Writers’ Tears Red Head - Familiar, but Different


The brand of Writers’ Tears is affectionally enjoyed by writers, partially because of the name, and also partially because the whisky is just gentle enough to sip without distracting the writer from the task-at-hand. When writing The Whisky Cabinet I went through a few bottles of Writers’ Tears. Back then there was only one type of whisky, but today the brand has expanded, and this is a look at their sherry barrel matured whisky, Red Head.

Red Head is a departure from the traditional Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey. Both are triple distilled. The original is a traditional Irish whiskey made with malted and unmalted barley, and it’s fully matured in ex-Bourbon American barrels. Contrasting, Red Head is a single malt fully matured in ex-Oloroso sherry barrels. Despite the difference, Red Hat remains warm and familiar with an added booziness and sweetness from this style.

The more modern style of sherry barrel matured whisky typically adds a ton of cinnamon spice, boozy cherry sweetness, and the signature dry finish. Red Head, while fully matured in Oloroso sherry barrels, uses reused barrels. The influence is there through the nose, palate, and finish, but it’s pleasantly light. I do appreciate that they kept the flavor profile closer to Writers’ Tears original rather than go all-out with the sherry influences. It’s on brand, and frankly, we need more subtle sherry matured whisky on the market that’s been flooded with big sherry bombs.

Writers’ Tears is owned by Walsh Whisky. They’re a non-distiller producer, meaning they do not presently sell whisky that they make, but rather purchase barrels of whiskies from distilleries. This is a common practice in Ireland.

Writers’ Tears Red Head
Category: Non-Distiller Producer, Irish Whiskey, Ex-Sherry Oak Aged
Score: 84

Nose: Nice malted grainy notes, crushed zest, freshly cut oak, and big red apple notes. There was a whiff of youthfulness that dissipated on the second nosing. The caramel notes are distant, and he red apple note is prominent.

Palate: Terrific oaky peppery spice, nice heat, buttery, creamy, and great caramel sweetness notes. There are some darker notes here reminding me of raisins. This is a thirst quencher of a whisky.

Conclusion: I appreciate the delicate touches to Red Head. If you’re looking for a modern sherry bomb, this won’t be your drink, but if you love the subtle notes of Writers’ Tears Copper Pot this will be in your wheelhouse. The subtle nose and the big peppery and buttery flavors on the palate work really well. It comes in at a sensible price, making it an easy buy. '

Disclaimer: Thank you to Whisky Walsh for sending me a sample!