As I yammered on about in the last video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoRl-2ePIwQ) even though there are nearly thirty newly-established distilleries in Ireland these days, even though some of them are “producing” bottles under their name, still almost everything on the shelf actually comes from Midleton, Bushmills, or Cooley. That includes *all* of the Irish spirits I’ve reviewed previously. The Teeling lineup (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijrz9gf0nCM)? Sourced. Boann’s Whistler (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VohDB0T9Rl4)? Sourced. Glendalough’s unaged Poitin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilMwRquhDRM)? Yup, they don’t even have a distillery with which to distill new make yet. West Cork (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0_45w3mHUQ)? More of a grey area, in that some of their stuff is clearly marked as “distilled by” them and others aren’t – and their malts are among the “produced by” ones (i.e., sourced). In fact, when I went to my local store’s Irish whiskey shelf with a critical eye in order to find either a malt or a pot still whiskey from a new distillery to review, I found exactly two qualifying bottles – both from the same lineup – stating themselves as actually made by the folks on the label. This is the one I brought home.
Dingle distillery was founded in late 2012 as an extension of the independently-owned Porterhouse Brewery lineup. Unlike their brewpubs mainly based in Leinster to the east, Dingle (at the site of an old sawmill in the town of the same name) is in the extreme southwest of Ireland. And, for that matter, the far west of Europe – any further and you’re heading to Newfoundland. John McDougall (previously of Laphroaig, Balvenie, Springbank, Bladnoch, and others) consulted and designed the triple pot still setup. More recently they snatched Graham Coull from Glen Moray as master distiller. Even now they still apparently make less than a thousand casks of whiskey per year (a mix of malt and pot still distillate). Europe (you lucky bastards) recently moved onto a standard, large-batch offering of Dingle’s malt, but in Chicago at the moment you can only buy their slightly older “small batch releases” – number four (from 2019, with some port cask in the mix) was also on the shelf, but I went with number five. Stats:
– Dingle Distillery Triple Distilled Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Batch No. 5 (bottled 2020; matured in 45% bourbon, 45% Pedro Ximenez, and 10% Madeira casks; bottle no. 29497; non-chillfiltered, 46.5% ABV), 85/100
It’s also six years old and naturally colored, according to interviews, although it’s not stated on the bottle (for Reasons of some sort).
This is delightful stuff. For once, the PX and Madiera are supporting the barley character rather than burying it, and what character it is. In some respects this reminds me of that Glen Grant 15 I reviewed last year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6yhU116J2s), in that the modest point score can’t quite capture how much I enjoy it. If the next wave of new Irish whiskey is going to follow suit with this little harbinger, I can’t help but get really, really excited by what the next decade’s going to bring.
P.S. Here’s a fun video of Graham Coull walking through this very bottling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB7nQ7PuAjU