Darkness Irish Single Malt

Posted 20 April 2021 by Matt / In Undisclosed Ireland
The Dramble reviews Darkness Irish Single Malt 14 year old

Bottle Name: Darkness Irish Single Malt

ABV: 57.6%
Distillery: Undisclosed Ireland
Bottler: Atom Brands
Region: Ireland Age: 14

With all the nascent demand for Irish booze, I have to say I’m a little surprised to see a 14 year old single malt given the octave treatment by Atom Brands for their Darkness range – but then again, with Boutique-y Whisky in the stable, there’s already an outlet for this type of thing eau naturale. This unspecified Irish whisky (though being single malt should help you hone in) consists of 227 bottles and has been finished in an oloroso octave before being bottles at 57.6% ABV (cask strength? If not – surely pretty close to it).

This will release – which I believe is coming to retailers shortly costs £99.95 for a 50cl bottle.

Nose: Dusty aromatic allspice – almost trad pot rather than single malt in character. Reduced blackberries and plums sit with sultanas and figs, whilst split vanilla pods, cinnamon and cloves provide a lighter touch alongside a cup of filter coffee and plate of biscotti. The addition of water makes things sweeter. Way sweeter – almost tinned, syrupy fruit with an unnecessary large spoonful of sugar added. It’s quite tutti-fruiti offering peaches, apricots and nectarines alongside toffee apples a cup of café latte and a glass of root beer.

Taste: Nicely weighted with a pleasant mouth cling. Toffee apples, scattered lemon and orange peels, coffee grounds, mocha and crystalline ginger are given a firm beating with the oak stick – sawn 2x4, sawdust and a combo of both older dry wood and young sappy, resinous oak. Dilution offers a much creamier composition with milky coffee, chopped walnuts, gingernut biscuits and a handful of crushed redcurrants.

Finish: Medium to long in length. Initially quite sour and dry, but developing berry and apple character an the sweetness associated.

Darkness Irish Single Malt 14 year old delivers a lovely, welcoming, almost pot still style nose. But I struggle with the palate undiluted – despite the alcohol being well-integrated for the high strength, the cask influence here is very firm – to a point where you can physically feel the tannins around your lips and gums – and in that sense something of a distraction. When reduced down to closer to 50% I found this much more enjoyable – more supple, broader in scope and without an army of tannins threatening to dry my mouth out completely. As such this is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde whiskey for me – and I’ve scored it right down the middle of its two distinctive personalities.

Review sample provided by Atom Brands

Score: 83/100

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