You may have read my review of the 5-year offering from The Dublin Liberties, Oak Devil, and seen that I did not recommend it very highly (mostly as a result of it being overpriced for what it is). I don’t believe that to be the case here with Copper Alley. It has many of the stereotypical notes of a pot-stilled Irish Whiskey while also bringing some new things to the table as a result of its sherry-cask finish. Most notably, those sherry casks bring some interesting wine notes to both the palate and the dry finish, which I quite enjoyed.
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I really enjoy Irish Whiskey and put them into roughly two categories where value is concerned. One of them is the cheaper, simple whiskies that I’d used for mixing with ginger ale, pouring over ice, etc., and the other is for richer, more complex whiskies that I’ll sip slowly and enjoy on their own. For me, Tullamore Dew and Writers’ Tears would be examples of the former that I immensely enjoy and Red Breast or Green Spot would be examples of the latter.
This whisky has an interesting story, going through a secondary aging in Japanese cedar, honoring the Omiwa Shrine at the food of Mount Miwa. The name means God Breath, inspired by the breezes coming from the Mountain of the God. You can tell there’s some story behind the whisky. And that first taste tells you there’s quality whisky in the bottle. I wish it had a better finish, which would have moved my final verdict from Bar to Bottle, but it’s still an interesting enough whisky to try at least once.
This is a swell whiskey. It’s balanced, bold—even muscular—and pretty much what a properly aged 15-year-old bourbon should taste like. Some sourced whiskey shows the talent or luck of the barrel hunter, so let’s call Grain & Barrel Spirits’ master distiller Gregg Snyder talented. It’s delicious. Ironically, I had this same whiskey from a full bottle bought by a friend, and it did little for me. A month later, I got a sample bottle from Chicken Cock, and it was praiseworthy. Go figure. I have no explanation for it.