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Irish whiskey

Micil Inverin and Earl’s island

Big thanks to Micil distillery for providing samples!

Before Christmas I was offered some samples to taste the new whiskeys from Micil distillery. It was a very nice surprise, especially since I hadn’t written on the blog for some time and was barely visible on Twitter. And of course I was happy to accept this generous offer!

Micil is a new distillery that I haven’t been aware of for a very long time, although I’ve seen the name here and there. It’s located in Galway and named after the founders’ great-grandfather Micil Mac Chearra – also a distiller in his time. They plan to make mostly peated whiskeys, using locally sourced grains and family recipes. For now, their whiskeys are made elsewhere, but they have poitíns, a gin, and Irish cream – made from poitín – in their portfolio.

This whiskey duo consists in a blend and a single pot still bottled at 46%, and recently cask strength versions were released too. If cask strength floats your boat, I can inform you that the last time I looked, they were still available at Micil’s online shop.

Micil whiskeys

Micil Inverin small batch blend, 46% ABV

The Inverin blend, named after a village in county Galway, has quite a few different components.

  • 20% virgin grain (I assume they mean grain whiskey matured in virgin oak but I could be wrong)
  • 20% triple distilled peated malt matured in bourbon casks
  • 45% grain whiskey matured in bourbon casks
  • 5% triple distilled pot still whiskey matured in bourbon casks
  • 10% double distilled malt whiskey matured in bourbon casks

These components have been vatted together and then divided in two parts, one to be finished in re-charred ex-bourbon casks, and the other in PX sherry casks.

In the final blend, a 5% double distilled malt has been added, matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished in a PX sherry cask. This whiskey has also spent some time in a 50 L Spanish chestnut cask that previously held Micil’s Heritage poitín, made from peated malt and oats.

It’s fascinating to see how much work has been put into this whiskey to add that extra layer of complexity, and I appreciate the fact that Micil shares all this info with the consumers too. Maybe everyone doesn’t enjoy it but personally I always find it interesting to learn the details about how a whiskey is made.

Nose

Pronounced and very pleasant. There’s the aroma of the warm wood stove from my childhood, and a very present dry smokiness. It has some orchard fruit, hints of more tropical fruit or peach/apricot, herbs, wet fresh leaves, like the smells when you take a walk in the forest after a spring rain.

Palate

Pronounced. Fruity, pleasant, lots of smoke. There are apples in various forms – red, green, baked. A mix of other sweet fruits, such as apricots and different berries. There’s small bit of light spice – cinnamon, nutmeg and the likes. Maybe some toffee in there too. This is lovely, very more-ish!

Micil Earl’s island single pot still, 46% ABV

The spirit used to create this single pot still whiskey is triple distilled, matured in ex-bourbon casks, and has then been divided into two parts. 75,5% has been finished in Bourdeaux red wine 225 litre casks, and 24,5% in 125 litre American oak casks that previously held peated whiskey. The components have then been vatted together to create the final whiskey to be bottled.

Nose

Light but with an intriguing mix of aromas. It has something of rubber or old tyres (maybe the same thing?), it’s a smell that reminds me of my father’s old garage when I grew up. There’s more there too – citrus and apple peel, dry grass, a subtle hint of smoke, with leather and vanilla fudge.

Palate

Pronounced with a mouth-coating mouthfeel – creamier when you add water. Rather pungent to begin with – not sure if it’s youthfully spirity or just very spicy. It has a noticeable sweetness and fruitiness. Red apple, some other orchard fruits, Club lemon, then a bit of smoke again, and herbs.

There’s a bit too much dirty smoke-garage-old tyres kind of thing to me – it’s the same reason I’m not a big fan of most Connemara (brand, not region) whiskeys I’ve tried. Still quite nice though, particularly after adding a few drops of water. But I do like the blend better.

Wrapping up

The blend is lovely and complex – no wonder with all those components! The single pot still feels less balanced and I didn’t like it as much as I did the blend, but it can simply be a matter of preferences. I’m glad I had the opportunity to taste these, and happy to see the cask strength releases too.

You can buy the Micil whiskeys and other spirits in their online shop, in most other online whiskey shops, or – better yet – in your local Off-Licence.

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