Whilst the distillery is installed in a very old building, initially a mill constructed in the 1700s, in the heart of Dublin, it’s a very recent distillery that started production in 2019. The distillery is named after the Liberties district of Dublin, an historic district of this city. New distilleries have several choices when they start and until their whisk(e)y comes of age. They can produce unaged spirits like gin or vodka to have immediate income while the future whisky matures. They can also just wait the required three years, but that needs to have enough cash from the start as it means close to no income for the first few years, except maybe for the income from a visitor centre. And finally, they can source whisky from other distilleries, potentially blend it, mature it for an additional period, or finish it in a selection of casks, and sell it under their name with a markup. That’s the third choice Dublin Liberties Distillery did, and we’re now going to try four of their expressions, all sourced from undisclosed (as far as I know) Irish distilleries.
Dublin Liberties 5-Year-Old Oak Devil
Oak Devil is a 5-year-old blended whisky made from double-distilled single malt and grain Irish whiskey (there is no single pot still), matured in ex-bourbon casks. Despite being an entry-level in their range, it is bottled at 46% abv (well done on that), non-chill filtered but might be coloured. It will cost you about £36 on MoM or TWE, and 45€ on the Dublin Liberties online shop. It is named after an Oak Devil carved on an archway you have to walk under to enter the Hell area of the Liberties.
Woody, it noses young and a bit grainy. Vanilla and a touch of honey, whilst peaches and pear bring fruitiness. Smelling young, but nice nonetheless.
Slightly spicy, with a light mouthfeel. Something sweet, honey, grapefruit juice cut with water, then it moves to vanilla and eucalyptus chewing gum. Woody notes like on the nose.
Short, on wood and eucalyptus.
Well, it’s young, nothing fantastic but it isn’t bad either, just something you’ll drink without thinking too much about it. Good points on bottling this at 46% abv, but you can find better for the same kind of price.
Dublin Liberties 10-Year-Old Copper Alley
This one is named after Copper Alley, which is the oldest street in Dublin, itself named after the coin that was first minted there in the 17th century. We have here a single malt matured for 10 years in ex-bourbon casks before a finish in 30yo Oloroso sherry casks. Once again, it’s bottled at 46%, non-chill filtered but might be coloured. Expect to pay about £50 in the UK and 55€ at the DLD shop.
Honeyed malt, slight anis, jellies (sweets). Yellow and white fruits, not very expressive even after some time in the glass.
A bit of wood, honey, spices (pepper), liquorice, vanilla, grapefruit dusted with lots of sugar, orange juice.
Wood, spices, medium length.
Well, I have to admit while the nose was a bit of a let-down, not being very expressive even after some time in the glass, the palate was a bit better. But in the end, not very memorable either. At least the price is not a huge step up from the 5yo Oak Devil.
Dublin Liberties 13-Year-Old Murder Lane
This 13-year-old was matured in bourbon casks and finished in Tokaji casks. Tokaji is a Hungarian sweet wine. This expression takes its name from Murder Lane, an unmarked alleyway that connects Bow Street and James Street. Like the previous two, it’s bottled at 46% and without chill filtration. Batch 1, the one I’m reviewing, had an outturn of 1278 bottles, while there’s now a batch 2 of 600 bottles. Expect to pay about £112 at MoM (not sure if it’s a batch 1 or 2) and €140 at the DLD online shop.
Marzipan, vanilla and slight coconut notes. Warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg intertwine with peach and orange.
Sweet arrival, with marzipan again, but also butter, dried apricot, nutmeg. Something a bit herbal and a bit of oak as well.
Honeyed almonds, oak spices, good length.
Having never drunk Tokaji wine, I’m not sure about what it brought, but this is a nice and easy dram, highly sippable. However, we see here once again how quickly an Irish whiskey becomes really expensive with age, there’s a huge price hike from the 10yo that is a bit difficult to justify. It’s better, in my opinion, but not enough to justify the price.
Dublin Liberties 16-Year-Old Keeper’s Coin
Last one for today: the 16yo Keeper’s Coin. The story is that under a cathedral in the 1600s, there were a series of crypts used as illicit drinking dens, and the cellar keepers would each have their own coins and casks. Well I know who gets the coins now, because this expression is sold for 240€ at DLD and £236 at MoM, there again with a second batch also existing. Ouch. Anyway, this is a single malt matured in ex-bourbon casks before going into a PX cask for a finish. 46%, non-chill filtered, probably coloured as nothing’s mentioned on that point, you know the drill.
Lightly salted coffee, custard, fig jam, leather.
Rich, slight bitterness of oak, cookies with chocolate chunks, pinch of pepper and clove. Leather again, but the flesh side. Dark berries that make me think of that fantastic blueberry muffins I used to buy under Pennsylvania Station whenever I’d be in New York (I know, most useless tasting note ever).
Drops of lemon and orange juice, oak, slightly less dark chocolate.
The nose was here again a bit shy, but the palate was really enjoyable. Maybe a couple more percents would have made that even better, like a 48 to 50% abv. The only real problem, however, is the price. 240€ for this is way too expensive. I know how much it cost them to source this and if they added a fat markup on it or not, but that’s just way too expensive. Anyway, I’m just rating the whisky, not its price.