We all know the story of the original Bruce Banner: Dr Jekyll, a man haunted by evil thoughts, creates an elixir that turns him into a large hideous beast who goes by the name of Mr Edward Hyde. Now what you probably don’t know is that Robert Louis Stevenson, the man behind the classic literary novel, was coke’d up out of his mind when he wrote it. This is often cited as his medical treatment due to his suffering from tuberculosis. But let’s be honest, cocaine was probably just bloody addictive. His usage of cocaine was so pronounced, that his wife Fanny stated that he was able to – and I’m not making this shit up – put “60,000 words on paper in six days”.
So… reading between the lines (or in Stevenson’s case, writing), one can assume that the “elixir” Dr Jekyll takes is not so much a magical potion, as it is drugs. In other words, that’s not so much ironic, as it is a very small coincidence.
By now I’m sure many of you are wondering what any of this has to do with whisk(e)y. Well, glad you asked! I’ll have you know that Stevenson was Scottish, and a huge fan of whisky. In his poem, The Scotsman’s Return From Abroad, he is quoted as saying “The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Islay, or Glenlivet.” Yet I’m not here to talk about Scotch whisky. No, for you see, as the title of this article suggests, my current interest lies more in Dr. Jekyll, or rather his counterpart, Mr Hyde. And with that, we must take leave of Scotland and travel a bit south to Ireland.
I give you, Hyde Whiskey!
Now, if I were to tell you that this whiskey was named after Stevenson’s literary classic, that would be amazing, but false. Rather, Hyde is a new brand from Hibernia Distillers, a distillery owned by brothers Connor and Alan Hyde. Do you see what I’m getting at? Beyond the surname of the owners of Hibernia though, this whiskey is dedicated to Douglas Hyde, the first president of Ireland. As such, I’m sorta doing an injustice to Hibernia by simply calling their offering “Hyde Whiskey.” Allow me to correct that by giving it its due introduction:
I give you, Hyde No. 1 Presidential Cask, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, aged 10 years!
For those of you who follow us, you will know that this is my second, consecutive, review of an Irish whiskey. This may seem strange especially after my (from what I’ve been told, very controversial) comments about Ireland being my least favourite of the big whisk(e)y regions. Well, whatever, sue me (please don’t).
A couple weeks ago, I got in contact with Connor Hyde and he agreed to send me a sample of their malt for review. Admittedly, I saw that Hyde Whiskey was finished in Olosoro casks, and I just had to try it. That’s right folks, this thing is basically a sherry finished Irish single malt. Why wouldn’t I?
Hyde Whiskey is a 100% malted Irish barley whiskey and its distillers say it’s a “true taste of the Irish free spirit.” I’m not Irish, so I’m going to have to trust them on this one. What I do know though, is that I was very intrigued when I cracked the seal of the bottle.
On first whiff, the sherry is dominant. The wonderful sweetness, and from what I can gather is some sort of custard, is very apparent on the nose. From this initial nosing, I was excited.
I honestly didn’t get much of the citrus nor other spices that I’ve seen/heard others smell, but you know, to each his/her own. Once this malt touches my tongue though, I’m hit with some fruitiness and slight medicinal notes, which cut any overwhelming sweetness for me. Very welcomed indeed. I believe if this thing was too sweet, it may not have worked as well, but whatever the Hyde brothers did (or sourced), they knew what they were doing. The finish is long, and minutes after my first taste, I could still feel the oakiness on my palate.
Coming out at 46% ABV, Hyde is no push over either – another parallel to Stevenson’s classic. Picture this: there you are, relaxing on your chaise (because why not) wasting away the night. You’ve been coddling wine coolers all evening, and you’re ready to step your game up. Enough of this “I sorta wanna drink” or “I don’t wanna get a headache in the morning” or “my mommy said my curfew is at 9” nonsense. It’s time to act like an adult dammit. You reach for this golden elixir (pun intended), acknowledging that it may awaken the beast within, but you don’t care. Why? Because it’s delicious. There, I said it.
This here malt warms my heart. Mainly because it’s reaffirming the position that Irish whiskey needs to be on my shelf. Hyde Whiskey is a solid offering, one I will gladly have again. And with only about 5000 bottles of this stuff produced, if you want to have this too, you better act quickly and snatch one up.
Cheers – Peat