One of my best friends and I shop for liquor together and oft times consume whole bottles of whiskey during special occasions. We discovered Clontarf in one of those “What’s that? I think we have to drink it and find out moments” while perusing the whiskey aisle at Spec’s Liquor. Those usually pay off and this one did as well. In fact it paid off so much that this is my choice for house-whiskey-that’s-not-bourbon replacing the long tradition of having a bottle of Oban around for special occasions. We cracked our first bottle of this almost two years ago and everyone who took a sip was duly impressed. That in and of itself was a bit of a feat since at least two of the guys who shared this with us don’t drink whiskey and generally claim to not like it at all. This straw gold bottle of the ol’ mountain dew proved itself to be a multi-tasking son-of-a-bitch being good straight, with rocks, with a splash of water, and even with a little chilled ginger ale. I stopped at ginger ale as I couldn’t see mixing this wonderful gift from God with anything more than we had tried. I am sure if you want to spoil a great whiskey you could mix it with Coke or whatever else your twisted little mind came up with but take my word for it: This is a drinkin’ whiskey and not a mixin’ whiskey. If you want to mix then go buy some George Dickel or Jim Beam and mix away.
When you first uncork this bad boy and pour a dram or two you will notice the scent of slightly spicy oak with underlying hints of, believe it or not, citrus. As it rolls over your tongue the sweetness lingers and it stays rich revealing come caramel flavoring right before a nice soft but spicy finish that stays around long enough for a good deep breath to make you feel you like you just swallowed a piece of the Irish sun rising over the Cliffs of Mohar. Part of these flavors and the overall smoothness may be due to the fact that it’s charcoal filtered which is uncommon for Irish whiskeys. Tennessee Whiskey is charcoal filtered which also may explain my love affair with this one. Remember that Irish whiskey tends to be the purest on earth as it’s distilled three times compared to bourbon’s once (normally) and scotch’s twice. So you can drink more and have less risk of a hangover. As far as the currently imported Irish whiskey’s go Clontarf takes the top slot as far as I am concerned.
While mellow the spicy undertones of this entry in Booze Talk and the potential for use a party whiskey for those of us so inclined I am not going to celebrate the smoothness of this with the music but rather it’s roots, richness, and all the wonderful flavors that happen when you take a good sip of Clontarf. So go buy yourself a bottle, queue up the mix tape, and get ready to call some friends over to share this one with because more than a drinkin’ whiskey it’s a sharin’ whiskey. I know I can’t manage to keep a bottle around for long…
If you have a favorite whiskey let me know because I want to try it. Heck let us know any liquor (AIV note: I drink whiskey, vodka and Gin) in the comments and maybe some poor soul will try it out and write up for us.