I guess you’re getting quite used to reading about Tweet Tastings from me now, as I’ve covered quite a few of them in the last 6 months… or more. Today, we’re back to an Irish bottler/blender, as we can see quite a lot these days. I guess it’s a sign the Irish whiskey industry is flourishing, so that’s quite good news! Let’s introduce The Quiet Man, before reviewing the three drams we got to try this time.
The Quiet Man Whiskey
The Quiet Man is a brand from Niche Drinks, a small drinks manufacturer from Derry, Northern Ireland. In the past, Derry was regarded as the world’s whiskey capital as by the end of the 19th century, the city was said to produce more whiskey than any other city in the world. Niche Drinks started in 1983 and have been producing cream liqueurs, Irish coffee and ready-to-drink cocktails ever since. Niche Drinks are themselves the Irish extension of Saint-Louis (Missouri) based Luxco, a “consumer products company” (whatever that means) created in 1958 by Paul A. Lux and David Sherman Sr, first as a private label bottler, under the name DSC: David Sherman Corporation. They changed name in 2006 to Luxco as a tribute to their founder, Paul Lux, and because of the current ownership of the company. Niche Drinks was initially in a partnership with Luxco in order to distribute their products in the USA, but in April 2018 Luxco purchased a controlling stake in their long-time partner Niche Drinks.
The name “The Quiet Man” is as a tribute to John Mulgrew, father of Niche Drinks managing director and co-owner Ciaran Mulgrew. Why? John Mulgrew was a bartender with a reputation of knowing how to keep a secret, and was thus nicknamed “The Quiet Man”. In Gaelic, this translates as “An Fear Ciuin”, that appears on the label of The Quiet Man bottles.
They had a plan in 2016 to open a distillery named… The Quiet Man Distillery, and even received approval to build the £12 million distillery in 2017. However, in November 2018 the project was scrapped due to “commercial factors having brought about a change in the decision”. In clearer terms, Luxco CEO Donn Lux said that “The Quiet Man brand just wasn’t big enough” to justify building the distillery. They still hope to do the project if they can get the brand to build, though. But it will take some time.
The Quiet Man’s core range has several expressions: the Superior Blended Irish Whiskey, an 8-year-old single malt, a 12-year-old Oloroso Sherry cask finish and a 12-year-old single malt. All of those are sourced from Cooley distillery.
The Quiet Man Whiskey Tweet Tasting
As usual, we received as part of this Tweet Tasting a few samples from Luxco: the Superior Blended Irish Whiskey, the 8-year-old single malt, and the 12-year-old single malt.
The Quiet Man Superior Blend Review
The Superior blend is made of 80% grain whiskey (made from maize) distilled in Coffey column stills, and 20% Irish malted barley whiskey distilled in copper pot stills. Both components are sourced from Cooley distillery. The blend is matured in ex-bourbon casks from Kentucky for 4 years before being bottled at 40% abv. It may be coloured and chill-filtered as there is no information stating otherwise that I could find. You can buy it in the UK at Master of Malt for example for just shy of £30, while in France you’ll be able to soon find it at LMDW for €36, or right now at Spiritueux Online for €37.
Barley water with a few drops of lemon juice, hints of vanilla, floral perfume, maybe some mint in the background and a slight solvent note.
A bit thin mouthfeel but okay for a 40% dram. Sweet and slightly spicy arrival, vanilla, honey, lemon. Then black liquorice sweets, very sweetened grapefruit juice.
Medium length, citrusy and hot with lingering sweet spices.
The nose is unfortunately a bit extinct here, while the palate is okay, though a bit too sweet with a mouthfeel a bit too thin. Easy to sip without paying too much attention.
The Quiet Man 8-Year-Old Single Malt Review
The next expression we tried was a single malt expression sourced from Cooley distillery and matured for 8 years in 1st-fill Bourbon barrels. As for the blend we tried just before, it is bottled at 40% abv, coloured and chill-filtered. You’ll be able to buy it in the UK for an inexpensive £36-something at Hard To Find Whisky and Master of Malt, and €48 in France at La Maison Du Whisky.
Very light apple juice, hints of lemon and barley. It needed to be warmed with the glass in my hands to reveal some spices and a bit of vanilla and coconut.
Lemon, immediately. A bit hot, vanilla, caramel, clove, slight notes of coconut, a few chunks of wood.
Vanilla, caramel, citrus, nutmeg and maybe green apple. A bit hot again, with a good length.
Another shy nose for me, needing quite some time to wake up. The palate is lemony and a bit hot despite the 40% and still a thin mouthfeel. At least it’s less watery than the blend, so I’ll give it a couple points more.
The Quiet Man 12-Year-Old Single Malt Review
Last dram of the tasting, this is a 12-year-old single malt that has been sourced from Bushmills or Cooley distillery, I found those two distilleries named during my research on this whiskey. The whiskey is finished in 1st-fill Kentucky bourbon barrels while the maturation was made in “older” (as in more fills) bourbon barrels. It is this time bottled at 46% abv, without chill-filtration, but no indication as to colouring. In the UK, you’ll find it at MoM for £59.95 or five quids less at Hard To Find Whisky. Amazon France would have sent you one for €63.09 but it’s sold out, while Drinks&Co will ask for a lot more at €105!
You can feel the additional 6% abv from the 8yo. A bit of nail polish remover, wood polish, a bit grainy, blind I’d guess it for a single grain. Custard , lemon curd, vanilla and caramel.
More body than the two previous, more spices too! Lemon once again, pineapple, apple, orangina, mint, a bit of wood spices, chocolate, the nose was a bit closed but the palate is not!
Lingering spices, a citrusy sourness and some dark chocolate. A bit short.
The nose starts shy and once again it needs time in the glass to open up and reveal itself. The fun thing is you could think it’s a grain, but it’s not. On the palate, the addition 6% abv compared to the first two drams change everything. More body and more support for the flavours, more bang, more spices, more everything. Way better. Easy to drink though it may be a bit hot if you don’t have a trained palate like we drunks have (yeah, you too dear reader, I know you’re like me!). And quite a good pricing, not trying to hammer you on the pretext that it’s almost an Irish teenager.
Another good moment here, with sourced Irish whiskey. Though they want revolutionize the Irish whiskey scene nor go on your top shelf, these three drams are easy drinkers very reasonably priced, cheap even. They’re not the ones you’ll spend hours dissecting them to extract every smell and flavour you can identify, but they’re not trying to be, and they’re not priced like that either. The Quiet Man got us drams a bit quiet, but honestly, I do like a bit of quiet sometimes. A lot, even, to be honest.
But don’t take our word for it…
As usual, different people may have different opinions, so I encourage you to read what others have thought and written about those drams. For now, I’ve just seen that Malt had written about the 12yo here back in 2018.