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Thursday, May 10, 2012

NOT Single Malt Report: Michael Collins Irish Blended Whiskey


Distillery: Cooley
Brand: Michael Collins
Type: Irish Blended Whiskey
Current Owner: Beam Inc.
Age: 4 to 12 years
Maturation: bourbon-seasoned American Oak
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
This actually the old bottle, but it's tall and lean;
plus it matches my mini bottle
Named after one of the leading figures in Ireland's successful struggle for independence and the first chairman of their provisional government until his assassination in 1922 (How about that for a run-on fragment; large as the man himself), Michael Collins Irish Blended Whiskey has a make-up similar to a Scotch blend.

The vast majority of Irish blends contain a portion of triple-distilled pot still whiskey (from a mash of malted and unmalted barley) and grain whiskey.  Like a Scotch blend, Michael Collins is a mix of double-distilled single malt and grain whiskey.

The Cooley distillery specializes in single malts as opposed to the single pot still whiskey coming from the Midleton distillery.  They make a number of very different single malts (two reported on here and here), from the Connemara peated brands to the unpeated finished Tyrconnell whiskies to a Michael Collins 10 year old to a number of small independent bottlings.

So this blend is structurally different that Powers, Jamesons, Paddy, and Tullamore Dew.  Is it better or worse or similar...?

Color -- Light brass
Nose -- Bananas, paste, flatulence (not petrol gas and not sulphur but really farty, unmistakable), burnt caramelized brown sugar, ethyl, notebook paper, and wood grain
Palate -- Pears, whipped cream, burnt toast, vanilla, very sweet
Finish -- Vanilla and fruit sweets, but also brief and salty

Nose -- Ethyl and notebook paper are all that remain
Palate -- Lots of vanilla, sweetened whole milk or perhaps vanilla yogurt?, toffee
Finish -- Short, but noticeable toffee and vanilla

The nose is a bit difficult, but the palate is nice.  Very easy drinking.  I just don't recommend putting your nose too far into the glass.  This is something I'm finding with most of the young inexpensive Irish blends. Their flavor is considerably more delightful than their scent, no matter how they're constructed.

So if you're not getting all hoity-toity with your booze and just want something that works well when it hits your lips, Michael Collins isn't a bad choice.  It holds water decently, and might (might) stand up to a highball or mixing due to its sweetness.

Availability - Most liquor stores
Pricing - Decent at $24-$30
Rating - 75