I’m an unabashed fan of Powers whiskey and am of the opinion that the range contains some of the most under rated Irish whiskeys. The history of the brand is long and storied; with its founding dating all the way back to 1791. It has been an indomitable part of the Irish whiskey landscape for centuries.
It was one of the first brands to establish its own bottling plant and indeed it was the first in the world to produce a miniature bottle, a 71ml measure that became a by-word for a small measure, a ‘baby-powers’. Of the three traditional Midleton stalwarts – Powers, Jameson and Paddy, it is Powers that contains the greatest quantity of pot-still in its standard bottle. It’s that extra little bit of pot-still that gives Powers its signature spicy character.
Powers has released a large number of special bottles over the last number of years. I was lucky enough at a recent tasting in Cork to get a wee dram of a few of the rarer editions. The line up included such gems as Powers ‘Fox and Geese’ (released solely to employees of IDL), Powers ‘Aviation’ (specially bottled to commemorate Dublin airports 75th anniversary), and a lesser known single cask from the Celtic whiskey shop, each different but with the distinctive underlying Powers signature taste. Powers’ “John’s Lane” release is certainly among the best of any standard range on the current market and Powers’ Three Swallows is one of the best value pot-stills for any palate and pocket. The latter can be purchased for €45 in any good off-license and represents great value at that price.
With the recent sale of Paddy to the Sazerac company it would seem that IDL Pernod Ricard are going to being putting their weight behind their other Jameson and Powers brands in the near future – something I would be very much in favour of. This does not mean that Powers has forgotten about the home market. In fact, Powers recently had a special bottling for the Long Hall on Greater South George’s Street. The impressive Victorian building was granted its first license back in 1766, making 2016 the 250th anniversary of the bar.
The bar was already celebrating its 25th year when James Power established his distillery at nearby John’s Lane, two intertwined parts of the Dublin cityscape. Thus to mark the impressive and endearing longevity of the bar Powers have collaborated with the ‘Long Hall’ on a special single cask released. I haven’t tasted the spirit yet but undoubtedly master blender Billy Leighton has made sure it has all the quintessential characteristics of a Powers whiskey – think spicy flavour and big creamy mouthfeel.
Next time I’m in the capital I’ll certainly be dropping into the ‘Long Hall’ for a measure.
Listed below are the tasting notes supplied to me by the good folks in IDL.
Tasting Notes –
Nose: Bold Pot Still Spices of cinnamon and orchard Fruits give way to a zesty citrus finish balanced with charred oak and a touch of black peppercorns.
Taste: Initial vanilla sweetness and green pepper is given an edge by a hint of chilli oil reflecting the Pot Still style. A hint of citrus introduces some softer fruit for unique taste complexity bound with American Oak tones.
Finish: The Pot Still spices linger ending in a combination of wood and barley.