Currently at the Ulster museum is a collection of drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci, if you haven’t seen them yet, go. They are stunning and you get a very real sense that you are the presence of genius, and it can be very humbling. To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death the Royal collection has allowed drawings to be exhibited across the UK and it is a privilege to be able to see them but what makes them so great? Well firstly it is the fact they are extremely beautiful, that alone would be enough but when you take the history, the story, the craft, the rarity etc it creates something to wonder at.
So to Whiskey. Where I saw genius in the Ulster museum, I tasted it in a bar in the island town of Enniskillen. Blakes of the hollow have revived their history of bottling their own exclusive whiskey. This was a common practice decades ago but had fallen by the wayside now, as part of the Irish whiskey renaissance, it is becoming more common. Blakes have a 26 year old, cask strength, single cask Midleton very rare pot still whiskey. It has perfect provenance, and I have watched enough Antiques roadshows in my time to know, that this is extremely important. The cask was born on 27th of November 1991, which was a Wednesday and makes it a Sagittarius, if you really want to get into it, and was aged for 26 years in first fill ex-Bourbon cask. After 26 years the angels had taken their share and brought the ABV down to 53.1% and left 180 bottles worth.
Taste wise this is a testament to all involved and such was the occasion that Midleton’s master blender Billy Leighton, the man with the longest commute in Ireland, held court and talked those in attendance through the story. Pat and Bernie Blake, owners of the bar, have something very special on their hands here. In terms of Irish whiskey this is as good as it gets.
Nose- Rich, citrus, Almond nut, spice, cinnamon 3/3
Palate – wonderful mouth feel, spice develops, almost smoky, fresh tobacco, cream, sweet fruit…layers of taste. 3/3
Finish- This just goes on and on with the roast oak dominating but so many subtle tastes popping up. Vanilla, oranges, Werther’s originals (Honestly)
Value for money- It always seems tawdry to talk money about masterpieces. 1/1