Hyde 10 YO No. 1 President's Cask
Hyde 10 YO No. 1 President's Cask, 46 %
Recently I got a chance to sample a couple of whiskeys from Hyde Whiskey.
Hyde Whiskey is a brand owned by relative newcomers to the Irish distilling scene Hibernia Distillers Ltd. Brothers Alan and Conor Hyde established Hibernia Distillers and (allegedly) Hyde Distillery in Skibereen, West Cork in 2014.
So, how does Hibernia Distillers have 10 year old expressions to release when the company was established a mere two years ago? This is down to the trend that has been growing in the last few years, especially in the US, but also in other markets. New distillers source whiskey or other spirits from established distilleries, and release them more or less as their own product.
Now, while I personally am enough of a whisky geek to be a bit more comfortable if they released these products as an independent bottler, and were completely open about the source of the whiskey, I can see how this might not be advantageous to their brand in a less geeky, more mass consumer market.
With a bit of snooping around other blogs I've been able to ferret out that earlier batches of Hyde No. 1 was produced by Cooley. Conor Hyde, the MD of Hyde Distillery, maintains that current batches are both distilled and matured in Skibereen. This means that the only distillery that could have produced it is West Cork Distillers. Still, West Cork Distillers were not located in Skibereen 10 years ago. They started up in Union Hall some 10 km away in 2003. Then they moved to Skibereen in 2013. Life sure gets interesting for those of us that are interested in provenance, when distilleries buy stock and release it as their own.
About Hyde 10 YO No. 1 President's Cask
Now, a little more about the Hyde 10 YO No. 1 President's Cask specifically.
The "President's Cask" comes from celebrating the inaugural appointment of Ireland’s very first president Douglas Hyde.
Hyde Single Malt Whiskey is made from 100 % Irish barley, and distilled at a single location. Hyde single malt whiskies are double distilled in traditional pot stills. Hyde 10 YO No. 1 President's Cask is matured in 1st fill 200 litre bourbon barrels for ten years, then it receives a finishing maturation in 250 litre Oloroso sherry hogsheads for some ten months. All according to the Hyde Whiskey web-site.
Hyde Whiskey is made in small batches of just 5000 bottles each. My sample is from bottle 1556 of 5000, and it was bottled in December of 2015. Hyde Distillers make it very clear that they do not chill-filter their products, but they do not state whether they add any sort of caramel colouring to the whiskey.
Hyde 10 YO No. 1 President's Cask is now available in Europe in the 60-70 Euro range, and in the UK at around GBP 53. It will most likely be launched together with three other Hyde whiskeys at Vinmonopolet in Norway in November. In Sweden it's available for SEK 749,- at Systembolaget.
Nose: On the nose there's vanilla custard and ripe bananas or maybe banana split. There's a bit of woody oak and citrus, maybe orange, and other fruits.
Taste: Going from the nose to the palate it's surprisingly spicy. There's marzipan and orange peel, cloves and pepper, oak and chocolate.
Finish: The finish is medium long. It dries out towards the end in a dark chocolate kind of way. Still there is a sweet orange zestfulness coming through.
Comments: It is refreshing to see more Irish whiskey brands stepping above the 40 % ABV limit. In my view this makes for a far more interesting and flavorful product.
Sláinte! - Kjell Ove