A full but gentle Irish whiskey-type malt whiskey with a full-grain palate.
Notes: This is a revision of a much older review as the product has changed ( for the better), some of the details have evolved and other new products have been added by the distillery.
Made in small batches by a father and son team in a distillery that looks like a cross between a MacGyver and Breaking Bad episode ( and I mean that in a humorous, positive way – the place is an amazing example of how to put a distillery together with repurposed materials). Started back in 2011, the distillery already produces this aged Irish Whiskey style product, a Chocolate Cream Whiskey Liqueur, and an unaged Poteen-type whiskey. Made from New York State barley, malted barley, and oats from local farmers and maltsters.
This is more or less their signature whiskey ( there will be some very limited Distillers Reserve releases when the new tasting room opens on Seneca Lake (probably Fall of 2021 qt this point)
This whiskey has been aged in a mix of 53 and 30-gallon barrels for at least 5 years or more in a one-story brick warehouse that is fairly consistent in temperature year-round.
This is quite a difference in age from the original release which was around 2 years old and from almost exclusively 30-gallon casks at the time.
Appearance: Pleasing gold russet color in the bottle and light gold in the glass. On swirling, it coats the glass with a medium to thick coat with a nicely distinct edge line forming legs
First Impression: Nicely grainy, malty with the barley wafting out of the glass with hints of marmalade, figs, and Medjool dates.
Taste: Oily body with plenty of grain germ, malt, fatty, silky entry with malt, barley, grain, and honeyed char and tobacco notes with hints of vanilla, mint, cinnamon, myrrh, with pleasant and lingering caramel malt and slightly drying oat finish with light oak barrel char and tobacco notes. A delicate yet full expression of an Irish-style of whiskey with loads of malt and barley.
Drinks: Any cocktail we found using an Irish whiskey worked well with this whiskey. Also a number of bourbon and rye cocktails. If you think of this as a cousin to a rye whiskey you cannot get too far wrong.
Bottle: A clear glass somewhat tall bell-shaped whiskey bottle with nice clarity and good quality glass with a weighted thicker bottom to it, White silkscreened crest with name description, etc., on the front and on the back the usual government warnings, along with a web address and a Facebook “F” to let you know they are on Facebook too ( first time we have ever seen that on a bottle. A slightly bowed neck leads to a lipped neck with a combination synthetic stopper with natural wood stopper for a tight but easy to open fit.
A wealth of information ( and style points for same) are on the labels of these bottles describing barrels and their history, Mash bill, fermentation, yeast filtration, and batch numbers. For distilling geeks, it does not get much better than this. Also, there is a great label detailing their filtering and aging, The following is information from their old label. It has since been removed but It is both humorous and useful information so we are quoting it verbatim – quote in full “The white floating crystals that may appear in your bottle are a natural byproduct of the barrel aging process. In short, they constitute much of the flavor that other distilleries filter out. We bottle above ambient temperature using a 0.5-micron filter, where many of the lipids from the aging process are fully soluble. At cooler temperatures, these oils are driven out of solution and crystallize in the spirit. Need proof that it’s not cardboard floating in your whiskey? Shake the bottle and watch them dissolve into solution. ”
Other: Custom still made from repurposed pharmaceutical reactors leads to a refreshingly different product ( not the same damn stills everyone else has and the sometimes depressingly similar products). Also, the entire distillery is a model of repurposing, recycling, and scrounging equipment that is in and of itself worth exploring and taking lessons from.
Final Thoughts: A great whiskey in the Irish tradition on its own, explore this as a drier and maltier alternative to a rye as a mixer also. With less spice but more grain, it opens up some interesting possibilities for mixology.
Price is quite good compared to a number of better popular Irish brands and this is NOT some grain blended with grain alcohol (essentially vodka) in a refinery-sized distillery but a full-grain whiskey produced in small batches and it shows. Probably one of the best locally made whiskies for the price.
A fairly bare-bones site, but nicely and logically laid out
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OBegley/1506482629575576
As usual these days, the Facebook page is more up to date than the website.