There have been more than a few nights on which I've taken on the wrong assignment, or worked with the wrong client, and deeply regretted it. Honestly, I wanted to like this stuff on the basis of name alone more than just about anyone.
I mean, I've raged as my computer decided to spontaneously update and wipe out hours of work. I've been sent god knows how many emails written in barely-coherent English and was expected to turn madman-esque ramblings into something coherent and persuasive.
Get this: I once was tasked by a well-meaning friend with trying to improve his aunt's script, which turned out to be an unsolicited pitch to the band Earth, Wind, and Fire for a music video involving cartoon birds falling in love. With like, extensive notes of what the birds were doing and what the music video should look like. And it was not for a new EWF song. It was for one that released in 1977. Five years before I was born. For a song older than both Coors Light and the very first Sony Walkman.
I imagined this bottle, sitting prominently on the shelf, as the perfect ending to another maddening and unnecessarily difficult project being put to bed. A stake through the heart of every assignment where I've looked at the file sent to me and thought, "What in the fuck do they expect me to do with this?"
Sadly, and despite the great name, the stuff in the bottle is mediocre at best.
Originally, Writers' Tears was a "sourced" Irish whiskey, which is to say that one of the few distilleries in the region (at that time, either Bushmills, Middleton, or Cooley) made it for someone else to rebrand and repackage as they saw fit. Today, Writers Tears has shifted to the production of the Walsh Distillery, new as of June 2016, so they're making the juice in house. Kudos to them for the attempt.
On one hand, Writers' Tears is a perfectly competent and workmanlike Irish. It's smooth, which is to say it clears that vague hallmark of having neither undue ethanol harshness nor throat burn, and free of too much untoward oak influence. The nose is like most of the vaguer sorts of Glen-Whatever scotches in that it's heavy on orchard fruit, and then again slightly fruity from the arrival into the development. And, like most Irishes, there's no peat to speak of.
At somewhere around $40, it's a step up in quality from what's bound to be baby's first Irish whiskey: Jameson or Bushmills white. The extra spend gets you something that kicks down the acetone in the nose and the astringency on the palate. So yes, compared to your rack grade Irish, this is better.
Unfortunately, Writers' Tears is disappointing by fairer, more direct product comparisons. Tasted side-by-side with the heavy-hitters in the category, it just doesn't bat at the same level. For about $10 less than the Writers' Tears, Bushmills offers the much-better Black Bush and Jameson has the excellent Black Barrel. And, at an equivalent cost, Redbreast annihilates it.
All in all, I'd say Writers' Tears is fairly representative of what a person imagines a competent Irish Whiskey should be, but I'll venture it'll be underwhelming to anyone that's tasted enough bottles from the category to even form an opinion about what they do or don't like.