Life is full of difficult choices. Do I pay 25 dollars for Millar's special reserve or 30 dollars for Millar's 8 year old? Well since they are both a blend of grain and single malt whiskies who is to say that the special reserve isn't about 8 years also?
So I went with the special reserve. The taste is somewhere between Irish Manor and Michael Collins. It has the warm malty finish of Irish Manor. Only minor caramel notes like Michael Collins. I like this one. I think I like Michael Collins the best, but they are all very similar. In terms of boozenomics I think I'd rank Michael Collins on top and Millars on the bottom, but that said I think Millars is a fine whiskey.
Also, I know that this is another Cooley blend. Typical Cooley bottling (bottle shaped like Dewar's bottle). Familiar Cooley taste. I know that Cooley is trying to make Irish whiskey that competes with Scottish whisky. And I appreciate that. Blended Scotch whisky is still the biggest seller around. It has cache. I'm usually not a fan because I am not into the peaty flavor usually found in Scotch.
Having said that, I am sometimes at a loss with these Cooley blends. The bottle says "Adam Millar and Co." And, "Since 1843". Well there probably was an Adam Millar & Co. making whiskey in 1843. And they probably went out of business by 1920. So a whiskey made by the Cooley distillery and distributed by a company in Des Plaines Illinois is marketed as an old brand.
I sometimes think that their strategy is to try and trick a blended Scotch drinkers into buying their Irish equivalent. The bottle looks like blended Scotch. The labeling is as old as any Scotch blend. I like the stuff inside the bottle, but I have to wonder if a Scotch drinker does.