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KCM Spirit Reviews

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review 79: Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

Review 79
Kilbeggan Irish Whisky: 40% abv

You might look at the picture of that bottle and think we had one too many drinks to be doing a review on it, but that’s really not the case. This bottle been around for quite some time. It even survived St. Patties Day. A purple heart veteran if you will. Anyway, this is a special review because it is our first Irish whisky review. You might find this disturbing, but don’t worry. We’ve had a bit of experience with this stuff in the past. It is also one of the first times you will have heard us saying “peat” in a review. We are not referring to your uncle, no. Peat is a earthy moss that can be found in regions of Scotland and Ireland. It has been used a lot in the past for its slow burning properties and block-like physical form. Back when different forms of fuel were scarce, distillers would use anything they could to dry their grains in the germination process. This is the process of malting, peat became a big proponent of it. Irish whiskies have been known to have it, but in fact, Islay Scotches are much more well known for their peaty character. 

Naturally, you can catch that dark campfire-like peat smell on the nose, but it isn’t super prominent to the untrained nose. There is also notes of honey, lemon, salt, and pear. To be honest, we kind of butchered this review, because there were some mystery scents we just couldn’t identify. There was a floral character, as well as herbal and unknown spicy notes as well. The nose is complex, but as I’ve mentioned, some of the notes were hard to place for us. 

The taste is spicy as well, with some light peat to it, but also smokiness. Smokiness, we generally take as being slightly different then peat, although they are very similar. Among the spicy notes we could identify some pepper, salt, cinnamon, and even a slight saltiness. There is some fruitiness as well, namely pear with some lemon and lime to tag along. Finally, we get that sweet maltiness that we love so very much to keep the taste engaging. The finish is medium-short in length and gives the least amount of complexity, revealing the cinnamon hotness and peppery spiciness, with residual grain and smokiness. There is even a little bit of lemon left at the end. 

Overall, this is a good, spicy, intense Irish Whisky, and it packs some huge flavor to it. It is a contrast from the Jameson and Bushmills classics, but even though Cooley Distillery is the third and least famous of the three remaining distilleries in Ireland, this whisky puts up its dukes and compares. And lets be honest, this bottle has been around for too long, so it could have lost some flavor along the way. All the same, an admirable start at a good price point. 

Score: 8.0/10

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