For Waterford Whiskey Society’s second Zoom tasting, we were delighted to welcome sales manager Matt Healy and head distiller Michael Walsh from Boann Distillery , Co. Meath. We were privileged to be the first whiskey society to have both ambassador and distiller from Boann to take us through their whiskey range. The first tasting was of Michael’s first NewMake Pot Still distillate at 63%, with a mash bill of 50/50 malted and unmalted barley. This distillate was bold with big flavours, full grain character with the classic spiciness of the pot stills. This new make was first casked on the Winter solstice, 21st December in the true Meath tradition. On the nose it has fruity notes with citrus and an almost pastry fragrance. On the palate the spiciness with sweeter notes comes through – a truly complex and interesting newmake. Interestingly, the lads explained to us how Boann distillery has reflux coils on the neck which can be turned off or on to create either a light, medium or heavy distillate during the distillation process. They spoke of how they are very excited in the future to experiment with oats, rye and wheat and are in the process of resurrecting old mash bill recipes from 1810 to 1950 to develop new whiskeys. More fascinating is the nano technology that the distillery uses to create their various distillates - definitely the future of distillation. This technology is located in their Lyne Arms and involves coating the copper surface with micro crystals which increases the contact 6 fold. They expect to release a SPS in about 5-6 years and also have plans for some Single Malts. Next in line was the Whistler Olorosso Sherry Cask Finish, the name of the range coming from the Cooney family’s famous whistling skills. This is a non-chill filtered, 43% whiskey made up of 65% grain and 35% malt matured for 4 years individually in bourbon barrels and then finished in hogshead Olorosso casks for a year. On the nose this whiskey is caramel, vanilla and dried fruits and sweet on the palate. This was a real crowd pleaser. Our third tasting was the Whistler Calvados Cask Finish, the exact same blend as the previous whiskey but finished for 15 months in Calvados casks. On the nose this was a lighter whiskey with notes of baked cinnamon apple caramelised, floral and fruity. On the palate it was crisper, creamy with a hint of nougat. Matt pointed out that Boann Distillery do not use seasoned casks but are very particular in their selection of which casks they use. The fourth whiskey was the Whistler Imperial Stout Cask, a bold, brazen whiskey blended from 4 types of distillate, comprising of Wheat 50%, Singles Malt 35%, and Grain 15%, aged 4 years in Bourbon and 6 months in Stout Barrels. With notes of chocolate, walnut and coffee this whiskey really packs a punch and was a real winner with the tasting crowd. The fifth whiskey was a real treat, showcasing the Whistler Bodega Cask Single Malt, a 5 YO whiskey wholely matured in sherry butts at 46% with notes of figs, sultanas, dried citrus peel. Finally we tasted what is nearly the last of the Whistler 7 Year Cask Strength, a non chill filtered, 59% whiskey aged for 3 years in Bourbon and 4 years in Olorosso casks, with very heavy sherry notes, dried citrus which one second place for two years running the Ireland best cask strength whiskey and was definitely a winner with us. Matt and Michael talked us through some of their exciting new offerings coming soon especially their PX I Love You which we are really looking forward to. We would like to thank Matt and Michael for the honest, transparent, and enthusiastic tasting session. We truly enjoyed it and look forward to welcoming them to Waterford soon in the flesh.
Best regard from the committee at Waterford Whiskey Society.