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Irish whiskey

McConnell’s Irish whisky

I prepared this post a long time ago but only now I finally have the time to give the blog some TLC again.

I’ve tasted some very pleasant blends this year, and this could be one of the best of them. McConnell’s is an old Belfast brand, and one of few brands on the island of Ireland that spells whisky without the “e”. It’s also said to be one of the oldest whisky brands, established in 1776.

The brand quickly became very popular, but a fire destroyed much of the distillery and its warehouses in 1909. Although it was rebuilt, the American Prohibition came and removed most of its market, and like many other Irish whisky brands, McConnell’s disappeared.

However, as we well know, the Irish whiskey revival is here, and J.J McConnell’s is back. It’s now a blend of Irish grain and malt whiskies, matured for at least 5 years in bourbon casks, and it’s a beauty.

This company does not, at this moment, own a distillery – however, there are plans to build on in north Belfast, so that’s something to look forward to. For now, the whisky is sourced from elsewhere.

Nose

I get the same pear ice cream (and popsicle) as from many other Irish blends where the grain component stands out – very nice! There are some floral notes, hints of citrus peel and leather, wood, a mix of fresh fruits, vanilla, and light spice.

Palate

Very pleasant. Spongecake with cream and a variety of fruits – mainly pears and different citrus fruits. There are some more earthy characters, foam banana, and some light, nutmeg-type spice. The finish is medium with spice and vanilla.

This is a lovely blend with a very nice combination of flavours, totally my cup of tea, and for a nice price too – €38.50 at Celtic whiskey shop. In the standard range Irish blend category, this is one I love having on my shelf.

McConnell’s sherry cask finish

While this post was collecting dust as a draft, McConnell’s released another blend with sherry cask finish. I purchased a sample from Tiny Tipple to taste it. Here’s my verdict:

Nose

Raisins, pencil shavings, sulphur, burnt sugar, some toffee, nutmeg, chocolate, forest floor in the autumn.

Palate

Medium. There’s Christmas spices, dried red berries, toffee, apple, dry mouthfeel as from dark chocolate.

I quite liked this, but found it was a bit too dry for my taste, I experience that with some sherried whiskies. This is not a bad drop, but I much prefer the green label blend.

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