Dunville's: VR single cask 162 19 year old, 20 year old and 18 year old Port Mourant finish


Photo courtesy of Dunville’s

So a review I've been meaning to do for a long time, since last September actually when the good looking chap. Seamus Og Birt, sent me a rather delightful care package from Dunville's. The rest of the whiskies I received in that package can be seen here, but there was one sample I really wanted to review.....Cask 162.

I had reviewed Cask 162 previously here as a 19 year old. It was majestic and I implored Jarlath and co to immediately bottle it. They didn't listen and instead released it as a 20 year old expression as an exclusive for Belfast Whiskey Week. I was worried that it may have went beyond it's peak, much like the Port Mourant (look here when it was, in my opinion, at it's peak). So, here in the gift box was a sample of the 20 year old version. As luck would have it I also had a sample of the 19 year old version. Game on! I also decided to revisit the 18 year Port Mourant cask as a sample was also included in the pack and I wanted to see if time and my palate had readjusted my feelings towards it.

I’ve been fortunate to sample the 19 year old expression of Cask 162 a number of times and it’s always lived in my memory as one of the best Irish single malts I’ve been fortunate to enjoy, so it is in part excitement and part trepidation that I pit it against the official 20 year old bottling that was released for the Belfast Whiskey Week festival in 2022. This is a very limited expression with only 136 bottles and some of those are still available on the Dunville’s shop for £245 per bottle.

Regarding the 18 year old Port Mourant it turns out the gift pack contained a sample from a sister cask of what I had previously reviewed. The previous review was cask 193, this sample coming from sample 192. If you’d like to try this you can buy the bottle from the Dunville’s shop for £585 per bottle. If that is a bit rich for your pocket you can buy a 5cl gift pack for £42 here. Although it looks again like it’s from another sister cask as the abv is 56.1%.

Let’s crack on shall we?

Dunville's VR SC Oloroso finish Cask 162 19 year old 55% abv

Nose: Such a delightful nose to this - crème brulee, vanilla fudge, stewed apples with cinnamon and clove, mixed peels, sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and dates. A little leather, furniture polish and marzipan.

Palate: Decadent. Rich and chewy. Super mouthfeel here. Upfront is sweet brown sugar, raisins and dates followed by peach cobbler and apple crumble. Mild spice picks up mid palate with ginger, black pepper and a hint of clove. Menthol too along with tobacco, orange oil and dark chocolate.

Finish: Long with Terry's dark chocolate orange, ginger and sherry lingering

Score: 9 out of 10

Dunville's VR SC Oloroso finish Cask 162 20 year old 54% abv

Nose: Another belter of a nose. Straight away I get cherry menthol, pineapple and mango, praline and new leather. Vanilla sponge, almonds and macadamias, butter cream. Eventually some darker fruit notes appear with raisin and fig along with orange peel.

Palate: Again a lovely mouthfeel and like the nose tropical fruit forward. Pineapple cubes, mango, papaya and stewed apple. Then a wave of ginger and clove spice gently rises. Now we get milk chocolate and light espresso notes sweetened with brown sugar.

Nose: Another long finish with a lingering, warming baking spice note along with sweet raisin and tropical fruit taffy.

Score: 9 out of 10

Dunville's VR SC Port Mourant Rum finish Cask 192 18 year old 57.1% abv

Nose: Quite a tight nose, not giving much away. Oddly the first thing I get is cardboard. Then vanilla, tart green apples and unripe pear. Dry hay and pencil shavings.

Palate: Thankfully the palate is much better. Toffee apple, juicy fruit chewing gum, tangerine and grapefruit which adds a tangy sourness. Quite spicy mid palate with white pepper and fresh ginger before returning to lime marmalade.

Finish: Medium length with tart citrus, toffee and ginger.

Score: 6 out of 10

Overall: Well, well, well. So how wrong was I? Did cask 162 suffer from the extra maturation? On the contrary it became a tropical fruit bomb! Which for me is counter intuitive as I expected it to become more sherry dominant, yet it seemed to become lighter and more distillate driven. Weird but it's what I picked up. 

Also I seem to have mellowed with regards to the Port Mourant finish. This sample is from cask 192, my previous experience being cask 193. Which shows that casks may be from the same ilk but that doesn't mean they are always equal. Sister casks and a world of difference. Would I part ways with £585 for a bottle? Still a no for me I’m afraid, my stretched funds will be used elsewhere.

Anyway this has been a great exercise in revisiting old friends and foes. I look forward to the next one.

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