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It’s nigh-on St. Paddy’s day, meaning that there’s lots of college students (and even a fair number of adults) that will stagger down the streets vomiting green filth from terrible beer died with food coloring.
You don’t want to be that guy or gal. We don’t want you to be that guy or gal. Do yourself a favor and take a dip from any of Castle Brand’s Irish to the Core Portfolio.
Now, when we were approached by Castle Brands to offer up a review of their rather good single malt Irish whiskey line, we were more than happy too. However, not everyone can get their jig on to whiskey, so we decided to expand our reviews out to the ENTIRE Castle Irish line – including Boru Vodka, Brady’s Irish Liqueur, and Celtic Honey Liqueur.
In this post we’ll break down each and every one of Castle’s offerings and whether or not you should use them to celebrate Podge’s Day!
First up to lead the snakes from the Emerald Isle is the Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey – a triple-distilled, bourbon-barrel aged Irish whiskey right in the big boy’s wheelhouse.
Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey
Price: Approx. $21
Nose: There’s an oaky nose with a strong scent form the spirit. The grains used in the distillation comes up strong on the back end.
Neat: There’s a sweeter taste up from than some other Irish whiskeys we’ve tried in the past. There is a distinct grain alcohol bite on the end.
On the Rocks: Much more pleasant when some ice is added. It deepens the character. The maize taste becomes much more pronounced.
Verdict: While not the best Irish whiskey we’ve ever head, it’s very comparable to other leading brands and is worth the $21 for a bottle.
Next up we’re lining up the three single-malt Irish whiskeys that Castle boasts in their lineup. We were especially excited for this portfolio, as you tend to associate single malts with scotches and not Irish whiskeys as much.
Knappogue Castle Whiskey 12 Year Single Malt
Price: Approx. $45
Nose: Strong grain alcohol scent up front followed by oak and some citrus bites.
Neat: Strong spiciness up front, almost like a rye. Follows by a strong corn and barley flavor. The heat lingers on the tongue. Bright citrus flavors.
On the Rocks: Dry oak flavors are on the front. Deepens the sweetness from the corn, somewhat snuffs the barley flavors.
Verdict: Very good introduction to single malt Irish whiskeys. Not one to rant and rave about, but it’s accessible and pleasant.
Knappogue Castle Whiskey 14 Year Twin Barrel Single Malt
Price: Approx. $60
Nose: Similar citrus and fruit scents to the 12 year. There’s a more distinct woody scent.
Neat: That same spiciness of the 12 shows up right at the front, followed by an apple flavor. There’s slight astringent hint on the end followed by oak.
On the Rocks: Distinctly sweeter than the 12 when i cools. The barley is very pronounced with a dry, lingering finish.
Verdict: Very, very good. Here’s where you can really start seeing the difference between single malt Irish whiskeys and your usual blended. Worth the $60 (akin to a mid-range scotch).
Knappogue Castle Whiskey 16 Year Twin Wood Sherry Finish Single Malt
Price: Approx. $93
Nose: Much, much, much stronger sherry scent. A bit of oak. Most of the alcohol scent is gone. Very pleasant nose.
Neat: It’s less sweet, with a heavier flavor that lightens up on the end. There’s a really nice pear and citrus bite to it.
On the Rocks: This is outstanding. Surprisingly light and extremely drinkable.
Verdict: Most definitely worth the price if Irish whiskey is your jab. This is going to blow your other stuff out of the water.
Now, on to the non-whiskies (or at least the whiskies variants).
Price: Approx $17
Nose: Distinct grain alcohol scent that finishes off clean.
Neat: Nice and clean with just a hint of bite.
On the Rocks: Bright smooth and clean. Surpassingly nice for a $17 vodka. Just a hint of after taste.
Verdict: Truth be told, this is one of our go-to vodkas in the test bar as it offers a clean and crisp base spirit.
Celtic Honey Liqueur
Price: Approx. $19
Nose: Mostly smells like whiskey at first, which is promising. There’s a little hint of honey on the end.
Neat: No bite. Light honey flavor. Not oppressively sweet.
On the Rocks: Even sweeter on the rock, but not saccharine.
Verdict: Very pleasant honey liqueur. Holds its own against a good number of competitors.
Brady’s Irish Cream
Price: Approx $10
Nose: Super sweet butterscotch smell.
Neat: Strong butterscotch flavor with a heavier end.
On the Rocks: Lightens the flavor, but no unpleasant after taste.