Vita Dulcis 21 – Ireland’s Hyde No 5 Burgandy Cask 46%

The Irish whisky industry is going through a resurgence with a combination of new distilleries and brands – some with distilleries ‘to be’. Hyde describes their approach as:

At HYDE, we carefully hand select only the very finest Irish whiskey, made by only the very best Irish whiskey distilleries, which we then finish in vintage oak casks which we source directly from distilleries and bodegas around the world.

I had the pleasure of meeting a couple gents from Hyde back in 2017 during an exploratory trip to Mumbai. They kindly sent a bottle of their No 6 – back in the day when it was possible to ship liquor from other parts of the world to India. I also had an opportunity to briefly sample this expression No 5 in a special speed tasting experiment.

I was curious to see how that quick memory from three years ago compared with the miniature in the Vita Dulcis 2020 Advent Calendar.

Ireland – Hyde No 5 “The Aras” Burgundy Cask Finish 46% – Single Grain Whiskey

  • Nose – Initially a touch sharp with spice, then a bit of vanilla and faint fruits
  • Palate – Starts a bit spice, roasted wood, apples
  • Finish – Again – quite spicy

i checked my notes from my previous ‘speed taste’ – was quite similar. In both cases, there was nothing that really stood out and the burgundy influence was hardly discernible.

What do the Hyde folks have to say about this expression?

Hyde No.5 is a triple distilled, Single grain, Irish whiskey from one single distillery location. Originally distilled in a traditional “Coffey” Copper Column still from pure Corn / maize grain.

Matured for a minimum of 6 years in flame charred, first fill, ex-bourbon casks from Kentucky in the U.S.A. before being ‘finished’ for a further 6 months in vintage BURGUNDY French red wine casks.

These Pinot Noir red wine casks come from the BURGUNDY region of France from the Côte d’Or vineyards near Dijon, France.

What about the Hyde team’s official tasting notes?

  • Nose : Spiced with notes of red berry fruit, vanilla, and toasted oak.
  • Taste : A creamy nutty palette entry with notes of sweet custard, apple peel, red berries and orange blossom honey.
  • Finish : A nice long satisfying finish of plum, jam and spice ending with a silky combination of oak and barley

As for my earlier encounters with Hyde? Just the two:

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Speed Tasting – Hyde No 5 Burgandy Finish 46%

Last month, we had a remarkable experience “Speed Tasting” experience and rated five different drams in just 15 minutes, giving us just a few minutes each. No discussion, just a solo activity recording our numerical assessment of aroma, palate, finish, character & complexity….

Photo: Keshav Prakash

What were my hasty impressions?

Hyde No 5 The Aras Cask 6 year old Single Grain 1860 Burgandy Finish 46%

  • Nose – For the 1st dram, came across as slightly astringent, then smoke or roasted wood, softening into sweet fruits
  • Palate – Spice, clean, fruity
  • Finish – Very spicy finish, holds but not complex
  • Character & Complexity – While not complex, it had a few interesting elements and not a bad way to start the set

The next part of our “Speeding Tasting” was a quick discussion. For one, this was his favourite of the five. Another called it a bit of a ‘dessert’  whisky.

Then the reveal… it wasn’t specifically pegged as Irish or having a Burgundy cask finish. So was clearly a surprise!

What else do we know about this whisky? Well… this instagram from Hyde provides some ideas…

Hyde Instragram

Like all the whiskies we zipped through, I’m quite confident more would be revealed with a different approach but it was a great way to quickly crystallize a few impressions in three minutes or less!

The focus on rating the whisky is something I’m inherently averse to doing and honestly lost time dithering about translating what my senses were saying into numbers! So didn’t have time to come back and revisit for a more rounded impression.

What were the other whiskies “Speed Tasted“?

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