The Big Guy – Michael Collins

The “Big Guy” used to be, not sure if it is still is, the promotional moniker for the Michael Collins brand of Irish whiskey.  It was a little corny, so I hope it went away along with the big ugly bottles they used to have.  Michael Collins is distilled in the last independent Irish owned distillery – Cooley.  We did a review of a single cask Cooley last week.

My first run in with Michael Collins was far from impressive.  My buddy who runs a restaurant with a full bar brought over a 1L bottle of the Michael Collins blend that he was given as a “kick back” by his liquor distributor.  Free booze – who can complain right?  Well several months later with a 90% full bottle taking up space in my cabinet, I was complaining.  I couldn’t give it away and I certainly wasn’t drinking any more of it.  It just didn’t fit into my drinking rotation.  I’d prefer something more interesting and flavorful if I wanted a whisk(e)y and I would rather grab an easy drinking beer if I wanted something less challenging to relax with.  Tragically I think I ended up throwing the bottle out when I moved out of that house.

But several years later I found myself picking up another bottle of the Big Guy – this time the 10 year old lightly peated single malt expression.  I decided to give Michael Collins another try, rationalizing that the blend I had before was not representative of his whole body of work.    Luckily it was a vast improvement over the blend in my opinion.

Michael Collins 10 Year Old Lightly Peated ~$40
Double Distilled 40%ABV

Color:  Medium amber

Nose:  A subtle peat, grassy, doughy, soft “feel”, apple juice, over ripe yellow pears, hints of herbs, something oddly synthetic: band-aids or play-doh?

Palate:  Oak char, subtle sweetness and peat, very smooth, somewhat thin though, spices and apples

Finish: Short, spice and malt

Comments:  It does a great job of balancing the peat and the sweetness of the spirit.  I found myself using “subtle” to describe this whiskey a lot and I guess that is how to best sum it up – subtle, but nicely balanced and integrated.  – Chris

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