Review of Kavanagh Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Paired with Asylum CigarBy: Dr. Mitch Fadem
I went looking for some whiskey to replace a bottle of Glenmorainge 18 year old (a $150/bottle single malt that I got as a Christmas present last year). Since that was now out of my budget, I was in search for something that might be palatable at a bargain price, sort of like those Mr. B Londsdale Maduroís that I smoked way back when.
Where could I go to find that? I went to Total Wine, one of the largest chain stores of itís kind that I know of. The one I frequent is in Summerlin, Las Vegas, the closest store to me which has everything with alcohol. I brew my own beer now, but that will have to be in my next article. They always are set up with a tasting of some kind of wine, beer or spirits. I was in luck, they had a person set up in the center of the store with all three. I went for the whiskey. They were sampling an unknown or little known Irish blended whiskey for $18 per bottle. I tried it, half expecting to either gag or choke from the burn from swallowing something nasty. I was surprised to find it moderately palatable. It was somewhere between Jameson and Bushmills, but then again, I have not had either of those in many years, so I wasnít really sure.
I asked where the Irish whiskey aisle was, and I had to walk past the single malt scotch to get there. I paused to stare at the single malts I have had in the past like Glenlivet, Glenfitich, Glenmorangie, and so on (donít chide me for the bad spelling). I found myself staring at the Irish and trying not to look back at the Scotch. All the ones I remembered were staring back at me, Jamison, Bushmills, Tullamore Dew, a bunch of names I didnít know and then I saw the Black Bush Bushmills, and single malt Bushmills and remembered that I used to drink a lot of that 40 years ago.
I stopped to remember the times I knocked off bottles of Bushmills with an old friend of mine, Brian Boddis. Brian was the principle flute in the Cape Town South African orchestra I was in back in the early 1970ís, who introduced me to Bushmills. He has long since passed but the memory of the good taste of good Irish whiskey still lingers. I even visited him once in Ireland and he took me to their distillery. Yes, hot toddyís and Guiness on cold Irish days in early Spring. Okay, I have digressed which seems to happen more and more as we all get older.
Back to the present and the dilemma of finding a cheap whiskey substitute for the $100+ bottles I used to be able to afford. Even Bushmills was up in price. The Black Bush (nearly $40) was always much better that the original (now $30) and the aged and single malt Irish are up from there to well over $100. Then, I saw something called Kavanagh Single Malt Irish Whiskey bottled at the Teeling Distillery. I vaguely remember Teeling being one of the oldest whiskey makers in Dublin (where that information came from inside my head I have no idea). The rating was 93 and in the cigar world that would be a very good smoke, so I took a chance. Then I took the bottle over and compared it to the Glenmorangie $150 bottle and to my chagrin, it at least had a similar description. The regular price was $35 but it was on special for $20?!?! I had to try it.
I got home, took my Asylum cigar out of the ziplock bag I use to store my cigars in the freezer (??? yes, it is so dry here that I cannot keep my humidors conditioned properly and since they are completely empty I store my few cigars in cold storage. I donít know why but I think I must have read it somewhere, or not.) My biggest surprise was at the first sip. It was smooth, nice aroma, slightly sweet and just enough afterburner to know it was Irish single malt and not something else. The cigar was also quite good, very smooth, perfect draw, no re-lights, and it paired very well with the whiskey. I even smoked this one down to the last inch, which was just starting to give me some heat. So, a tip of the hat to the Teeling Whiskey Co, Dublin, Ireland and to Christian Eiroa for still making great cigars.