By Father John Rayls
As a big fan of Irish Whiskey, I’m always looking for a bottom shelf surprise discovery. Of course, it’s a risky business if you really enjoy the whole whiskey experience. There is no doubt this is a bottom shelf offering and there isn’t much information available on Wolfhound Irish Whiskey otherwise known as The Gentle Giant. The fact that the label suggests “a touch of Ginger Ale, Soda or Natural Spring Water” to “release Wolfhound’s hidden Character” should give you some clue to its true nature. Although Wolfhound is an economical easy sipping whiskey, its primary purpose is as a mixer and should definitely be considered for your coffee and especially with an an Irish Stout Beer. This is an Irish Whiskey sourced from the Cooley Distillery now known as Kilbeggan Distillery of Ireland. Cooley Distillery was sometimes referred to as the MGP of Ireland. This doesn’t automatically mean it’s a bad whiskey, but rather more of a generic whiskey. Please don’t get me wrong, I like some of the MGP Whiskeys that appear under their own label as well as under many other labels. However, it does set certain expectations. To borrow a cliche, “It is what it is”.
The appearance in the bottle is darker than its appearance in the glass. In the bottle, the color appears as dark gold to light brown with some reddish tints with brass highlights. In the glass, it’s much lighter appearing as an opaque dark gold (light copper?) with bright gold and brass highlights. The legs are thin and somewhat reluctant and yet prolific. The nose is soft and yet readily noticeable with some tingling short of any burn. There are light notes of oak, malt and vanilla.
There is a very light creamy mouthfeel. On the palette, there is a slightly sweet vanilla and oak presence on top of some faint malt. It’s simply an easy sipping whiskey that supplies enough flavor to get by. The reality is that the more you consume the better the flavors become. It’s a true Irish Whiskey that provides enough taste to get by, but not enough to really stand out as memorable. Irish Whiskey tends to be more subtle in general than other types of whiskeys, but Wolfhound is more subtle than many other Irish Whiskeys. However, it can still provide an enjoyable tasting experience. There are notes of vanilla and oak over a honey malt base. The finish is medium in length and intensity appearing with some slight heat which is surprising since it is bottled at 80 Proof. It begins at the back of the mouth and even down the throat. It eventually migrates to the front of the mouth finally encompassing the lips.
The really, really good news is that it’s available from $14.95 to $21.95 here in the states from Prestige Wine & Spirits Group out of Princeton, Minnesota. It’s readily available nationwide both locally and online. This would be a very good mixer or used as a sipping whiskey for newbies.