Blackadder A Drop of the Irish

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A couple of weeks back I tried my first whisky from the UK-based independent bottler Blackadder. A family run affair since 1995, Blackadder was founded by Robin Tucek, whose mantra: "Cask is King!" guides the company's practice of bottling single cask whiskies at full strength without colouring or filtration. 

Among the several product lines within the company's portfolio, "A Drop of the Irish," is the sole release dedicated exclusively to bottling single cask Irish single malt whiskeys. The name of the distillery is kept a mystery and, while an age statement may appear on some releases, the one I tried was non age-stated. 

It did however contain other interesting information; the one I sampled was bottle number 43 of 286 and was bottled in May 2015 at 60.4% ABV from a hogshead cask. 

Nose: Fresh cut apples and pears, caramelized bananas, sweet malty vanilla and a light note of toasted wood.

Palate: At full strength, it's full-bodied with an almost creamy texture. Big, "fancy" fruit salad flavours of mandarin oranges, caramelized bananas along with apples and pears drizzled in waxy honey. 

Finish: Medium long and fruity with loads of honey and a touch a oaky vanilla. 
Overall: Blackadder's treatment of this mystery Irish single malt whiskey strikes an intriguing balance between the cask and spirit flavours. Even at its high ABV, I find this release of "A Drop of the Irish," relatively easy drinking and quite smooth. Although cask strength whiskies sometimes benefit from dilution, in this case a splash of water doesn't do much for the dram aside from sweeten it up a bit and tease out a slightly bitter orange oil tone. In my opinion, it's fine in the glass just the way it's bottled. 

As my first introduction to Blackadder I am impressed with the quality of the whiskey even if the dram is rather straight-forward in profile. That said, it's a rare treat to sip a single cask, Irish single malt, at cask strength and I would love to try an age-stated release of "A Drop of the Irish," from this independent bottler. 

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