The Busker Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Tasting Notes

April 13, 2022

The Busker Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Tasting Notes

Royal Oak Distillery (Ilva Saronno) 

Single Pot Still



Tasting note compiled by Mark McLaughlin (@mark_rye)



The Royal Oak Distillery has a somewhat tumultuous start to its short life. What started as an exciting partnership by an established Irish Whiskey brand, Walsh Whiskey (makers of The Irishman and Writers Tears) and a global multination drinks company Ilva Saronno, makers of the acclaimed Disaronno, soon turned sour. The resulting dispute resulted in Walsh Whiskey retaining their brands and Ilva Saronno retaining the distillery.

The Busker is the brand which has been created to represented the initial releases of spirit distilled at Royal Oak. A visually beautiful distillery, it houses both its pot stills and column stills in the same still house, a unique feature given the space needed for both.

This single pot still whiskey is made from malted and unmalted barley only, and has no age statement but we know they started distilling in 2016 so it can be no more than 5 years old at the time of its initial release in 2021. The components which make up the whiskey are ‘matured and finished in ex-bourbon and sherry casks’, whether that means they were initially matured in bourbon and finished in sherry, or matured in both and finished in both is unclear. Bottled at a healthy but random 44.3% ABV.



Somewhere around amber with lengthy legs.


Nose (Aromas)

It is certainly a lively 44.3% ABV the alcohols are jumping out the glass with distillate derived spices like clove oil with a little touch of ginger. We’ve got a clear raisin note which pulls the nose to a more fruitful side and marzipan with lots of sweet character. The youth gives itself away with a mentholic burst that doesn’t quite reach liquorice, all the while there are balancing wood notes throughout the nosing experience.


Palate & Finish 

It got a beautifully distinct oily character on the palate which is quite unctuous with flavours beginning to appear through the sweeter receptors, vanilla in abundance, toffee, warm honey followed by a drying oak note. I don’t find any real fruit character coming through maybe a touch of a dried fruit and nut mix. The finish is quite relaxed really just leaves a touch of sweetness.



For a first release from a new distillery I’d definitely have been proud to be part of the team standing over this (I wasn’t and have no involvement if that isn’t clear). The nose is the shining star of this whiskey but the palate is distinctly pot still Irish whiskey although it lacks a little depth. At the lower end of pot still I’d certainly suggest trying it at least once it showcases both the spirit and casks used well. Looking forward to seeing how their pot still range progressives.



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