Happy St. Patricks’ day!
According to 23-and-me, I’m about as Irish as a Polack who’s consumed a 5th of Irish whiskey and a pound of Soda bread. However, my wife is more Irish than I am Polish, so we celebrate. Like most Americans, that means corn-beef and cabbage, soda bread, whiskey, and Guinness. As such, it seemed like a totally perfect day to avoid work (I’m supposed to be working on an analysis for social indicators in Prince William Sound, AK – or something, I need to read the investigation plan again. Basically, I’m still pulling data together.)
IN ANY CASE – seeing as how it’s St. Patricks day and I was going to get some anyhow, I decided to review an Irish whiskey. AND NOT because I wanted to start drinking at 4. Which I did. The first thought that occurred to me was to do a review of Jameson cask mates. Those are weird, good, and always worth the money. However, since most everyone is probably already drinking Jameson, I thought I’d show some love to something I’d never tried before.
I went with Proper Twelve. It’s about the same price as a bottle of Jameson and claims to be rich and smooth with hints of Vanilla, Honey & Toasted Wood. Which I’d say is a fair description, mostly.
The nose is a little on the harsh side with a pretty astringent quality fresh out of the bottle but calms down once it’s been open for a minute or two. After it calms down, there is only the very slightest hint of vanilla with lots of honey, even more, toasted oak, and something like pear (reminds me of Jameson Limited Reserve 18, actually).
This one has a full mouth-feel and a bite to match the initially harsh nose. However, it’s not a strong bite, just a bit of spice and alcohol. In spite of having very strong flavors of honey, along with toasted wood and that weird pear-like quality, this one is on the dry side for an Irish whiskey, which I’m finding to be really nice, actually. The finish is when all the sweetness comes through, making for a pretty drinkable product. It’s like getting a burst of sweet in the back of your mouth. As the bottle suggests, it is rich and reasonably smooth, though not quite as smooth as something like Jameson.
As with every time I try something new, I try it neat first, then add an ice-cube to see what that does. Don’t do it with this one. Nothing nice happens to the flavor. It opens the wrong flavors. The bitter tannins of the grain and wood came straight through the otherwise pleasant honey/pear thing it’s got going on. While the bitter tannins are absolutely present in the flavor (even neat), they hide behind whatever else is going on. Super not true once you toss some ice in there.
My pronouncement on this: It’s good, I’d buy again – drink neat. I don’t see this one mixing well, and it really doesn’t go well on ice (maybe granite rocks would be good though.)
Another reason to buy this one is that they donate to first responders for every bottle sold. While this is likely to benefit those blokes in Dublin, it’s still a worthy cause.