5 Favourite Whiskies Selected By Tyrone Noonan

Tyrone Noonan lists his favourite whiskies. Tyrone Noonan lists his favourite whiskies.

An ARIA Award-winning musician with 25-plus years experience, Tyrone Noonan's resume is literally bursting at the seams with his achievements.

In the early 2000s, his first band george (formed with his sister Katie) owned the Australian music landscape (alongside the likes of Jet and Powderfinger); their debut album 'Polyserena' landed at #1 on the ARIA album chart.

As george was beginning to wind down in late 2004, Tyrone's next musical adventure would be his own jazz, Latin, soul band Palimpsest before he headed overseas to spend large chunks of time in London and New York in the late naughties pursuing his own solo career.

By 2011 he'd released his debut solo album titled 'I Believe'. Then last year he returned with his second solo LP, 'Utopia?', which features a number of collaborations including the final vocal recording of the late Grant McLennan.

Now Tyrone is turning his attention to Rolling Stone's #1 album in their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, American soul, R&B singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye's 'What’s Going On'.

Set to perform all the songs from Marvin's 1971 musical masterpiece, along with select choices from throughout his hugely successful career, Tyrone brings Palimpsest, along for this smooth ride.

Joining Noonan on stage to bring this album to life will be some of Queensland's finest musicians: Brendan St Ledger (keyboards), James Mcintyre (guitar), Joshua Hatcher (saxophone, flute and glockenspiel), Pat Farrell (bass), Aaron Jansz (drums) and Cindia Reine (percussion).

Read the review of their recent Brisbane Festival performance of 'What's Going On'.



Tyrone Noonan & Palimpsest present 'What's Going On' at Redland Performing Art Centre's Concert Hall on Saturday 9 October.

Here, Tyrone indulges his love of whisky (not whiskey). "Okay, so I'm not being true to my Irish roots here, but I have to admit that my top five favourite whiskies are all Scottish.

"I will never understand haggis (particularly as I don't eat meat), but the Scottish have whisky down pat; or should I say peat (at least on the island of Islay)!

"And one thing I have learned from my esteemed guitarist James McIntyre, is that there are two important factors to a great whisky: it needs to be unchill-filtered and colouring free.

"Apparently a lot of whisky makers add a chemical to make the whisky more coloured and/ or darker, and they are not required to state that on the bottle! Like what?

"Also, this categorisation generally means the whisky will be 'cask strength'; i.e. not literally watered down to the standard 40 per cent."

1: Bruichladdich Octomore 12.1 Single Malt

My number one choice is certainly not for everyday use as it generally costs around $250, but I received a bottle of this heavenly nectar as a birthday present a little while ago and now I'm hooked.

This whisky is 'super heavily peated', so it's not for the faint-hearted! And it's 59.9 per cent! But oh what a drop.

Oh and I should probably explain what peat is for the uninitiated: Peat, also known as turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter, and is sometimes referred to as 'early coal'. It's cut from the ground and infused with the barley prior to distillation to add that unique 'smoky' flavour.

I don't think I can explain this whisky is better than the producer itself: 'The stripped back maturation profile allows a sensory conversation that highlights the cereal-rich, malty notes of this barley-forward single malt. Vanilla, citrus and fudge culminate in an enigmatic challenge to received whisky wisdom.' 'Nuff said.

2: Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt

Pronounced "Oog-a-dal", this one was voted by the 120,000-plus strong Ardbeg Committee as their favourite Ardbeg. I'm not on the committee but completely agree.

Again it's quite peaty and non-chill filtered and comes in at 54.2 per cent. And here is an apt description of the taste form the distiller: 'Full flavoured and rich with a deep mouth-coating texture, the taste is an intriguing balance between sweet, spicy and deep smoky flavours.'

It's still quite expensive, but generally around $100 cheaper than the Octomore.

3: Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt

A lot of people find the standard Laphroaig a bit intense and/ or too peaty, whereas this one is more refined, striking a wonderful balance between sweetness and smoke. It's left to finally mature in smaller quarter casks, resulting in up to 30 per cent more contact between the oak and the liquid.

Another non-chill filtered gem at 48 per cent, this is my favourite of all the Laphroaig whiskies.

According to the producer: 'Along with the signature smoky taste of our peated whisky you'll also find notes of coconut, vanilla and banana that are imparted by close contact with American white oak.'

This one is not as expensive as either above but still a little hefty; however sometimes you can find it on special.

4: Bunnahabhain 12 Single Malt

Yet another Islay whisky, this is also non-coloured and un-chill filtered (yes there is a theme here) :-)

This one is certainly less peaty than the rest, it's more of a combination of spice and fruit with subtle smoke that's matured over 12 years. It starts off lightly upon the first sip but finishes on the palate with a full-bodied richness. And you can also sometimes find on special; yessss!

5: Craigellachie 13 Single Malt

Finally I'm off the Isle of Islay, and into the Speyside region. This one is a gem and I think a standalone flavour-wise in the region, which the producer wears proudly on its sleeve: 'A style seldom met!'

Sometimes referred to as 'the bad boy of Speyside', this whisky is produced in the old-school style, using 'worm tubs' which are long copper tubes standing in large tanks of cold water. And once again, this is non chill-filtered and cask strength at 46 per cent.

To finish off, I just want to say that all of these these whiskies are designed to be sipped slowly and not downed quickly; therefore I hope this list will add to the concept of responsible drinking :-) It's all about the nose, the palate and the finish.

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