Writer's Tears is a bit of an odd one for me. It is a blend of single pot still and single malt whiskey which is similar to the Irishman line. Not surprising I suppose since both brands come from the same company. My understanding is that the Irishman has a bit less of the single pot still whiskey (70 malt/30 pot still) than does the Writer's Tears (60/40) and they are deliberately kept separate from one another in their advertising even though they come from the same company. Writer's Tears seems to be a bit more expensive and as far as I know isn't available here in the US.
That said I did pick up a bottle of the 2012 Cask Strength Writer's Tears in a shipment from across the pond which reportedly reverses the blend with more single pot still whiskey than single malt (and of course is bottled at a moderate cask strength of 104 proof). I thought it was really quite good. But have never tried the regular Writer's Tears to compare to it.
Writers Tears CS.JPG
Thanks for the background info on Writer's Tears and The Irishman. We have the latter at my bar and I've never bothered to look into it, other than finding it quite good.
Last night I had the good fortune of having a brand rep for Anchor Distilling sit at my bar. We got to talking spirits, and he pulled out three single malts from his backpack for a tasting: Kavalan Concertmaster, Nikka Coffey Grain, and Glenrothes' 2001 vintage. I tried them in that order.
The Kavalan was lovely, light, malty, and fruity, but not overly so. I've had strange experiences with some world malts that were overly fruity (in a cotton candy way, not an eau de vie way), and had heard similar things about the Kavalan, but I needn't have worried. It's a mild, likable whisky in a vaguely Highlands style, and would be a good gateway to single malts if it weren't for the price. I'm not sure it justifies that price, but it's certainly an unobjectionable, well-made whisky.
The Nikka Coffey Grain was delicious, and not at all what I was expecting. Rather than something ethereal like Greenore or thick and grainy like Mellow Gold, it's full of toffee, molasses, and demerara sugar. Very smooth and viscous and flavorful, without much heat. If I'd tasted it blind, I might have guessed it was a Demerara rum.
After those two lighter whiskys, the Glenrothes immediately came across as oily, phenolic, and assertive. This was a heavily sherried release, and it showed on the palate with flavors of chocolate, hazelnut, and raisins, complemented by a heavy malt. I haven't much cared for other Glenrothes vintages I've tried, but this is probably the first one I've enjoyed more than their standard Special Reserve release.
At this point I was in danger of clouding my judgment and had to let off. Still, might I recommend bringing delicious samples to your bartender as a way of ingratiating yourself with the establishment.
I also bought a bottle of St. George's single malt recently, and I'm not yet sure what to make of it. Initially I found it bizarrely ester-y, tasting like a mix of a Scottish malt and an eau de vie made from slightly off pears, but after the bottle breathed for a bit I got lovely chocolate, hazelnut, and stout notes. It's nicely viscous but still sometimes tastes watered down to me. There's a lot of potential, but I feel like I've gotten a different malt every time I've tried it. I'm going to let it settle before I make any judgments on this one.
Edited by Rafa, 03 July 2014 - 10:29 AM.