Review: Glendalough Mizunara 7

Another week, another “From the Shelves” review! And this week it’s time for the Glendalough Mizunara, the 7-year-old expression to be precise. Glendalough also makes a 17-year-old Mizunara expression, which we also sell at Café Zilt. But we’ll save that review for another day!

Let’s talk a bit about the cask that was used: Mizunara means “water oak” because it holds a lot of moisture, but it’s notoriously hard to work with as it’s both a very porous type of oak and it has a lot of knots. The latter meaning that it’s hard to cut staves from a Mizunara Oak (or Quercus Crispula) tree.

At the moment there’s a lot of buzz around Mizunara oak, despite the fact that it’s hard to work with. Despite the high angel share and the cost of these casks, they’re heralded for the beautifully balanced  and delicate (almost perfumy) notes they can give to a whisky. The fact that it adds such delicate features to a dram means it’s best suited to Japanese and Irish whisky styles (in my own humble opinion). And thus the combination with this Triple Distilled Irish Single Malt ought to be a treat!

These “From the Shelves” reviews will be posted on my own blog and on the blog from Café Zilt, but aside from that cooperation I get no compensation for my blogs and my reviews will always remain independent and unbiased.

Tasting Notes: Glendalough Mizunara 7

ABV: 46% (92 proof)

Age: 7 years old

Distillery: Glendalough Distillery

Category: Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: No

Eating crisp apples on a flowery meadow. As I said before, I personally think that Irish and Japanese whiskies are best suited for a Mizunara casks. As they are usually delicate enough to allow the cask influence to take centre stage. It certainly does so here, with those perfumy notes the Mizunara is famous for clearly shining through. Next to the apples and shortbread cookies (which I credit to the Irish Whiskey) I’m finding rose petals, hibiscus, lilies of the valley and just a hint of pine resin. Sticking your nose in this glass is very much like entering the perfume section of a high-class department store.

Jalapeño poppers filled with cream cheese. So far, the spirit was just as one might expect. But the palate of this dram is where I was most pleasantly surprised. There’s still some soapy/perfumy qualities on the palate, as one might have expected from the nose, but it packs a punch at the same time! I’m getting peppery notes most reminiscent of the aforementioned Jalapeño but mixed with a creamy mouthfeel and delicious herbal notes such as thyme and chives. Complex, balanced, and above all very interesting and unique.

The finish is rather short, which is a bit a shame if you ask me. I would have loved to explore those notes from the palate a bit further in the finish. When paying close attention, you’ll find some cereal and apple notes lingering. But other than that, it’s not a dram that you’ll savour long after the last sip.

I often recommend this whisky because I think it’s an excellent example of the influence of a Mizunara cask. This is a whisky that let’s those floral (almost perfumy) notes from the cask shine and I appreciate it highly for that. It’s also very much unlike any other dram on our shelves (with perhaps the exception of the 17-year-old Mizunara Glendalough) and I love what a unique whisky experience this dram can provide.

Because of the scarcity of these casks, Mizunara whiskies are usually very expensive. But this 7 year old Glendalough is very affordable and priced far below other Mizunara expressions (with the exception of the Dewar’s Japanese Smooth).


B+ (the + because of the scarcity of Mizunara casks)

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