- Caramel; spicy honey
- Honey, vanilla, spice
- Pretty smooth, lingering spice
Occassionally, when I’m feeling nostaligic, I’ll order a shot or small snifter of Irish Mist, and toast old friends who currently do not have the pleasure of being in my company. A dear friend introduced me to Irish Mist fifteen years ago, and it was a wonderful companion to the dark stouts we drank together. I’ve always had Irish Mist at a public house and was unaware that distributors had updated the old iconic bottle. When I finally went to purchase it at my local liquor store, I kept overlooking the rather ordinary bottle that is the new Irish Mist. Gruppo Compari, the new distributor, is obviously trying to sell Irish Mist to the hip whiskey crowd. The older bottle looked like a bottle of liqueur; the new bottle looks like any old whiskey bottle.In addition to changing the look of the bottle, Irish Mist is now 70 proof. Compari states that it did not change the recipe, but the older bottles were 80 proof, so clearly there’s more water in the new bottle. This isn’t a bad thing, though, because the only thing that the additional water seemed to do is reduce a sharp kick after swallowing.
Apparently, I’m fairly hardcore when it comes to sipping Irish Mist. I usually prefer it in shot or snifter form, room temperature and not watered down. Occasionally, I’ll have it on the rocks and possibly with a squirt of seltzer. But the bottle I purchased had a couple of different ways of drinking Irish Mist as a mixer. The simpliest was on the rocks with a twist of lime. I’m game to try these radical recipes, so I tried it with the lime. I was not happy with the results. As much as I love lime, the two did not mix well. So I tried it with lemon, and the results were similar. The acid from citrus fruit gave the Irish Mist an unpleasant flavor of bile. I can’t speak of the other recipes because, although I’ve finished half the bottle, I can’t bring myself to mess with perfection. Ice and soda water are all I will add, if I add anything.The bottler and distributor, of course, want to be a part of this new Whiskey Golden Age. And who can blame them for having “Contains Irish Whiskey” in gold lettering on the front of bottle? Old timers, like me, will drink it for other reasons anyway, but if you young whippersnappers pick it up because it would be the easiest whiskey you’ve ever had, that fine, too. The ghosts of old friends will join in a toast no matter what the reason.