The “Big Guy” used to be, not sure if it is still is, the promotional moniker for the Michael Collins brand of Irish whiskey. It was a little corny, so I hope it went away along with the big ugly bottles they used to have. Michael Collins is distilled in the last independent Irish owned distillery – Cooley. We did a review of a single cask Cooley last week.
My first run in with Michael Collins was far from impressive. My buddy who runs a restaurant with a full bar brought over a 1L bottle of the Michael Collins blend that he was given as a “kick back” by his liquor distributor. Free booze – who can complain right? Well several months later with a 90% full bottle taking up space in my cabinet, I was complaining. I couldn’t give it away and I certainly wasn’t drinking any more of it. It just didn’t fit into my drinking rotation. I’d prefer something more interesting and flavorful if I wanted a whisk(e)y and I would rather grab an easy drinking beer if I wanted something less challenging to relax with. Tragically I think I ended up throwing the bottle out when I moved out of that house.
But several years later I found myself picking up another bottle of the Big Guy – this time the 10 year old lightly peated single malt expression. I decided to give Michael Collins another try, rationalizing that the blend I had before was not representative of his whole body of work. Luckily it was a vast improvement over the blend in my opinion.
Michael Collins 10 Year Old Lightly Peated ~$40
Double Distilled 40%ABV
Color: Medium amber
Nose: A subtle peat, grassy, doughy, soft “feel”, apple juice, over ripe yellow pears, hints of herbs, something oddly synthetic: band-aids or play-doh?
Palate: Oak char, subtle sweetness and peat, very smooth, somewhat thin though, spices and apples
Finish: Short, spice and malt
Comments: It does a great job of balancing the peat and the sweetness of the spirit. I found myself using “subtle” to describe this whiskey a lot and I guess that is how to best sum it up – subtle, but nicely balanced and integrated. – Chris