Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey 1994
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Nose: Teasingly delicate with a mouthwatering intertwining of fresh cut grass and distant zesty, lemony hints. Slightly floral but amazingly crisp and clean. The oaky vanilla notes do nothing to lessen the clarity of the aroma: there is a vivid sharpness to the aroma that is highly unusual for a whiskey of this age. Taste: Soft, malty arrival on the palate that is at first sweet and then an on-rush of lively barley notes buzz around the tastebuds. The oak forms a stunning backdrop of weightier tones, though the freshness of the malt is never once displaced. That zestiness on the nose is apparent adding a slight marmaladey, bittersweet feel to the proceedings. Absolutely salivating. Finish: Medium length and almost unbelievably clean despite the subtle cocoa notes which reveal the advancing years of the whiskey. A slight, almost shy, oiliness helps keep the sweeter malt notes locked into the roof of the mouth extending the finish that few extra vital seconds. Again, the balance-like on the nose and initial taste-is completely in sync: the barley and oak are in total harmony. Comment: Overall, I think this is the most sophisticated Knappogue of them all. This is an enormously refreshing whiskey that can be enjoyed at any time of the day: from a pre-lunch pick-me-up to something to savour just before bed. Most startling is the clarity of the whiskey for a near 10-year-old where the barley and oak just seem so well adjusted together. There is not a single off-note to be detected and its mouthwatering qualities are awesome.