Here in WhiskeyTalk we feature releases from the established giants of the Irish whiskey industry, the new distillerys and also the smaller bottlers/ spirit wholesalers.
Fear Grinn is the first bottling from Whiskey Factor, which is, as it happens, one of those smaller spirit wholesalers.
Based in Dundalk, Whiskey Factor has offered this 16 Year Old Single Malt cask strength whiskey as it’s first release.
Its bottled at 57% and there are 222 bottles priced at 220 euro. It’s available directly from Whiskey Factor whose contact details are at end of this review.
It’s safe to say it’s from the Cooley Distillery and Whiskey Factor are currently planning no. 2 in a series for next year which will be based (loosely) on the current Fear Grinn theme.
George Conneally, owner of Whiskey Factor, wanted to offer something different to the market with individuality in each and every bottle.
Each bottle has a numbered swing label card with lyrics from a particular song, each bottle is hand numbered and has a mystery Chinese phrase hidden on it. In the box is a luck cent that will… You guessed it, bring you luck! He uses both ways of spelling whisk(e)y.
It’s well packaged with diecut spectacles giving you glimpse of what’s inside.
The quirky nature and fun factor is very important to George in his releases and will be feature of the series going forward.
So… Two questions
What’s it like and is it worth 220 Euro.
Let’s look at the first question
First impressions are of a quality strong well balanced whiskey. Key first notes are white pear, a strawberry desert, warm pineapple and the aroma of sun dried cut barley straw.
There is a central prominent profile that starts to come to the fore after a while which is rich autumn red fruit with cereal/digestive biscuit notes.
The wood influence on the nose is interesting, it supports the profile rather than dominating it. Subdued vanilla and fresh cut wood.
In summary key impression is quality, balanced, layered fruit nose.. good stuff
First impressions is the well balanced strength of the whiskey. The 57% certainly influences the first sip. The fruit layers that were clear on the nose now becomes a lovely compote. The quality of the cask and spirit rings out on the palate. There is a degree of elegance to the palate, maybe not super premium level elegance but good nonetheless.
FINISH 🏁 (Neat)
The finish is good with the heat and cereal notes now being the dominant features.
CHANGES WITH WATER 💧
The nose shows more white fruit to the fore, also new notes of candy apple toffee.
The Palate really benifets from added water with all the distinct notes heightened and an additional sour pear note.
The Finish is interesting with some stronger tannins and sharper wood vanilla notes
Recommend water /no water?
So… This is a good to very good whiskey for sure and I would be happy to sip this all night.
The big question is… Is it worth 220 Euro?
To answer that we need to look at both the drinkability and it’s collectability.
It’s the first in a series and is packaged well and had only 222 bottles in the run. It’s from a small ambitious new entrant and has interesting talking points.
As a collectable will it be a desirable bottle in 20 years time? Depends on what you think the key factors will be for future ratity, .. it stands beside some other recent similarly priced collectables from smaller distillerys quite well and has a quirky curiousity which appeals. I think with a second linked bottle planned that makes it more interesting.
Would I buy this purely as a drinking whiskey?… personally no, not at 220 Euro but if you do buy it as collectible and then decide, feck it I’ll drink it, (as it says on the bottle “feck the angels, this is our share”) you will not be disappointed,
It is as good as many recent releases of similar vintages and better than many.
For further detail contact George through his website Whiskey Factor ⤵️