Celtic Cask Cuig Deag is another fantastic indie creation, made using sourced whiskey, by the folks at the Celtic Whiskey Shop. For this, their 15th creation, they sourced some whiskey from an undisclosed location. Though like with the Celtic Cask Ceathair Deag they left us enough clues to figure out where it came from.
In Celtic Whiskey Shop’s Words: Celtic Cask Cuig Deag
“Celtic Cask Cuig Deag is our fifteenth special release and is another great example of a perfectly matured Irish whiskey. We sourced some unique whiskey that had been matured in a bourbon cask for 22 years. It came from a very well known distillery on the island of Ireland, but we cannot divulge any more than that!
The whiskey was then transferred into a specially sourced port pipe from one of Portugal’s finest wine makers, Quinta do Noval. A further maturation period of over two years gave this richly flavoured whiskey an extra dimension. This is one of our all time favourite Irish whiskeys and is something we are incredibly proud of. “
Calling it a “very well known distillery” all but narrows it down to Bushmills and Jameson as even when Cooley was the only other distillery on the Island it wasn’t as well known or nearly the household name as either of those two giants. What makes me think that the Celtic Cask Cuig Deag is Bushmills is what’s listed for the malt type.
On the site, linked below, they mention that the Celtic Cask Cuig Deag “made with crystal malt” which is the same thing the Bushmills 1608 is made with. There’s no real reason to call that out unless it’s a clue and for whiskey nerds it’s a pretty big one. The lightly peated nature of this whiskey initially threw me bit and made me think Cooley, but then I remembered that in 1987 Michael Jackson had written about Bushmills using both an unpeated and a lightly peated malt making this a very unique cask.
Two other things that conveniently point to Bushmills is that they have a large and ready supply of 20+ year single malt (not Single Pot Still) and they have a supply of port pipes. The Bushmills 16 is finished in port pipes so they’d have them on hand to finish this whiskey for the Celtic Whiskey Shop. That’s a lot of coincidences for it to not be Bushmills, but in the end origin is less important than performance so let’s get on with the Celtic Cask Cuig Deag review!
Celtic Cask Cuig Deag Info
Distiller: Undisclosed (likely Bushmills)
Bottler: Celtic Whiskey Shop
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon (22 yrs) & ex-Quinta do Noval Port Pipe (2 years)
Age: 24 Years (1991 – 2016)
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Price: NA – Auction, Specialty Store or Private Seller ($267 when available)
Celtic Cask Cuig Deag Review
Deep bronze with a slight reddish hue
Phenolic smoke, iodine, fruit, hazelnut, nutmeg, brown sugar and light touches of saline, caramel and fresh cut grass. Elegant is the word that comes to mind.
Smoke, plums, apricots, roasted chestnuts, clove, nutmeg, maple oatmeal, ashy char and a light touch of caramelized fruit. That elegance of the aroma follows through on the palate.
Long finish of spice, dark fruit gummies, malty sweetness and brown sugar.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great sense of balance, full round body and a syrupy slick feel.
The Celtic Cask Cuig Deag is a satisfying whiskey. The aroma is equally fresh and dark and the palate is an deeply interesting swirling vortex of flavors. The smoke, while not very heavy, is so unexpected and noticeable that it was the first note I focused on every time I sipped or sniffed this whiskey. That phenolic character alone is unique, but when combined with everything else it creates a whiskey that is endlessly fascinating.
It doesn’t quite have that “wow factor” for me that would bump it up to an A, but it’s definitely one of those whiskeys that I could go back over and over and never get bored of. The Celtic Cask Cuig Deag is one of those whiskey that is both unusual and well crafted, especially for its category, that you can’t help but love it.
SCORE: 92/100 (A-)
Big thanks to Alex for theCeltic Cask Cuig Deag sample!