One of Ireland’s most popular whiskeys now has a big brother worthy of any fine whiskey collection. In fact, at roughly $70 a bottle Powers John’s Lane Release is one of the best bang-for-your-buck Irish Whiskeys on the market today. Just like the tasty offerings from lauded brands like Redbreast, this special spirit is a living highlight reel for the traditional, single-pot distilling methods all Irish Whiskey once embraced. The name John’s Lane is likewise a historical nod to the original Powers’ distillery, founded in 1791.
While Powers Gold has always been considered a decent sippin’ whiskey and the original special loosening ingredient in Irish coffee, John’s Lane (aged 12 years) builds upon these solid roots with surprising depth of flavor and sophistication. Our tasting revealed hives of honey on the nose, along with charred wood and the tiniest chocolatey darkness. Other commonly ascribed notes — leather and tobacco, for instance — were more elusive to our palate. On the tongue, this whiskey is incredibly smooth, teasing sweet toffee and vanilla up front followed by toasted oak, some pepper and crisp green fruit tartness on the finish. The entire range of flavors is marked yet extremely mellow throughout. It’s an experience that we recommend to whiskey-lovers of all stripes — even you kilted single-malt snots. If you don’t want to take our word for it, a 2012 World Whiskies Award for Best Pot Still Irish Whiskey should be all the convincing you need.