The bottle: Brothership Irish-American Blended Whiskey, $49.99.
The back story: The upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebration is always a good reason to break out a bottle of Irish whiskey. But what if your taste leans more in the American direction, as in bourbon or rye? The Connacht Whiskey Company, a fairly new Irish producer of spirits, has an answer in the form of its Brothership whiskey. And yes, it is an Irish-American blend.
Specifically, it is a spirit that begins with a 10-year-old Irish whiskey, which embodies the light taste that is a hallmark of that style. But the whiskey is combined with a bolder American one, made almost exclusively from corn, which somewhat akin to a bourbon. In this case, however, it’s not necessarily as heavy on the vanilla and toffee flavors because of the type of barrels used in aging. The exact mix is 52% Irish and 48% American.
Connacht says it was no easy task coming up with the perfect mix of whiskeys from the two countries. Robert Cassell, the company’s master distiller, experimented with more than a dozen different versions of the hybrid spirit. But the resulting bottle, first released in 2017, has apparently found its fan base. Sales were up 16% in 2018 and, according to the company, are expected to grow by nearly 35% this year.
What we think about it: The idea behind the whiskey is certainly smart, especially given the sizable number of Americans (32 million) who claim Irish ancestry. It delivers flavor-wise as well, with a degree of malty smoothness (that’s the Irish whiskey) and the right notes of sweet corn and spice (that’s the American).
How to enjoy it: You can toast St. Patrick’s Day by sipping this one neat or on the rocks. But the Connacht team says it can work in whiskey-based cocktails, such as a Manhattan or Whiskey Sour.
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