This Glendalough 13 year old has a Mizunara finish and that is rather special because it’s rare. This wood (Japanese oak) is really hard to work with, as it is porous which can cause leaking, it has to be at least 200 years old and it doesn’t grow straight. So you can imagine that these type of casks are scarce and certainly not cheap. But in one way or another, the people of this young distillery have managed to get hold of one.
For the ones that not familiar with this distillery, here’s a short introduction. Glendalough is a small Irish distillery, founded in 2011 by a group of 5 friends who wanted to revive the traditional methods of Irish distillation. In 2013, the distillery was built and since then they started producing whiskey, gin and poitín (a traditional Irish spirit which is considered to be the 1st distillate produced in Ireland). They use a Holstein still with a capacity of 500 litres, which is imported from Germany. All their whiskey matures in bourbon casks, which most Irish whiskeys do, but to break with that tradition they decided to finish all of their whiskeys in a second, different cask.
This Glendalough has matured in a bourbon cask before being finished in a Mizunara cask. It was bottled at 46% ABV. Also good to mention is that since the distillery is too young to bottle a 13 year old, the whiskey was sourced from the Cooley Distillery.
Glendalough 13 year old tasting notes:
Nose: Coconut and quite a lot. Pink grapefruit. Red berries. There is something creamy in it. Later pine needles. Blueberries. Now some citrus notes as well. This all is followed by honey sweetness and a hint of vanilla. There is something more, but I can’t define it.
Taste: Quite creamy again, milk chocolate and some coconut (less than the nose though). A bit of honey. Sweet grapefruit. Oranges. Somewhat nutty, walnuts? A few spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon. A touch of vanilla.
Finish: The finish is mid-long, vanilla, somewhat bitter but not that much really.
The nose is slightly more interesting than the taste. There changes a lot if you let if you give it a moment. It does not take away that the taste is very good, just a little flatter, but that’s nitpicking. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful whiskey and if you can find a bottle, it is definitely worth trying. I have the idea that Mizunara really has been an addition. In my opinion, the finish worked just fine here.