Irish Whiskey is definitely a category we tend to overlook here at Barrel & Brew. Most of our reviews are centered around bourbon and other American whiskeys, and when we branch out, it’s usually to Scotch. Yeah, we’ve reviewed Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Bushmills, and Proper Twelve – they’re the powerhouses of Irish whiskey here in America. But what about a power house in Ireland…? That would be Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey.
While not particularly popular or widespread in the US, Powers Gold Label is continually one of the best selling whiskeys in Ireland. What do they know that we don’t? Today we’re going to find out. Is Powers Irish Whiskey good? And what does it taste like?
Powers Gold Label Overview
- Spirit: Blended Irish Whiskey
- Owned By: Pernod-Ricard
- Distilled By: Midleton Distillery
- Aged: 3+ years
- ABV: 43.2%, 86.4 proof
- Mashbill: Blend of pot still & grain whiskeys (malted and unmalted barley with other cereal grains)
- Price: $28-32
You may not of heard of Powers Whiskey, but you’ve certainly heard of the whiskeys produced by Midleton Distillery. Jameson, Redbreast, Midleton, and Spot Whiskey (Green Spot, Red Spot, etc.) are just a couple of the whiskeys they distill. As mentioned, here in the US, we may be more familiar with the likes of Jameson and Redbreast, but Powers is one of the best selling whiskeys in Ireland.
Powers is a blend of pot still and grain whiskeys. Irish Pot Still whiskey is made from malted and unmalted barley, and it’s distilled in a pot. This is different from grain whiskey (malted and unmalted barley with other cereal grains) in that grain whiskey is generally made from a collumn still.
Pot stills make different batches of distillate. The whiskey is distilled, emptied, and then a new batch comes in to be distilled. On the other hand, collumn stills continually operate. Pot stills allow for more character, flavor, and variation. Collumn stills produce a more consistent spirit in a cheaper and more convenient fashion.
Powers Irish Whiskey generally costs right around the $30 price point. It used to be much cheaper, but it’s also up from 80 proof to 86.4 proof. On top of that, what isn’t a little more expensive now than previously.
Powers Gold Label Tasting Notes
Let’s cut to the chase. Is Powers Irish Whiskey good? Time to pour myself a dram and find out!
Nose: Honey, cereal, and a little fishy. Maybe more than a little, too. The smell reminds me of going fishing. Not the same smell as an Islay scotch, but slightly reminiscent. Green apple pairs with the honey and the more it sits, the more it begins to smell like a Lorna Doone shortbread.
Palate: Well rounded, Pleasant mouthfeel. Apples and pears, shortbread, some oats and hay. The fish was getting on the nose is almost non-existent. A touch of spice and wood comes in at the end. The mouthfeel was fantastic except for a split second with the wood and spice. A touch of sharpness appears, but nothing egregious.
Finish: The spice and wood transfer over to the finish. As the spice disappears, apple and honey take it’s place. The wood sticks around. The finish is medium in length, and enjoyable.
Is Powers Irish Whiskey Good?
I thought I was going to hate this based on the nose. Perhaps it’s not a fishy smell at all and my brain was just going through some nostalgia and bringing back fishing memories. I asked some other people and read other reviews, and no one else seemed to think so. I think it’s a wet wood and alcohol combo that’s giving me the fishy aroma.
Regardless, I was pleasntly surprised by Powers Gold Label. It has a buttery mouthfeel, it’s well rounded, easy to drink, all while maintaining a good amount of flavor and richness for an 86.4 proof whiskey.
I’ll be back to try this again tomorrow morning and see if I taste anything different.
Trying it a second time, it’s not as fishy on the nose. I’m definitely getting a richer and sweeter honey, more fruit, and still the Lorna Doone shortbreads.
Powers Gold Label is a good Irish whiskey. I like it better than Jameson, but it’s also ~$7 more expensive. Jameson Black Barrel or Bushmills Black Bush might be my go-to for a couple bucks more.
I originally thought Powers had a very fishy aroma to it, but that may have just been nostalgia/my brain playing some tricks on me. The nose still isn’t my favorite, but it’s not as bad as I orginally thought.
Regardless, you really can’t go wrong with Powers Gold Label. It’s got some richness to it, and a wonderful mouthfeel for a blended Irish whiskey under $30 (listed at $27.99 at my local Total Wine, although I got a shooter for $0.99).
It won’t knock your socks off, but if you’re wanting to try a nice, budget friendly Irish whiskey, Powers Gold Label isn’t a bad place to start. Cheers!