McConnell’s Irish Whisky Sherry Cask Finish Tasting Notes
McConnell’s Irish Whisky Sherry Cask Finish
Belfast Distillery Company (Sourced)
Blended Irish Whiskey
Tasting note compiled by Barry Chandler
Belfast Distillery Company first arrived on the scene in 2020 as an independent bottler (with distillery plans) with the resurrection of a long forgotten Irish Whiskey brand, J&J McConnell’s and the launch of McConnell’s Irish Whisky.
J&J McConnell’s was established in Belfast in 1776 during the foundations of Irish Whiskey as we know it, later building a distillery to keep up with demand. Although like many more, they disappeared for over a century.
Their first whisky release (note they don’t use the ”e” in their spelling) in 2020 was made up of malt and grain components matured for a minimum of 5 years in ex-bourbon casks.
Their second release, a Sherry Cask Finish, has just been launched to great anticipation. It’s again a 5 year old blended Irish whiskey (single malt and single grain) aged in bourbon barrels before being finished for approximately 9 months in Oloroso Sherry Casks before being bottled at a respectable 46%.
Gold, approaching copper.
On the nose it’s warm and rich with notes of caramelized brown sugar, stewed figs and dark chocolate. I keep looking for the lighter ex-bourbon barrel notes but they’re playing second or fifth fiddle to the Sherry that’s doing all the heavy lifting, and then some.
Palate & Finish
Like the nose, there’s no getting around that this whisky is all Sherry, Sherry, Sherry. The stewed dark fruits – raisins, sultanas, even some almonds, give way to a cayenne pepper spice and it has a finish that lasts only as long as its youthful years allow.
The nine months in Oloroso Sherry Casks appear to indicate the use of casks that were extremely fresh and newly seasoned/emptied or that yielded a lot of the previous wine contents to the maturing whisky.
This is a whiskey for Sherry cask lovers. It’s hard to believe it’s only 5 years old (it drinks like it’s twice that age) and you’d think it was a single Sherry cask it spent its entire maturation period in.
If you don’t like Sherry-aged whiskeys, avoid at all costs but for half the price of a Redbreast Lustau I’d consider this being the more regular whiskey in the rotation and a great candidate for an Irish Old Fashioned for a Sherry cask whiskey fan like myself.
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