By Father John Rayls
Rating B and B+
Luxco (part owner producer along with Niche Drinks of The Quiet Man Irish Whiskey) struck me as a marketing juggernaut when they produced Blood Oath. They were obviously savvy in the ways of the world. It was an interesting whisky surrounded by over wrought marketing materials and background story and over pricing. As a result, when I received their The Quiet Man Irish Whiskey I was somewhat skeptical. The packaging and materials are superb and head and shoulders above almost anything thing else in the whiskey world. In addition, Irish Whiskey is not at the top of my most desired category. I like it, but tend to find it a little too subtle for my tastes.
However, this is an interesting Irish Whiskey.
I believed initially the whiskey was named after one of my most favorite John Wayne films, The Quiet Man with Maureen O’Hara. This, of course, fueled my skepticism even more. An old saying goes “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with b**l s**t.” I thought this might be the latter. However, the storyline clearly shows the name of this Irish whiskey has nothing to do with the movie. I’m sure that the connection for many Americans will still be a happy “coincidence”. Ciaran Mulgrew (managing director and co-owner of Niche Drinks) developed The Quiet Man to honor his father, John Mulgrew. It is being released here in the States in two versions. Both are pot still whiskeys, matured in oak casks and then aged in first fill bourbon barrels. One version is The Quiet Man Traditional Irish Whiskey Blend. The other is The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey. Both are bottled at 80 proof. The first is aged 4 years while the single malt is aged 8 years.
Both whiskeys appear golden in the bottle and in the glass only slightly darker in the bottle. The legs are there, but both whiskeys are a thin to medium viscosity. Light reflects beautifully off of and through the whiskeys. It’s actually a beautiful whiskey to observe. However, this is where the two begin to diverge.
The Quiet Man Traditional Irish Whiskey Blend
This is a pleasant, subtle whiskey. It contains a higher malt percentage than many others. As a result, you will probably find it to be a very mellow and smooth finish. The aromas in the glass are a light floral fragrance with sweet under currents drawing you into the experience. A Glencairn Glass helps focus this part of the experience and is highly recommended. The distillery suggests you will find smokey notes, but they escaped me. It seems odd that they would suggest this in that this is one of the differences between Scotch and Irish Whiskey…the absence of smokiness.
The feel in the mouth is very pleasant. It’s a soft, unobtrusive experience. However, you must slow down and focus to get the best out of this whiskey. (I consider that part of the normal Irish Whiskey experience) There is a very nice balance of spice and oak in the mouth with an extremely subtle sweetness leading to the spicy finish. There isn’t much burn here, but a pleasant, mellow finish that provides a medium finish.
The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
This is also a subtle whiskey experience. However, not quite as much as the traditional blend. You will find the nose to be a crisp floral fragrance, but the oak is more apparent in this version. In addition, finishing this whiskey in bourbon casks adds the traditional vanilla notes as well. I would encourage you to take some additional time catching the subtle aromas. They are very pleasant, but simply require more time.
This drinks like a bigger whiskey in spite of its 80 proof. All most all of the action is at the back of the mouth until the long finish eventually (slowly!) migrates all the way to the front. You will find hints of honey, vanilla and spicy oak. However, it’s all in a context of a very, very smooth experience. This is a very good whiskey not only for newbies, but also for experienced whiskey drinkers. It can be experienced at multiple levels of enjoyment.
Both whiskeys were released in January 2016 and should be showing up on your local shelves. The 4 year traditional Irish blend has a suggested retail of 39.99 and the 8 year single malt has a 49.99 suggested retail price. If you are looking for something a little different or are a fan of Irish Whiskey, I would suggest giving this a try. Both are very enjoyable whiskeys.