We’re back to Ireland today, with a Liberator from Wayward Irish Spirits. Wayward, as whiskey bonders, offer several ranges of whiskeys: The Liberator, and the Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey. The first one, Liberator, is sourced whiskey that they mature, finish, and bottle on their estate, whilst the Lakeview is distilled for Wayward but with grain from their own single estate, knowing exactly where do the grain comes from, the target being becoming a grain to glass distillery. They hope to start distilling on site in 2024. But for now, we’re trying a sourced whiskey they matured, finished and bottled: The Liberator Storehouse Special Malt X Moscatel. Yes, that’s a very long name.
The Liberator Storehouse Special Malt x Moscatel Finish Review
Phew, that was a long title. What we have here is a sourced 5-year-old double-distilled Irish (single) malt, distilled in 2016 by Great Northern Distillery, that was then finished for 7 months in fresh Moscatel sherry casks. And when I (or they, in fact) say fresh, they do mean it. They tasted the sherry from those casks back in Jerez, loved it, and had the casks filled within two weeks after they were emptied of the Moscatel sherry they contained. This whiskey is delivered at cask strength (56% ABV) in 350ml bottles, without chill filtration nor colouring. It did, however, require some kind of filtration to remove wood pieces or char, which is not always required for their Stonehouse Special releases. The outturn is 400 bottles, 150 of them being for Ireland. The RRP is 60€, which might be a bit expensive for a 6yo half-bottle whiskey. Still available at James Fox, Irish Malts, Celtic Whiskey Shop or as 50ml samples at Tiny Tipple for instance.
Neat: oh, I hadn’t paid attention to what the ABV was before nosing it, and it smelled alcohol! Once past the alcohol hit on the nostrils, there is some caramel as well as figs, prunes and dates, almonds, it’s like an oriental pastry. There’s something slightly herbal in the back that I cannot pinpoint, or maybe grassy. Some floral notes as well.
With water: strangely just a few drops seem to have toned the nose down a bit, it’s less expressive. The alcohol hit disappeared completely, letting just faint
Neat: the arrival is thick and syrupy, a bit hot from the alcohol, on chocolate cake, or maybe even chocolate cream dessert (it really makes me think of the La Laitière one we have in France, do you have it in the UK?) There’s some wood bitterness, grapefruit zest, sliced almonds, but I find that everything is mostly covered by chocolate.
With water: oh this works way better on the palate than on the nose. Way more citrus notes, still those alcohol spices but delayed compared to neat. The mouthfeel is creamier now, with slightly more heat on the tongue, but that’s nice. With slightly more water, some mango appears.
Orange, citrus, touches of wood, a couple chunks of chocolate, and a few floral notes. The finish is quite long, flavours stay for quite a moment on the back of the tongue.
I’ve enjoyed this. Neat, the nose is really nice. I cannot say which notes are brought by the moscatel finish as I don’t have experience with the different types of sherries and fortified wines and all except for the odd port, but this is really nice, even though the ABV makes it a bit prickly. The palate, when neat, is very syrupy and hot, and mostly covered by chocolate cream dessert, really on the front of all other flavours. Water unfortunately seemed to almost extinguish the nose for me, but was quite successful on the palate, letting other flavours to come through, even tropical fruits. In the end, it’s a really nice whisky, really enjoyable, though maybe a bit expensive as it’s just a wee bit more than a half-sized bottle.