Blacks – Black Ops

This week gone by I got a message from John in Irish Malts letting me know that a new whiskey was on the way. I immediately jumped at the chance of buying a bottle pre release so that I could try it, especially when its from a Cork supplier! The whiskey in question is from Blacks Brewery and distillery in Kinsale and is their second release of sourced stock called, Blacks Black Ops.

Founded in 2013 by Sam and Maudeline Black, Blacks Brewery begun with brewing Beer after Maudeline gave Sam a home brewing kit which later turned into an obsession. This obsession lead to the founding of the brewery and their motto, “Living the dream since 2013”. In 2015 the brewery added a distillery to produce a range of spirits including Rum and Gin. As they continue to develop, Blacks will begin whiskey production in 2020 but until then, they source their whiskey from several suppliers. Refreshingly, they state this on the bottle!

The latest release, Black Ops, is a blend of several whiskeys including Bourbon and Sherry casks which are then finished in extra deep charred bourbon oak casks. It is bottled at 43% but, unfortunately, it does NOT state that it is natural colour. It’s very dark so I assume there is e150a caramel colouring in it. Here are my notes;

Nose – Herbal note hits me straight away. Almost a touch of juniper to it. Malt heavy but with some floral notes too. A most unusual nose that even has a whisp of peat smoke.

Palate – Slightly oily mouth feel with malt again, some vanilla and a sweet nuttiness from the sherry cask. Slight touch of mint and even some salty sea grass. A lot happening from different tasting spectrums!

Finish – Medium. Cut saved hay springs to mind with floral notes returning right at the end.

Overall – A most unusual whiskey and while I’d consider it somewhat unbalanced, with flavours very much left of field, it intrigues my palate. There is literally so much going on that I just kept going back and finding something new and completely different. It scrambled my palate for a bit if I’m honest! Bit pricey at €45 a bottle but its worth a punt to experience it. It is available from IrishMalts here and as a special promotion to launch Black Ops, Irish Malts have an offer where by customers purchasing 2 bottles of Black Ops whiskey will also receive 2 cans of the latest Blacks Brewery Beer, the limited edition OG Kush.


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