The name Red Head plays off the spirit’s colour, which is a deeper, more coppery hue than the original and excellent Writers’ Tears Irish whiskey. One assumes there’s also a double entendre with the natural hair colour of more than a few smiling citizens of the Emerald Isle. Red Head owes that fetching appearance to maturation in Spanish oloroso sherry casks versus the standard ex-bourbon barrels used for most whiskies. The point of that wood treatment was not chiefly visual, of course. Sherry-soaked casks, which are many times more expensive than American bourbon barrels on the used-wood market, tend to impart more of a rich, rounded and fruity character, and that’s plainly evident here.
Rich and oily, the whisky is wonderfully chewy, with notes of orange peel, honey, raisin and caramel. Big, warm spice emerges after the initially cuddly hug of thick fruit. With a splash of water, it develops a nutty note reminiscent of hazelnut. Bottled at 46-per-cent alcohol. Available at the above price in Ontario, $62.99 in New Brunswick.
- Price: $64.95