In a Nutshell:
Combines all the smoothness you come to expect from Irish whiskey with some memorable theatrics on the palette. It feels like something even the most jaded/seasoned whisky drinker will experience as different (and I’m neither jaded nor seasoned)
As it is so very different to every other single malt I’ve tried up to this point, it might be an acquired taste. I’m not too keen on it (yet?). The taste is super distinctive and smooth as silk.
Irish distilling…still going strong
The Wild Geese Collection/Distillery are an Irish outfit that produce a number of spirits, many of which that have won awards. I’ve yet to try their rum, or their honey liqueur (not sure how I feel about honey liqueur – though Mead is TUFF).
This single malt has been doing pretty well, winning Best Non-Age Irish Malt in the World Whisky Awards 2011 and 94 points from the Ultimate Beverage Challenge. They also produce some blended whiskies, at the time of writing, yet untried but promising if all the reviews are anything to go by.
The Wild Geese is a reference to expatriate Irish soldiers and emigrants (exiled and otherwise) – who can be found all over the world today (the Irish are a bit like dust scattered to the wind – hell, even I am half Irish!).
I think the original use of the term ‘The Wild Geese’ was to refer to a Jacobite army who left Ireland to fight in France, Spain, Italy and other parts of Europe in the late 1600s. I dunno if they did very well or not…
We Drink It, Stuff Happens
The nose is quite subtle, I have to almost bury my face right into this mofo to get a whiff of it – there’s not much alcohol coming off of the top. After doing so I get a bit of honey and menthol.
This is where stuff gets exciting. First comes a little bit of honey/sweetness and the all enveloping smoothness. Then cutting through this you get the peppery menthol, unlit tobacco and a STRONG flavour of papaya (I shit you not, it is certainly papaya).
It almost tickles the front and sides of your tongue, leaving the tastebuds in the middle mostly intact. It is very easy to describe – entirely different from a Scotch – none of those characteristic caramel or hazelnut flavours here.
Once the flavours have emerged, the sweetness fades a little and you’re left mainly with the papaya and menthol sitting on the sides of your tongue. These linger… the finish is nice ‘n long – as a whiskey this well commended should be should be.
The jury’s still out on this one (and by jury I mean my opinion – which may or may not be worth taking seriously…).
It definitely acquires kudos for memorability and smoothness, but comes in at a price point where you’d expect this. I’d suggest getting a taster before buying it- as it may turn out to be a ‘Marmite Whisky’.
That said – this is enjoyed by my Dad, a man who (until now) did not like whiskey at all. I’m looking forward to trying it again and seeing if/how my opinion evolves.