is an understatement.  Around the time Jesus was performing miracles in the middle east, he could have been having an Each Way double in Ireland, because they have been racing horses here from around that time. The Curragh in Kildare has been a horse racing venue for over 2000 years. Astonishing to think that, even that far back, there would have been guys claiming the races were fixed and the jockeys were “at their work”.

This whiskey is called the Tyrconnell after a horse which won its owner a vast fortune by winning a race at odds of 100/1. To those of you not familiar with odds, 100/1 means don’t bother as the horse has only two gears: reverse and shit.  Well this horse threw caution to the wind and ran a blinder, allowing the owner to fund the setting-up of a distillery.  This is like an Irishman’s fairy tale – using your bookie’s winnings to set up your own whiskey!  I can think of nothing that would be better than that.

The original Tyrconnell Whiskey was distilled in Derry at the Watt distillery which, alas, closed way back in 1921 (will do a piece on it later) so this version is another resurrection on the Irish whiskey scene (yawn).

Distilled at Cooley but stored at Kilbeggan this is not a favourite, or even second favourite, of mine.  I like the bottle with the wee horse on it, but the overall concept of it is a bit too much.  I love the story, obviously, but the sort of tacky way it has been re-invented leaves me a bit cold.  Does the whiskey itself warm me up?  Sorry, but no it doesn’t.  It’s not complex enough, it’s not quality enough, it’s just not enough.  This is the entry level expression of the brand, there are Sherry, Madeira and Port expressions, and they need to add a lot to lift this, if I’m honest.  The nose is ok, but the palate has a poor quality to it and feels slightly oily and not in a good way.  Where some drams have an oily feeling, like Irish dairy butter, this has more of a Frylite low calorie artificial mouth feel.

When you go around the websites and forums etc, many people say they like Tyrconnell and that it is a substitute for Bushmills and Tullamore Dew.  Fine, fair enough, but I would counter that it is over twice the price and a single malt – whilst the other two are blends.  For a tenner less you could have a better single malt, a better blend or, in the case of my local super-market, a Redbreast 12 (well £6 less in that instance) so you catch my drift here. The other varieties would need to make a huge improvement to this.

Nose:                         Fresh fruit , Banana , Apple, Hay,

Palate:                       Mouth feel not good, Malt, Banana, Hay, slight burn, Toffee

Finish:                       Decent length, oak, rises to fresh fruit and spice.

Score:                        5/10

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