Drink Magazine

Tasting Notes: Glendalough: 7 Year Mizunara Finish

By Alcoholandaphorisms
Tasting Notes: Glendalough: 7 Year Mizunara Finish

Glendalough: 7 Year Mizunara Finish (Ireland Single Malt Whiskey: 7 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Slightly ruddy gold colour, with fast thick streaks from the spirit. Surprisingly dark for its youth.

Nose: After eight mint crème centres. Very oaky. Sour dough. Vanilla to vanilla toffee. Light menthol touch. Mint choc ice cream. Water makes for even more oak and light smoke like wisp.

Body: Cherries. Smooth. Vanilla toffee. Sour dough. Sour cream. Very oaken. Mint choc drinks. Drying. Water makes more toffee. Slight peanut butter and sugared nuts.

Finish: Oak. Mint choc. Toffee. Sour dough. Vanilla. Water makes more toffee and sugared nuts.

Conclusion: Ok this is one which it took a darn long time to appreciate. Well, kind of. I first tried a tiny sample before buying, enjoyed it, so bought the bottle.

The first time I opened the bottle for a dram, well, holy fuck the Mizunara influence was overwhelming. There was a LOT of oak but more than that there was a kind of half way between oak and sour dough thick, clinging element that was just too much for me. Underneath that was gentle toffee and vanilla but the oak felt too much for me to really enjoy. I figured at this point when I got around to doing my notes they would unfortunately not be good ones.

So, I’ve been dipping back into this every now and then, about once a week or so, and finally pulled my thumb out and I am doing notes now and … you know what, each time I have returned to it has been just a bit more accessible as it has had time to air out. I could still only drink a little at a time before the oak became too much for me, but it was much better.

Now, as I finally do notes on, it seems to have improved again and finally come together. The oak is still there, but the a lightly minty menthol chocolate element lies there instead of the heaviest of the oak, still layered over than vanilla toffee which is much easier to reach now.

There is still a very sticking sough dough meets oak element but it is now enough smoothed down that I can quite enjoy it, even if it too present for this to be the session sipper whisky for me that some people seem to find it to be. When you give it time and water there is even some nuttiness to add that little bit extra to it.

From this and my few other experiences, Mizunara feels like an oak to be used carefully. Even here just used as a finish it is almost overwhelming the whisky in the early days. It gives a lot but feels like less is definitely more with use of this immense wood. Though I am fascinated to see how it would hold up as a finish on a heavier sherried wood, or against something peated. Something that can push back against the mass that this wood brings to a dram.

For me this is not 100% working still, but now, with time to air good enough that I find it utterly fascinating. A greats show of Mizunara and a decent enough whisky, just give it a lot of time to air and open up as initially it is overpowering.

Background: Ohh Mizunara Finish, Mizunara is a rare and rarely used wood from Japan that is notoriously hard to work with but very porous so known for having a huge influence on the whisky aged in it. Before that odd finish it spent the rest of its time in more standard bourbon oak, probably so the Mizunara influence shows more. I’ve not tried anything from Glendalough before, so was a doubly interesting whisky to get into. I had tried a small sip before buying, and the rest of my odd experience with this is detailed in the notes. I had just found a new band to listen to as a warm up at a Fear factory gig, so was listening to the Ukrainian metal band – Ignea: Dream Of Lands Unseen as backing music. This was one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog