Writers’ Tears releases ice wine-finished Irish whiskeyBy Kate Malczewski
Ireland’s Walsh Whiskey has debuted Writers’ Tears Ice Wine Cask Finish, created in partnership with Canadian winery Inniskillin.
The new bottling is a triple-distilled vatting of single pot still and single malt whiskeys that has been spent an additional 12 months in ice wine hogsheads.
“I first tasted ice wine in 2011, so plans for this expression have been fermenting in my head for some time,” explained Bernard Walsh, who co-founded Walsh Whiskey with his wife Rosemary.
In January 2020, Bernard and Rosemary travelled to Inniskillin Winery in Niagara, Ontario, Canada, and worked with now-retired head winemaker Bruce Nicholson to choose the 12 hogsheads for the job. The barrels were originally produced at the Berthomieu Cooperage in France.
“When taking us around the vineyard, Inniskillin’s then-head winemaker Bruce Nicholson explained how they only harvest well-matured, thick-skinned Vidal grapes when the weather presents a window of opportunity between -8 and -14 degrees Celsius – Bruce’s ideal ‘sweet spot’ being -10 to -11 degrees,” Bernard continued.
“Based on what we have produced, Inniskillin ice wine certainly contains that intense sweetness that can carry through in the wood to our whiskey.”
The selected barrels were disgorged of ice wine in March 2020, shipped to Ireland, and filled with Writer’s Tears Copper Pot expression two months later.
“With our core Writers’ Tears Copper Pot expression we have a unique combination of predominantly spicy single pot still married with single malt Irish whiskey. This core expression gets a whole new dynamic complemented beautifully by the intense natural sweetness imparted by Inniskillin’s show-stopping ice wine.”
Sitting at 46% ABV, the bottling is said to offer notes of peach, apricot and spice on the nose, with a floral, nutty palate and a fruity finish.
Walsh Whiskey is rolling out 3,500 bottles of the expression across the US, Ireland and Canada, priced at US$84.99/€70/CAN$99.95. It will become available in the States in early November, and is already available in Ireland, where it can be purchased exclusively from Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin. It is also already on the market in Canada.
Last month, Walsh Whiskey unveiled its first single pot still expression.