Glendalough 13 Mizunara Cask – A Review

Well the guys at Drinks By the Dram aren’t sticking to the ol reliables when it comes to filling their Irish Whiskey Advent Calendar! Behind door number ten we have revealed a very exciting bottle of Glendalough’s 13-Year-Old Mizunara cask finished single malt.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mizunara, it is a species of Japanese oak that is quite hard to find these days. It has been in use in the Japanese spirits industry for years, but unfortunately has found itself in short supply due to the fact that it is a favourite of both the Japanese distilling and cabinet making industries.

Furthermore, Japanese Mizunara presents a host of difficulties in the use of barrel making. Firstly, it has a much higher moisture content than most of its relatives in the Quercus family (oak species) making it a very difficult wood to work with. Secondly, the Mizunara trees are not known to grow straight and takes almost 200 years to have sufficient wood quality to be made into casks. Finally, like many exotic forms of wood from hot climates around the world, Mizunara is very porous and is prone to leaking. All of these factors make Mizunara barrel production, prohibitively expensive and rare.

Glendalough Japaneze.jpg
Glendalough Japanese Text, bottle side packshot. Rights: Glendalough Distillery.

As such, it is hard to find any of this Japanese oak on this side of the world, which was why I was amazed that Glendalough had secured enough wood to add this finish style to its core range, but thankfully their ingenuity in sourcing wood has led to a very interesting whiskey all together.

This whiskey takes over from the original Glendalough 13-Year-Old, which was a sourced malt solely matured in ex-bourbon. This successor is the first and currently only Irish whiskey to be finished in Japanese oak in recent times.

Glendalough 13 Mizunara
Glendalough 13 Year Old Mizunara Cask, Packshot. Rights; Glendalough Distillery.

Tasting Notes by Matt Healy, Chief Editor of
Colour: Pale Gold.

ABV: 46%.

Nose: Lemon curd, creamy vanilla, honeycomb, a touch of coconut, and a light but fresh sandalwood.

Palate: There is a lot going on in this palate from the fore, but it is balanced beautifully. Creamy vanilla follows through from the nose, with orange pith, spices, a small juicy hint of mango, culminating with the return of a resinous sandalwood oil.

Finish: Long and lingering wood prickle, creamy vanilla and hints of coconut at the rear.


Overall: This is a knockout whiskey. I’m quite frankly blown away by how much I like this whiskey. I rarely finish my full samples when penning reviews, but this was a whiskey that kept reappearing in my hands until it was empty! The Mizunara delivers a fantastically decadent finish to this malt whiskey and creates something unlike any other Irish I’ve had out there. Keeping in mind this is only a Mizunara finish! Imagine what it could do if it was a full maturation?

All in all, big fan.


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