Irish brand Writers’ Tears, produced by Walsh Whiskey, has unveiled its first single pot still expression. We take a look at the new bottling and spill the story of the dedicated whiskey-making couple behind the liquid.
Husband-and-wife whiskey-making team Bernard and Rosemary Walsh grew up on family farms in Ireland. They chose to remain close to their agricultural upbringings while pursuing their shared quest to produce the perfect drop, or taoscán (dram), of Irish whiskey.
The duo’s quest began in earnest in 1999 with the establishment of Walsh Whiskey, which gave birth to their ‘whiskey babies’ – super-premium ranges The Irishman and Writers' Tears.
In the two decades since then, living in the barley basket of Ireland, they have produced no less than 21 triple-distilled expressions under their two brands. The Irishman is led by rich single malts, while Writers’ Tears produces blends driven by single pot still components.
Their whiskeys encompass rediscovered 19th-century blends and acclaimed single malts, with finishes including such rare influences as Marsala, mizunara, peated red ale and seaweed.
The one significant missing link in Walsh Whiskey’s rich portfolio has been a pure single pot still expression, but that is all set to change.
The journey to a pure single pot still whiskey
Bernard sources whiskeys made to his exacting specifications. He then augments the spirits through blending and finishing, honouring old styles and creating new ones in the process.
In so doing, he has become a leader in the renaissance period of Irish whiskey’s second coming, which began in the early 2000s. Bernard’s resurrection of old recipes saw the rediscovery of the ‘Champagne blend’ of Irish whiskey – a marriage of single pot still and single malt whiskeys popular in the 19th century.
The first to market was the single malt-led expression The Irishman – Founder’s Reserve, followed by the pot still-forward Writers’ Tears – Copper Pot. Both whiskeys are the cornerstones of Walsh Whiskey’s portfolios. They have received widespread critical acclaim and are sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.
“We are in the enviable position of having two well-established whiskey brands, which allow us to bring a clear focus to both the single pot still and single malt premium styles of Irish whiskey. We build on our two distinct propositions through innovation, using the rarest elements and combinations imaginable in order to enhance our offerings under both the Writers’ Tears and The Irishman labels,” Bernard explains.
In keeping with that commitment to innovation they have created their first single pot still whiskey, Writers’ Tears – Single Pot Still, which is matured in a rare combination of Bourbon, PX Sherry and Florio Marsala casks.
“Writers’ Tears has always been about pot still, and thus far we focused almost exclusively on introducing and bedding-in that signature blend (pot still-led) to an enthusiastic following mainly in Europe and North America. We believe that the Writers’ Tears name and following is now well enough established for us to go deeper into its pot still DNA by releasing a 100% pure single pot still expression.”
‘A classic pot still combination’
Bernard treats distillate spirit similar to a painter’s canvas, with the scope to ‘layer up’ flavours to achieve the calibre of finish his whiskeys are internationally renowned for.
“On this occasion we are majoring on a classic pot still whiskey and pairing it with American Bourbon barrels, Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks from Spain, and Florio Marsala hogsheads from Sicily. We have cut it at a juicy 46% ABV," says Bernard.
Thanks to Bernard’s discerning choices, the whiskey’s nose delivers candied sweetness and toffee apples, while the palate features notes of pot still spice and the velvet, dessert-like qualities of PX Sherry, finishing with a light chewiness.
“The complexities resulting from the marriage of spicy single pot still whiskey with Bourbon, sweet PX and Marsala casks are a feast for the senses. This special expression is in keeping with Walsh Whiskey’s innovative approach to whiskey origination which includes pushing the boundaries on single pot still. I am very proud of this whiskey, our first single pot still expression, and excited to bring a new core whiskey to the Writers’ Tears family that will become available to more and more of our followers in over 50 countries worldwide over time.”
In October, some 5,800 bottles of Writers’ Tears – Single Pot Still will be made available to Ireland, the UK, France, Germany and Holland, retailing for €59.99/£49 (US$67.51).
The new expression will reach the US when a second larger release becomes available in 2022.
Bernard and Rosemary Walsh plan to extend their super-premium Irish whiskey offering, thus increasing the supply of exceptional bottlings available to their growing number of loyal patrons.
Writers’ Tears – Single Pot Still is Walsh Whiskey’s 22nd expression in 22 years. Walsh Whiskey will continue to build carefully in a way that honours the super-premium positioning of its portfolios, which Bernard believes is key to the future success of the Irish whiskey category. Writers’ Tears – Single Pot Still is set to be another strong step forward in the producer's quest for the perfect drop of whiskey.