Sunday 27 March 2022

Old Master Spirits' 1970 51yo Maison Tribot Grande Champagne Cognac [Tasted #565]

I wrote back in August last year about new Australian independent bottler Old Master Spirits, founded by two whisky lovers focusing on bottling well-aged, unadulterated Cognac, highlighting smaller maisons and with a mission to:
"...find very old cognac exclusively for Australia, to bottle it in its raw form and save it from going to one of the big brand blenders such as Hennessy who would blend this with younger cognac, filter it, add wood flavouring and sugars and water it down to 40%"
At the time I tasted both their 63yo 1957 & 36yo 1984 Cognac and hugely enjoyed them both, so when co-founder Deni reached out and asked if I'd like to try their next release, a 51yo Grande Champagne Cognac from 1970, I wasn't about to say no...

The Cognac this time comes from Maison Tribot, in the heart of the Cognac region, Grande Champagne. Distilled in a traditional pot still by Fourth generation distiller Jean Michel Tribot, the spirit spent 51 years in French Oak in the maison's ancestral stone-walled cellar, and was the oldest stock from their cellar. 

With an ABV of 50.3%, no additives and full maturation in Oak (which might seem obvious, but this isn't the case for all old Cognac) this is clearly an "spirit enthusiast's" I was excited to dive into.

Old Master Spirits 1970 Grande Champagne Cognac Maison Tribot V.70 A.51 (50.3% ABV, 51yo, 1 of 120 (500mL) bottles, France, $365AUD (available early May 2022))
Colour: Rich firey amber.

Nose: Right up there's some instant fruitiness - mango, rockmelon and sweet orange, but there's also some menthol and mint, and after some time, the orange turns more to orange zest / marmalade. So far, so good!

Palate: Follows the nose well - but with more pineapple, papaya, rockmelon and peach. There's some gooey sweet caramel too, which plays in nicely with the fruitiness. Delicious.

Finish: Some black tea, but with none of the astringency you might expect after 51 years in oak. Slight oak hints, along with mango and barbecued pineapple.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Extremely well-balanced, and delicious as well. Another absolute winner from Old Master Spirits.

Maison Tribot (label inspiration)

Old Master Spirits 1970 Maison Tribot 51 year old Cognac will launch in the first week of May 2022 at RRP of $365 through Mailing list subscribers will have an opportunity for early access by subscribing at


Thursday 10 March 2022

St Pat's Day Whiskies - Tullamore, The Whistler (PX I Love You), The Dubliner, Slane [Tasted: #562 - #564]

St Pat's Day on March 17 has always seen a global celebration of all things Irish and this year is no different. As we all emerge from our prolonged hibernation, we may be wondering what's the best way to celebrate St Pat's Day. Perhaps we might need to re-kindle ourselves with traditional Irish beverages  - Irish whiskies, beers or ciders.

Of the three, the choice is clear for us. Without a doubt, our pick would be Irish whiskies.

To showcase the goodness of Irish Whiskies ahead of St Pat's Day, we joined William Lavelle from the Irish Whiskey Association, Rosie Keane, the Irish Consul-General to Sydney and a number of Irish Whiskey Distillery Reps to explore four Irish Whiskies as part of the Discover (Irish) Whiskies campaign.

To kick off the session, we were (virtually) serenaded by Dan Elliott, an Irish singer-songwriter from Cork, Ireland who had managed to welcome us to the session. He did so rather well, given no whiskies had been drunk at that time and clearly not by Dan as it was pre-breakfast for him.

An interesting fact that was shared at the start of the session was the fact that Irish Whiskies are now growing significantly globally. It was also not lost to me that the session started with William sharing reminding us that Ireland is in fact where whiskey distilling first started and where whiskey got its name. Here we are in 2022 and Irish whiskies continue to be one of the world's fastest-growing categories with significant growth in both emerging markets such as Africa and other mature markets.

As with most Irish whiskies, they are traditionally distilled three times. A distillation process designed to isolate and remove the esters and other impurities. Also, similar to the Scotch, all Irish whiskey is, by law, matured for at least three years, though there are now various methods used by distillers to mature their whiskies. The Whistler (PX I Love You), for example, is initially matured in ex-bourbon casks but finished in ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks for 9 months. Compare this to Slane, where after distillation, Slane matures their whiskies in 3 different barrels - virgin oak, seasoned Tennessee whiskey and Oloroso sherry before being blended.

The four Irish whiskies that we explored in the Discover (Irish) Whiskies session were Tullamore D.E.W, The Whistler (PX I Love You), The Dubliner and Slane.

Tullamore D.E.W (The Original)

Tullamore D.E.W just broke 18 million bottles last year, this follows the return of distillation back home in 2014. A tripled distilled and triple blended (single malt, single grain, single pot still) whisky, the original Tullamore D.E.W (DEW) is very fresh, grassy and clean. The palate is light to medium bodied with hints of apple and citrus on the palate and finish. It is quite light and fresh, an outcome of the triple distillation.

The Dubliner Bourbon Cask (40%, Dublin, IrelandA$47.95) 

The Dubliner distillery was opened in 2018 and is led by ex-Bushmills Master Distiller Daryl McNally. Their whiskies include the original Dubliner 10-Year-Old single malt, Whiskey & Honeycomb liqueur and a couple of beer cask matured whiskies.

There were actually two Dubliners we explored; the Bourbon Cask and a Whiskey & Honeycomb liqueur. I will go into the Bourbon Cask. 

Nose: The nose is light and crisp, there are apple and pear notes.

Palate: The palate is quite peppery at first but slowly opens up to the vanilla, honey and caramel notes. 

Finish: The finish is full of tannin but there are remnants of honey that is left behind.

Rating: 89/100 

Slane (40%, Boyne Valley, IrelandA$54.95) 

Slane Distillery was established by the Conyngham family, a family that is famously connected to the Slane Castle, located by the river Boyne. Brown Forman took over the Slane Distillery project in 2015 before ramping up production in 2018. It initially became popular in America but is now found widely abroad. 

NoseThe nose is light, smooth and creamy. There are apple, cereal and grain notes.

PalateThe palate is elegant, composed. There is vanilla and fudge on the palate with some pistachio in between. There is some heat but it is very much restrained.

Finish: Light, enjoyable and invites you to take another sip.

Rating: 90/100 

The Whistler "PX I Love You Single Malt Irish Whiskey" (46%, Boyne Valley, IrelandA$89.99) 


The Whistler P.X. I Love You Single Malt was one of the highlights of the four whiskies in the session. 

The distillery name is aptly named after Peter Cooney, not so much Peter himself but the notion of the whistling antic that Peter would do at the distillery. Peter Cooney, the co-founder and export director of Boann - the company that owns The Whistler would walk around the distillery all day - whistling. 

This particular bottling that we explored is a single malt Irish whiskey that is initially matured in ex-bourbon casks before being finished in ex-PX sherry casks for 9 months. The PX sherry and the influence this fortified wine’s casks had on the single malt Irish whiskey was excellent. The finishing in PX casks has given this particular whiskey, a lot of sherry influence. 

NoseThe sherry-cask finishing comes immediately to the nose. Lots of sweet cranberries, dried fruit, currants, citrus and port-like nose.

PalateThe palate is less sweet than the nose yet still quite fruity. There are dates, cranberries, and lots of vanilla coating the mouth and there is nuttiness and citrus as it lingers on.

Finish: The finish is relatively long and leaves a good drying heat.

Rating: 92/100 

As part of the Discover (Irish) Whiskies campaign, there are a number of articles that have been published- all centred around Irish Whiskies including a food pairing guide and Irish whiskey cocktails recipes. You can find those articles and guides here, Irish Whiskey - Depth and Diversity:



Thanks to the Irish Whiskey Association for having us as part of this campaign.