Dingle – Lá ‘Le Bríde

On the first day of February the Irish celebrate the festival of Imbolg – or Lá ‘Le Bríde – named after St. Brigid, Ireland’s patroness saint. The day marks the start of early spring and it’s celebrated as a time to look forward to brighter days, warmer weather, new growth on the lands, and the birth of farm animals. With their Wheel of the Year collection, Dingle will create 8 whiskies that celebrate the most important Celtic Festivals. They will also create one bonus whiskey about the Wren, the mascot of Dingle Distillery, making the span of the collection 9 unique whiskies. After their initial release representing Samhain, the Dingle Lá ‘Le Bríde marks the second entry of the collection.

Fun Fact:

The cross you see represented on the bottle is called the St. Brigid’s Cross. During the festival of Lá ‘Le Bríde it’s customary to hang the crosses by the door and/or in the rafters of your home to protect the house from fire and evil. A new cross is made each St. Brigid’s Day, when the old one is burned to keep fire from the house. The cross has become the symbol of Lá ‘Le Bríde.

One of my personal favourite stories about St. Brigid is the tale of her cloak. When St. Brigid went to the King of Leinster to ask for land to build a convent, the King laughed at her and bluntly told her no. But with the blessing of God behind her, St. Brigid devised a plan. She asked the King if she could have as much land as her cloak would cover and seeing how small her cloak was the King agreed. But then St. Brigid asked four of her friends to each hold a corner of her cloak and walk in opposite directions. The cloak grew immediately and started to envelop many acres of land. Seeing this, the King realised St. Brigid was blessed by God and the event eventually led him to convert himself.

This event marked just one of the many wonders St. Brigid performed for the people of Ireland. But the reason I like this story so much is because it seems so fitting to the whiskey on hand. Just like the all-enveloping cloak of St. Brigid, this dram seems to hold a complexity that keeps on growing, until it envelops your entire palate. And it’s a whisky of which I believe it holds the power to convert many people to whiskey enthusiast. So, let us toast to St. Brigid, to Spring, and to new beginnings, with this dram made in her name!

Tasting Notes: Dingle – Lá ‘Le Bríde
Stats:

ABV: 50,5% (101 proof)

Age: NAS

Casks: Matured in Bourbon casks with a Rye cask finish.

Distillery: Dingle Distillery

Owned by: Porterhouse Group

Category: Irish Single Malt Whiskey

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

It’s the nose of this dram that immediately convinced me to include it in the Spring Edition of my Explorers Pack. It’s bright, fresh, and floral, all at the same time. Like picking up the scent of blooming crocuses, as their colourful heads peak above the late winter snow. The Rye finish is subtle and provides a scent of freshly kneaded bread. I’m finding strawberries and white wine on the nose as well, and it all adds up to a wonderfully complex dram. A whiskey you won’t soon tire of exploring.

Palate:

The palate surprises you with a much creamier mouthfeel than the nose might have led you to expect. And that cream finds its way back into the flavours as well. I’m getting a lovely strawberry cream note, with perhaps just a hint of raspberry. There’s also a little hazelnut in there, with a hint of milk chocolate. And besides nutty and fruity, it’s herbal too. With some fennel, rosemary and thyme all coming through. And lastly there’s that bread note from the nose, shining through into the palate. Reminiscent of eating half baked stick-bread that you tried baking above the campfire as a child.

Finish:

The finish is pleasant, yet it doesn’t stick around for as long as I might have wanted it to. It’s only a medium length and with the tastes it has to offer that’s rather a shame. The chocolate note turns from milk to dark, while the fruit notes slowly turn from strawberries to apple. The bread note that one might consider the star of this dram is still there but plays second fiddle this time around. You must pay attention to still recognise it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the finish of this Dingle, in fact it’s a beautiful decrescendo of the flavours found on the palate. It’s just one I wouldn’t have minded enjoying a little bit longer.

Verdict:

The artisan workers of Dingle have done it yet again with the Lá ‘Le Bríde release from their Wheel of The Year collection. Having tried the Samhain before, I’ve fallen head over heels with this series of limited releases. Dingle translates the folklore stories of Ireland into drams that fit the picture beautifully, and it makes the line-up a great incentive to learn more about history. And the storytelling that goes along with these drams begs for a glass of whisky in my hand. In my humble opinion, this whiskey is a thing of beauty. But remember, flavours are very personal and this dram might not be for everyone! But for those who appreciate a lighter style of whiskey the Dingle Lá ‘Le Bríde will prove an absolute treat.

Rating:

92/100

Don’t just take my word for it!

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