Tyrconnel is our first Irish whiskey review, in honor, of course, of St. Patrick. The Tyrconnell brand traces its roots back to the 1800s, and was established by the Watt family, a clan which had two loves, whiskey and horse racing. The family raced a horse named Tyrconnell in the National Produce Stakes in 1876, and incredibly the horse won at 100-1 odds. Overjoyed by Tyrconnell’s legendary performance and instant name recognition, the family marketed a brand of whiskey named after the horse. The brand was still marketed by the Watt family until it fell into disuse in the 1970s.
When Cooley distilleries began operation in the late 1980s, it looked for historic Irish brands to revive, and Tyrconnell was at the top of the list (along with Millars, which will be the subject of a future post). The new brand does homage to the Watt family tradition by using a racehorse as the marketing logo. Although the brand received poor reviews in its early stages (3-4 year releases did not sit well with Stefan Gabanyi) there is a fairly enthusiastic following for the 10 year release. The 10 year has three separate releases, differentiated by their finishing casks: sherry, port, and Madeira. Today we are sampling the sherry finish.
Sanctus Patricius, ora pro nobis!
Color: Deep Amber
Aroma: Very sweet; caramel, vanilla, and floral overtones with a hint of berries which become more prominent upon opening. The sherry casks made the aroma noticeably sweet. The aroma did not have the strong mineral aspect that we have seen in other Irish whiskeys.
Pallet: The pallet delivered quite well on the aroma. The whiskey was sweet and smooth but not overwhelmingly complex.
Michael: This was one of the better Irish whiskeys we’ve tried, but I’m definitely not enamored with the Tyrconnell brand. The simplicity of the whiskey was disheartening. It is a decent sipping whiskey at best. It would be hard to justify buying this again.
Andrew: I rather enjoyed this Irish whiskey. It shared many of the qualities I often find in an American whiskey – the caramel, vanilla aroma, with a sweet flavor and sharp finish – but the floral overtones definitely made it unique. The best Irish whiskey I’ve had yet.
Nicholas: While I am a proud Irishman, this certainly does not match up to other whisk(e)ys from the Isles. It unfortunately does not match up to our expectations of a well aged single malt and leaves me wanting to chase it with an old Islay.
Verdict: Jupiter, the 6th level of Paradiso