Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR)
Whiskey Review: Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey (15YR) 93.5/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published July 12, 2010
In 1988 JohnTeeling bought the Cooley Distillery from the Irish Government essentially as a purchase of a facility meant for the scrap heap. The distillery however, was never scrapped. Instead John Teeling and his Master Distiller, Noel Sweeny, turned their perceptions of the facility around, rolled up their sleeves, and ten years later were making some of the most unique Irish whiskey in the Country. Not that it was easy, Dr. Teeling tried unsuccessfully to sell the distillery five years into the process to rid himself of the bad investment. But… innovation and desire played their part, and the remarkable turn around of the Cooley Distillery is the stuff of legend.
One of the innovative products made at the Cooley Distillery is the Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey. It is the only single grain Irish Whiskey that I know of which uses a double distillation of a single grain (corn) in a continuous column still. The product is aged in used bourbon barrels for either 8 years or 15, and bottled at 43% alcohol by volume.
I am reviewing the 15-year-old version which quite frankly is one of the most surprising whiskey I have come across recently.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
The Greenore Single Grain Whiskey arrives in an Irish Green, open style, cardboard display box which allows you to see the handsome bottle inside. The bottle is a clean, masculine creation, slightly narrower at the bottom than at the shoulders. It is squat, but attractive with a clean classy look. The presentation is topped with a solid high density cork and looks great in or out of its box.
In the Glass 9.5/10
The whiskey has an amber/orange ‘straw’ colour which flashes yellow in the light. There is an abundance of legs apparent when the glass is tilted and swirled gently. The aroma from the glass is one of corn bathed in vanilla and honey. Gentle green apple notes rise into the air awash with woody spices and caramel toffee. A lovely hint of pineapple gives the nose a grand elegance which is simple delightful.
In The Mouth 56/60
This is unmistakably a corn whiskey with tasty cereal corn flakes providing the platform upon which all else has been built. The initial delivery of the whiskey leads out with rich oak spice and honey. A sweet vanilla bourbon flavour swamps the taste-buds, and early into the tasting, I am fully aware that this whisky is unlike any Irish whisky I have tasted previously. The flavour settles into a toasty corn-on-the-cob with a mouth-watering butteryness. In the background apricots and green apples stew with light hints of baking spices.
I may be imagining it, because I know this is an Irish whiskey but within all of the rich flavours of vanilla bourbon and corn I taste the more traditional Irish whiskey flavours of anise and linseed. I find the final result to be a whisky that exudes complexity and a silky flair. My description does not do justice to the suave smooth flavour that has met my palate.
In the Throat 14/15
The finish is all spice and honey enriched with a swath of corn. At 43 per cent alcohol by volume the spirit is amazingly smooth. There is very little burn in the throat, just enough to satisfy the tonsils and warm the gullet.
The Afterburn 9.5/10
By the time which I reached this part of the review, my entire bottle of Greenore 15 Year Old Single Grain Irish Whiskey had been consumed. What a marvelous whiskey experience! My taste-buds were bathed in warm toasted corn-on-the-cob with a spicy oak accent and honey sweet wonderfulness. During the sampling and tasting I did not give much thought to cocktails or bar drinks which speaks volumes about the spirit, its rich flavour and suave smoothness. This is a whisky which can easily be drank neat or on the rocks, and now after my sampling sessions, it is certainly one of my most recommended Irish Whiskeys!
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Luckily I have a second bottle, and I have decided to make an Old Fashioned Cocktail my recommended bar drink. This classic cocktail is simple and delicious!
The Old Fashioned Cocktail
2 oz Greenore Irish Whiskey
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
2 large ice cubes
Twist of orange peel
Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
(Sometimes I drop in the orange peel for garnish.)
Please remember to enjoy responsibly as it is my aim to help you find and drink better whiskey, but not to encourage you to drink more whiskey!
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)