With St Patrick’s Day fast approaching, it’s time for another wee drop of something Irish – in the form of Powers Three Swallow Release.
Powers is an iconic name in the whiskey world having been around since 1791. This particular release, however, has only been around since last year and is marketed by Irish Distillers as “the 21st century embodiment of the traditional pure Pot Still whiskey style.”
This revival in the traditional old Powers style is aptly named Three Swallow. Why you ask? Well, because traditionally Powers used two or three swallows to signify the quality of their pot still whiskey to consumers.
Three Swallow is triple distilled, non chill filtered and has been matured primarily in American Bourbon barrels, with the subtle inclusion of whiskey matured Oloroso Sherry casks.
APPEARANCE: Light caramel.
NOSE: The sherry sweetness really comes through initially, along with dried spiced fruit and apple. There is a woody aroma in there too and out of somewhere in the midst of it all comes what I can only describe as a cream soda fizz, along with a hint of mashed banana. After a few swirls around the Glencairn, a big Bourbon note pokes through, though it settles again as the dram stills.
PALATE: Fruity sherry trifle, candy, toffee apple, candy floss, smooth cream soda. This brings back childhood memories of being at the fun fair! Along with the citrus element comes molasses and dark syrup, while the gentle heat gives off a hint of nutmeg. It is sweet and creamy on the tongue, reminiscent of melted ice cream and fruit with a wee drizzle of syrup.
OVERALL: This is a lovely whiskey. It has character and depth with a wonderful range of aromas and complementary flavours. If your palate is anything like mine, you won’t need three swallows to recognise the quality of this stuff – and three swallows will not be enough thereafter!
PC RATING: 88/100 (B+)
Official tasting notes, taken from the Powers website:
Powers Three Swallow Release is the 21st century embodiment of the traditional pure Pot Still whiskey style which made Powers famous around the world. Three Swallow features all the singular characteristics of traditional Irish Pot Still whiskey – robust, spicy and powerful. It is matured primarily in American bourbon barrels where these characteristics are amplified and complemented with strong wood character. Marrying with a small sherry aged component gives Powers Three Swallow Release balance and finesse.
Nose: Pot Still spice combines with crisp barley character. Delicate herbs give way to green banana and grapefruit while a nutty note of marzipan reflects the wood contribution of specially selected casks.
Taste: In true Pot Still style, an initial taste delivers smooth mouth-coating barley followed by an eruption of green apple and citrus notes. Herbs and spicy flavour are complemented by a touch of cedar wood for extra complexity.
Finish: Spicy sweetness gives way to Pot Still barley character balanced with a hint of sherry and leading to a crisp cereal finish with toasted oak notes.
SAMPLE SOURCE: My own collection.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a whiskey expert, just a guy who loves whiskey and writing about it from a completely personal point of view. All opinions expressed are mine and the only influence on what rating I give comes purely from what I think of what’s in the bottle.