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Clontarf Irish Classic Blend review

Clontarf Blended Whiskey

Clontarf Classic is a blended Irish whiskey that used to be a single grain whiskey from Cooley distillery. That’s not the case anymore, nowadays this Irish dram contains a very small amount of malt. The grain comes from Irish Distillers. Jim Murray scored Clontarf Classic Blend 86 points, so in his Whisky Bible it got beat by Jameson Blended Irish Whiskey. Then again, that is only a single opinion. Apparently Clontarf’s marketing line used to be “The New Irish”, when the whiskey came into the market. Before that it used to be a battle between Bushmills and Jameson in the blended Irish market (I guess it still is with Tullamore Dew as the main contender).

Clontarf Classic Blend | Irish Blended Whiskey

Clontarf Classic Blend is also called Clontarf 1014, because of the medieval Battle of Clontarf which took place in 1014. This Irish whiskey is a product of Castle Brands and it’s been matured in Ex-Bourbon casks.

Not the Calvary of blends but can’t help not to think of it

The Irish movie called Calvary comes to my mind, just because of the debate between Catholic and Protestant whiskey. There’s a belief (mostly made by Americans) that Bushmills used to be a Protestant whiskey and Jameson was for Catholics. Many people say it’s not like that, it’s only based on the location of both whiskeys – Bushmills is from Northern Ireland (mostly a Protestant region) and Jameson is from Cork (Catholic). Well, as once being “the new kid on the block”, Clontarf felt like a whiskey for everyone. Of course Bushmills and Jameson can be for everyone as well, this was just an image I had. Since Calvary is a fine movie processing religion, especially Catholicism, it immediately came to my mind. Even though Clontarf is definitely like Cavalry (place of the skull, where Jesus was crucified).

Clontarf Classis Irish Blend is surprisingly smooth and decent, the grainy feel doesn’t take over too much. Enjoyable blended whiskey.

Matured in:
Ex-Bourbon casks
Colour: Golden amber
Nose: Starts with very stingy and unpleasant aromas – plastic and paint chips. Develops into sugary grapefruit juice and cereal, which is quite okay. Bit of grain whisky feel, but mostly it’s the grapefruit dominating, like a mellow citrus IPA.
Taste: Feels very unmature but amazingly light (because of the triple distillation?). Bit spicy, with bitter citrus notes like grapefruit for example. The more you chew it, the more it tastes like a stingy grain whisky.
Finish: Bitter and grainy, the grains stay in the back, although the feel of a blended whisky is most evident in the aftertaste. Quite long with citrus notes, the grapefruit is present, again.
Balance: Enjoy this whisky quite fast, don’t swirl it too much in your mouth, then it feels like a decent whisky.


Distillery: Cooley Region: Ireland ABV: 40%

Irish Blended Whiskey | Clontarf Classic Blend

Johannes Lindblom
Johannes Lindblom
Finnish whisky enthusiast and the author of WhiskyRant! A digital marketing professional by day – a whisky reviewer and informer by night.

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