Friday Tastings: Knappogue Castle Twin Wood

Sipping Jameson straight from the cask in a bone-chillingly cold Irish warehouse will go a long way toward helping a guy develop a taste for Irish whiskey (I know this for a fact). It’s a taste I plan on putting to good use on St. Patrick’s Day, but this time I’ll be drinking the first new Irish whiskey of 2011: a silken, limited edition Knappogue Castle. It’s been aged 16 years and finished in Oloroso sherry casks, after spending most of its gestation period in bourbon barrels. Knappogue Castle is a single malt (most Irish are blended whiskies), and the sherry finish on the Twin Wood nudges the liquid ever so slightly in the direction of single malt Scotch (Balvenie Double Wood comes to mind). Still, it’s something all its own, retaining the buoyant, candied quality of Irish whiskey even as the nuttier sherry undertone weighs it down at the edges. There are 1,900 signed and numbered bottles of it to go around, priced at $100. I recommend breaking out a bottle on the early side, before your taste buds are deadened by one too many glasses of green beer.

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