Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
As with many of my whiskey drinking and slinging peers, I’m not generally thrilled about flavored whiskeys. They don’t follow the traditional patterns and the tastes can be… odd, to say the least. Often they barely cover a generally lower quality of whiskey.
So it could come as a surprise that I actually was glad to receive this bottle. There is one soft spot in my heart for the apple-flavored whiskey. Several years ago a dear friend unfortunately passed very unexpectedly – and his choice of drink was a Miller High Life and shot of Crown Royal apple. The latter had not previously been a drink I ever considered voluntarily drinking, but since that time I’ve often had a bottle in the house, and fellow friends and I will have a pour from time to time in his honor.
So an apple whiskey strikes a different chord with me.
Proper No.12, of course, is an Irish whiskey, in comparison to Crown’s being Canadian. Proper No. 12 Irish Apple is a blend of the original flagship whiskey (reviewed here) and apple juice. The whiskey itself utilizes many of the most traditional elements of Irish whiskey – triple distillation, copper pot stills, barrel aging. Irish whiskey typically makes use of malt whiskey, either malted or unsalted (the latter being more common).
Proper No. 12 is utilizing the single malt here, but that’s not all that’s going into it. The malted barley from a single distillery is triple distilled in copper pot stills, then aged in bourbon barrels, true to Irish tradition. The resulting malt whiskey is then blended with grain whiskey – lighter and sweeter, and can be made from any cereal grain. The resulting mix (though of course I had the apple version, so there’s a bit of skewing there) brightens up the malt character and grounds the grain character.
And then comes the apple juice. Specifically being touted as “Irish apple” this edition of Proper No. 12 is just as focused on Irish life and tradition. The name is a reference to District 12 in Dublin, home of co-founder Colin McGregor – yes, that Colin McGregor (making this a celebrity whiskey). The brand has thus far been extremely successful with the flagship whiskey, and is aiming to do some good as well. For every case of either expression sold, $5 is donated to First Responder organizations. So far they’ve donated nearly two million dollars.
Flavored, celebrity-brand whiskey… I’m shocked that I really like this at all. It was flavorful in what tasted like a genuine way, and surprisingly didn’t come across as too sweet. And I’m glad to add it to my shelf. I’ll think of my departed friend when I see it, and when I really feel like I need more of a reminder, I’ll break it out. I wish I could share this with him, and get his opinion, though I don’t think anything could break his loyalty to that Crown Apple.
Donny, this one’s for you.
Tasting Notes: Proper No. 12 Irish Apple
Vital Stats: 35% ABV, blend of single malt and grain whiskies, natural apple flavor added
Appearance: Light translucent caramel with strong orange overtones. Very few legs.
Nose: Candied green apple (if anyone remembers those caramel apple lollipops, it’s very similar to that) overwhelms the bouquet. A touch of under ripe pear weaves through.
Palate: Not as sweet as the nose, but again, overwhelmingly tastes of candied apple. The same pear not comes in just at the beginning on the sip. Lightly sweet all of the way through, the very back palate has a bit more malty weight, with a brown sugar sweetness to it. The finish is fairly decent, with more of the brown sugar coming through.
Read the full article at Whiskey Review: Proper No.12 Irish Apple