Okay, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means that many of you will likely be off for a pint of the black stuff later on today. (I know that nobody will be supping green food colouring-adulterated lager, right?) If you fit into this category, make it a good one, okay? Meaning: There are Irish beers out there besides Guinness. Better, even.
Some of you might even fancy a drop of Irish whiskey before the day’s end, and on that front I have two words of very sound advice: Michael Collins. Not the crusader for Irish independence, but the whiskey, or rather, the two whiskeys.
Both have been repackaged and relaunched of late, which means that they now look as good as they taste. (The old bottles were of rather suspect design.) The blended whiskey is the same as before, but I’m told the single malt has been reformulated. Both are worthy of your consideration not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but year-round.
Produced at the Cooley Distillery for the Sidney Frank Company, the Michael Collins Irish Whiskey “A Blend” is double rather than triple distilled, which leaves it with a bit more heart than you might find in, say, a Jameson or Bushmills. Less sweetness, too, notwithstanding the honey-ish, candied citrus notes in the aroma and dried fruitiness of the palate. If you enjoy your drop of Irish on the rocks, or with a splash of water, blended Michael Collins should be your call.
The 10 Year Old Single Malt Michael Collins, also produced at Cooley, is a different beast entirely. Billed as “Lightly Peated,” there are definite notes of campfire and dark chocolate on the nose, along with a whiff of vanilla and brown spice. In the body, the single malt comes on sweeter and fuller than does the blend, with notes of tangerine and tropical fruit mixing with lingering notes of chocolate, buckwheat honey and a subtle suggestion of cinnamon, all buttressed by a soft smokiness that trails through the finish. This one needs nothing more than a glass.
So there you have it, for your St. Patrick’s Day merriment. And while I’m at it, I should mention that you won’t go far wrong calling for any of Cooley’s fine whiskeys, from the Tyrconnell Single Malt to Greenore Single Grain to Cask-Strength Connemara Peated Single Malt.
Me? I’ll be eating oysters and drinking Bowmore. Go figure.