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About a month ago a friend sent me a few samples and one of them was the one I’m tasting tonight, The Liberator.

My first thought upon opening the sample is that this is a typical Irish whiskey and it feels very familiar and homey to me. The Liberator brings me straight back to Dublin, and makes me feel like I am enjoying life in my favorite bar, The Dingle Whiskey Bar at Nassau St. I guess it is the immediate woody note that brings back the memories and the smell of the cask staves making up the entrance and the bar itself. If it is because of all the Irish whiskey I have had there, or if it is just the ambiance in the bar, I honestly don’t know and I can not help but smile.

The most prominent note I am picking up on when nosing The Liberator for the first time is more on the drier side, immediately reminding me of red wine. I am guessing this is the wood note. Behind it comes the sweeter malt, slowly followed by the even sweeter, more cozy and fruity note of the port influence. I am also getting a hint of resin, and far, far behind it all, a very light and equally pleasant scent of honeydew melon. This is a whiskey that keeps evolving in the glass, making it quite hard to describe. After having had the first sip I am also getting burnt sugar, cherries, and some red fruits on the nose, and after about half an hour later the vanilla comes through like a punch in the face.

On to the tasting notes! This is a spicy bugger, almost to the extent that I am unwillingly frowning a little. I am getting those slightly bitter notes from the wood, rich caramel or butterscotch, brown sugar, coffee, plum compote, vanilla, strawberries, red fruits, and honey, with spice sprinkled throughout the experience. Personally I kind of wish it would have been a little bit sweeter, as the sweetness might have been able to balance out the bitter notes I get throughout the whiskey. And also because I tend to prefer the sweeter ones. That being said, it is by all means not a bad whiskey.

I must admit that I am a little disappointed in the finish. It is quite short, and I find myself wishing that it would have been a bit more oily, mouth-coating, a little richer. It still leaves a very nice taste of dark fruits with a hint of pencil shavings lingering on my tongue for a little while.

Tawny Port Finish
Non-chill filtered and no added color
ABV: 46 %
Country: Ireland

The Liberator is the inaugural release from Wayward Irish Spirits (based in Kerry), which will be distilling their own whiskey from 2024. 685 bottles were released while they wait for their Lakeview Estate Pot Still Whiskey to mature, and is a triple distilled malt whiskey matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels before finished in tawny port casks.

https://www.waywardirish.com/