...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Summer Whiskey Report: Power's John's Lane 12 year old Single Pot Still

You're saying to yourself, "Didn't he just report on a sample of this stuff four months ago?"

And I say, "Thanks for reading my blog!"  Hypothetically, if I had posted about it, I would have ended said presupposed report saying I would study it further.  Now I have.

This was my other summer whiskey, in whole bottle form:

Another great gift from my in-laws, Andrew and Leslie!

StyleSingle Pot Still
Distillery: Midleton
Age: at least 12 years (up to 14 years)
Maturation: mostly first* fill ex-bourbon barrels, along with some oloroso sherry butts (*though another official site says second fill)
Country: Ireland
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? Likely

Since we may have been here before with this whisky, I'm going to skip with the history lesson (which can be found on the post I may have done in May).

Right up front I'm going to say, this does not make for the best hot weather whiskey.  It's not light, it's not bright and fruity.  Going through this bottle only proves my original estimation that this whiskey is brooder, not a perky party girl.

As with yesterday's whisky, having a whole bottle allowed me to do more than a single study.  And lining it up next to the lightweight Glen Ord helped highlight its characteristics.


The color is a dark yellow gold.  The nose leads with a combo of rubber cement, toffee, and fudge.  A whole lot of that.  Digging deeper, one may find whole wheat bread crust, pipe tobacco, barrel char, something figgy, vanilla, talcum powder, red berries in caramel sauce, and chewing gum.  I found little sign of the sherry butts, but there is still quite an alcohol tingle to it.  The palate is malty and sweet, having a bit of the toffee & fudge character from the nose.  There's also black coffee, oats, hot cereal, butter, brine, and chlorine.  Something green and grassy lingers underneath and there's a sharpness that feels a bit younger than the whiskey's age.  The extensive finish carries with it a citric sting.  There's more of the hot cereal character, topped with butter, caramel, and bananas.


Those nose has gotten more expressive -- bigger, fruitier, gummier.  Orange bubble gum in fact.  Bright spices, cardamom in molasses.  There's nougat with the fudge now, and also something lightly perfumy.  Meanwhile the palate has gotten milder, but it's still very malty.  A little sweeter and easier.  Very reminiscent of my favorite Power's blend, minus the rougher spots.  It finishes mild and malty as well.  Some tartness and bitterness have snuck in.  It's also lightly herbal, perhaps juniper?

Sometimes we think a whisky is difficult to decipher because we assess it to be dense and cryptic.  And sometimes it's really because the whisky is just closed up tight.  Though in my previous estimation I'd said water didn't help the John's Lane 12 year, I am going to contradict myself.  That wall I'd previously kept hitting with the whiskey was largely because the nose can be very closed up when sniffed neatly.  It resulted in me knocking this sucker down a half star at the start of this tasting.  But then I tried it with a little water and the nose perked right up.  After the hydration the palate loosened up just a bit but mostly turned itself into the classic Power's blend (but better).  That may not appeal to you like it appeals to me.

This is still some tense stuff, it's not the most casual of drinks.  I'd take it over most single malts, but I still prefer all the Redbreasts over it.  The Redbreasts, even at cask strength are much more expressive.  If you do spring for Power's John's Lane 12 year, I recommend giving it 15 or more minutes in the glass, and a little water after you've tried it neat.

Pricewise, $65 is sort of pushing things.  That's higher than the cask strength version of Redbreast 12, and about the same price as Redbreast 15 year old (bottled at 46% ABV and unchillfiltered).  If it's actually a limited bottling then perhaps the price would make sense, but I haven't read anything about a short supply.  At $80 forget it, especially when you can still get two bottles of RB12 for that price via some retailers.

There is a younger NAS version of the Powers pot still ("Signature Release") that hit The States this month (also 46% ABV), it retails for $40-$50.  If I do get my hands on it, I'll try to limit it to one report......per year.

Availability - Specialty liquor retailers
Pricing - $65-$80
Rating - 90 (right on the edge, and please consider my usual Irish bias)