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KCM Spirit Reviews

Monday, March 11, 2013

Review 149: Powers John's Lane Release 12 Year

Review 149
Powers John’s Lane Release 12 Year

Background: Powers is a whiskey company from Ireland. That first sentence is hard, because technically they aren’t a distillery. This particular whiskey is a single malt pot stilled from Midleton Distillery in Cork, Ireland. A fun fact for the readers out there: Midleton is the only company producing single malt pot stilled whiskey for companies right now. So Powers has multiple whiskies in their range, but this one, the “John’s Lane” Release, is a unique limited edition to their line. John’s Lane, as put in quotations, is the name of the distillery John Power used to have. Clearly, it is no longer in business and Pernod Ricard owns them. Powers is actually the bestselling Irish whiskey in Ireland, selling 6 million liters per annum. They have a Gold Label and a 12 Year offering, so this special edition falls outside that, being aged in oloroso sherry and bourbon casks. We don’t want to bias anything, but it was also the Whiskey Bible’s Irish Whiskey of the Year. Now watch as we make you cringe at the sound of the nose.

Nose: Vanilla, strawberry, caramel, dry pepper, light lemon, red grapes, earthy, oaky, lake water, glue, cotton
            A/W: Rose, green melon, honey, barely, leather, cream, sawdust, opens up, more balanced
Arrival: Spicy, hot, berries, mild sherry, cinnamon, apple, fiery, lemon
            A/W: Creamy, lemon candy, blue airhead, spicy, green apple
Body: Grape, fruity, cinnamon, sweet apple, gingerbread, maraschino cherries
            A/W: Green apple tartness, lingering spice
Finish: Berries, strawberry, blueberry, lemon, cinnamon, charred oak, orange, vanilla, mint, wheat
A/W: Blueberry, green apple, lemon candy, ginger

Final Comments: This might strike you as an interesting list of characteristics, and certainly, for the novice drinker, the nose will probably be off-putting, but it makes a unique statement and makes you search for flavors. When you get into the taste of the whiskey, you will find it is intense, with initial spiciness coupled with a sort of ironic berry fruitiness which doesn’t kill you with sweetness, but certainly provides a stark contrast the experiences of before. The finale throws it all together, and before you know it you’re left in awe because you don’t know if you tasted an Irish whiskey or a firework. It interestingly totes a few bourbon characteristics with the charred oak and vanilla characteristics before adding water, but after you add water you’ll start to experience a much more Irish ordeal, for better or worse. We think two teaspoons of water makes the animal too docile, and we think it should be a more free whiskey. Needless to say, this isn’t a starter’s whiskey, and it is by no means a typical Irish whiskey, but it is fantastic and will keep you in your seat for a minute.

Why you’d buy it: This is a complex, challenging whiskey, and it is unique to Irish Whiskey. So you’d buy it if you wanted to be different than all of your Jameson drinking pals.

Why you wouldn’t: You don’t quite want to experience a whiskey like this, and its rather expensive for a 12 year old whiskey. ($80 in MI)

Score: 9.5/10

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