For any of you who are regular readers of Potstilled.com you may have seen me come across Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey before. This a copy and paste 10-Year-Old whiskey from the Cooley Distillery. For any of you that don’t know, ‘copy and paste Cooley’ is a colloquial term used in the whiskey industry to denote whiskeys that have been bought off the shelf from the Cooley distillery and released without any personalisation. The first thing I will say is, this in inherently good whiskey. Because Cooley make good whiskey. Very good whiskey in-fact, which is a God send for Irish whiskey based on how many brands source from this distillery.
Since the Kinahan’s brand does not personalise or finish their whiskeys in any additional casks, they are trading on marketing story alone, to differentiate themselves. My main issue with this brand is that they have purchased the rights to a dead Dublin bonded whiskey brand and assumed all of their history and marketing. LL Kinahan’s whiskey was from the Kinahan’s wine merchants who traded throughout the British Empire and were one of the larger houses promoting Irish Whiskey abroad. It was firms like these that helped create Irish Whiskey’s top shelf reputation around the world.
Like nearly all whiskey of the early 1900’s this would have been a Pure Pot Still whiskey and I have personally sought the purchasing records of their brand, from the archives of Irish Distillers. The whiskey was of ‘fine quality’ and purchased from the John Jameson Distillery in Bow Street. It won numerous accolades around the world and was a fine example of bonded whiskey. The company was eventually assumed by Bagot and Hutton, another Dublin wine merchant, and the whiskey stocks finally ran dry around the year of 1929. The name lived on through the newly merged company Bagot, Hutton and Kinahan, but unfortunately the brand did not.
Now, the purchasing of old brand names is not an uncommon practice in Irish whiskey. Over the years hundreds of expressions have been released with old bonders’ brand names, Burke’s, Cassidy’s, even Tyrconnel was a revived brand. Although, where I find my issue is the fact that the current brand owners have assumed all of this brand’s accolades, achievements and establishment date, claiming that their sourced malt whiskey (not even pot still to stay true to history) achieved all of these feats and is a brand that is almost 200 years old. Every brand needs a back story and every whiskey has its selling points, but I personally do not have any time for marketing that is designed to intentionally mislead consumers. I never understood what was wrong saying that you were established in 2015 anyway…
Anyway on to the whiskey. It revealed itself through door #4 in Drinks By The Dram’s Irish Whiskey Advent Calendar. It is bottled at 46%ABV, Non-Chill Filtered and there is no indication if caramel colouring is added. It retails for between €75-99 in speciality whiskey stores.
Tasting Notes Conducted by Matt Healy, Chief Editor of Potstilled.com
Nose: Classic Cooley green apple, pears, with a hint of ginger and toasted oak, which pairs well with the vanilla under tones.
Palate: The palate opens with wood spice, vanilla and a good helping of orchard fruits.
Finish: Medium bodied finish, with creamy chocolate undertones and a lingering wood prickle.
Overall: This whiskey is absolutely fine. It is a good palatable whiskey, not due to anything the Kinahan’s company did but due to the fact that Cooley Whiskey Distillery make great whiskey. Due to the aforementioned issues with their brand’s misleading marketing, you will never find this on my shelf. Thankfully, any unsuspecting whiskey consumer who does add it to their shelf will not be disappointed.
If you want to read the rest of my Advent reviews, click here.