With Cinco de Mayo this week it’s time once again for the Honest Booze Reviews tradition of mixing up the holiday with St Patrick’s day so we begin with this, which was sadly the only whiskey I could find from Ireland that wasn’t Jameson or Bushmills at my local store. (Thankfully I do go to other stores)
I sort of wish they had left their literature off because unlike things like Highland Park which are actually tied to history this is just ‘we like their spirit and we celebrate it.’ Also in a battle between the Irish and the vikings – well vikings are cooler. The main problem I have with this whiskey though as you’ll soon find out is that it’s shit.
What they Say: “At the battle of Clontarf in 1014, High King Brian Boru sent viking invaders tumbling back into the sea and gave his life to achieve a remarkable victory for the Irish over the fearsome vikings.
Our whiskey celebrates that courage to take a stand and make a sacrifice to bring about what you believe in.
Clontarf 1014 is a bold and smooth Irish Whiskey, triple distilled, aged in bourbon barrels and blended to perfection.”
Taste: 6.0 – It starts off well enough bit of sweetness – some nice grain whiskey.
Aftertaste: 3.5 – It’s not outright disgusting but it feels off, and you get a lot more ethyl like flavor.
Burn/Smooth: 1.5 – There is burn, and a complete failure of smoothness going down.
Aroma: 5.0 – That is perfectly average in terms of what you would expect from a middle-shelf Irish whiskey.
Honesty: 5.0 – Much like the Jesse James bourbon from a few weeks back – the name Clontarf is basically hijacked – and the 1014 meant to make you think of age is just a battle date in history. This pretty much loses by being a facade.
w/ Rocks: 2.5 – That makes it worse, much worse. The ice really opens up that not great aftertaste.
Whiskey and Ginger Ale: 5.0 – Mediocre. That’s really all there is to say.
Value: 3.0 – While slightly less expensive than Jameson or Bushmills – it’s not worth it, which makes it terrible value. Because I will never think – yes let’s save a dollar or two to have an un-enjoyable drink.
Google Shop Average: $21
Metric Score: 27.75/70 |+| Metric Average: 3.96 |+| Reviewer Average: 3.0
Final Thoughts: Sorry but while it may inch closer to average by metrics – a whiskey that is not great neat or mixed, nor is it all the cheaper for it – is shite. I often wonder why Jameson and Bushmills have such a large market share here in the US, and while I have had the occasional good Irish whiskey – I think it’s because so much is just bad whiskey.