Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Tasting some (interesting) single casks by Tri Carragh

Whisky Odyssey got a very friendly invitation to the Tri Carragh Online Tasting on the 3rd of July. A good occasion to post the information we gathered during that tasting AND of course the whisky we got to taste, on our Something Special Saturday. Normally we try to dig up something from our archives, but our first ever invite to an online tasting as a new blogger should be celebrated, right?

Tri Carragh appears to be the Gaelic name for “three pillars” and of course, this refers to the three main (dare I say: holy) ingredients for making whisky. And now Tri Carragh also gets name and fame as a bottler of single cask whisky. They started in October 2022 and currently they released their third series. Let’s see what makes them stand out in the crowd with their new offerings. For me it is the first time meeting this particular bottler, so that is very cool in any case.

The tasting was organized by Dutch importer Spirit Services, and presented by Ryan of Stravaig Spirits. The main company behind Tri Carragh is this Stravaig. This company also brings to the market a brand called Glenlaird. We taste two of their bottlings as well. The presentation of all the bottlings are very well done. Good looks but more importantly, lots of information. Honesty is key in whisky appreciation, and these guys make a note of it.

Without further ado, we present some quickly penned notes. Since the presentation was filled with insightful stories, we actually had enough time to have a good taste. Still, I tend to make more time for going deep on my tasting notes, so I present it with this disclaimer.

Quick fire notes of the whisky presented:

1. Glenlaird 10 years old at 48 % abv (batch 1, 9000+ bottles)
Really nice, straightforward malt whisky. Classic on vanilla, apples, and some heather, indeed a good highland whisky. It has a bit of a dark, brooding nature, and a creamy backbone. Earthy in nature. According to Whiskybase this is a Balmenach, but still you should expect more highland than Speyside character.
Score: 83 points

2. Glenlaird 12 years old at 48 % abv
A fresher nose compared to the 10 years old, and again some apples, but this is lightly peated and that is subtly noticeable. Ryan mentions this is actually matured for 14 years. We enjoy guessing the distillery behind it, but end of the story is this is also a decent whisky.
Score: 83 points

3. A Lowland Distillery (Dalrymple) 10 years old at 59,3 % abv
This was finished since May 2021 in a First Fill Sherry Hogshead. Dalrymple is a name used for output from the Ailsa Bay Distillery. It has quite the industrial aroma coming from the glass, with whiffs of glue and some fresh grass. The sherry finish really turned out to be a sweetener. The whisky feels nicely balanced on the tongue, and does not really need water. Still, I add a few drops, and it gains a lot on pine wood. Very interesting, I have to say. The taste gets more caramel in it, chocolate, and a long, warming finish. A bullseye bottling, really good.
Score: 88 points

4. Tamnavulin 12 years old at 56,8 % abv
This was finished since July 2023 for 9 months in an ex-PX cask. Tamnavulin is a name you do not see very often in an independent bottle, so that peaks my interest. The proprietor is pushing the distillery’s output quite heavily these days. Starts off with a nice, citrusy nose, and a damp mood from mouldy strawberry (this being a good thing). Turns almost fizzy, like nosing a Fanta. It is a fun whisky, but comes off a bit harsher compared to the Dalrymple. Might be the Tamnavulin core spirit there.
Score: 85 points

5. Glen Elgin 12 years old at 55,5 % abv
This was finished since November 2022 in a first fill port barrique (ex-tawny port). Glen Elgin is a bit of a chameleon spirit to me, it always works but never rises to great levels. This actually goes into the fruity direction immediately, with red berries, marmalade, a sour note too, definitely a port influence there. On the taste, the subtle Glen Elgin spirit is indeed assimilated by the port. You need a sweet tooth for this, but so far I have to say, Tri Carragh releases very balanced single casks. This requires a preference for the style, but it is good stuff. Water brings out some rubber, I would practice some restraint there.
Score: 84 points

6. Macduff 13 years old at 61,8 % abv
This was finished since September 2022 in a Rubino Marsala Red Wine cask. Difficult to smell undiluted, so we taste first. Surprised to find it still quite juicy, where wine casks can make for a dry drinking experience. It is very bitter on blackcurrant, purple berries, it lacks some sweetness. With water it does become a bit dry. Sadly, less my preferred style than the other samples, but I am sure others love this. And it is balanced and clean, so a good bottle.
Score: 82 points

You never know what you are going to get when you taste expressions from a new bottler, but this was a surprising and entertaining session. Thanks for the invite, Spirit Services, and I would recommend (Dutch) retailers to put some of these bottles on the shelves.

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