Origin Spirits experimented with 7-8 seaweed varieties, settling on Combo Atlantic seaweed for this expression as “the most democratic”. The release of this, the first seaweed-finished whisky, was scheduled the weekend before Paddy’s day , a weekend that unfortunately coinciding with the COVID-related lockdown !!!
The process for this Currach involves charring/smoking those Kentucky casks using seaweed as the fuel. The seaweed is placed at the entrance of the cask and set alight with a flamethrower [see pic] before the lid is put on. This is repeated 6 times for each cask. The seaweed-prepared casks are then filled with [3-4yo ex-bourbon-matured] triple-distilled West Cork Irish whisky [at 46%abv with no colour/no chill-filtering], for 3-4 months – the point when it was deemed that all the flavours from the seaweed had been extracted.
N: I find it very port and/or [sweet] red wine-matured [Scotch] whisky-like. On the quirky side, we’ve carbolic/butyric/creosote touches with something vegetal like cabbage umami miso? with putty=plasticine. It becomes more and more bizarre as it opens out [morning breath being one of the particulars]. Everyone one of our group suggested plentiful and varied flavours.
T: An unusual zing to start, the higher abv making for a marked difference compared with the previous examples, along with significantly longer cask maturation pre-seaweed. With putty at first, it follows on with the same unusual miso-butyric earthy > mushroom-y/miso notes as the nose and becoming maltier on the turn. Overall, a really fascinating result on the palate is sure to make for a Marmite malt.
F: There’s an Irish/US-esque lactic/sweet finish, but it helped [my observations] that I knew the makeup of this presentation beforehand. It’s rather oily and rubbery at first before becoming dry and a tad butyric with the faintest hint of sesame & wasabi-covered Chinese crispy snacks. Butyric tar rubber and more putty at the death. It’s not super-salty though I’d definitely describe it as maritime vegetal.
C: This is not at all as outrageous as one might expect, but as it opens out it becomes more quirky. I shall try this tomorrow without preceding it with the smoked vodka.
C: No further additions or amendments to yesterday’s observations. Much like Chichibu’s ‘wasabi’ soya bean beer cask [WLP], this is a must-try – and to think it’s just 3-4 yo whisky! It makes you wonder what other whisk[e]ys from other distilleries would come out like, put under the same conditions. I can imagine Scotch suiting this approach very well.