Whiskey Review: Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Connacht Distillery. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Connacht Distillery was started by a group of four men – one Irish and three American – who were frustrated that Irish-owned companies were not making Irish whiskey. They decided to take action, founding Connacht in 2014. Ultimately, they wanted to bring single-malt pot still whiskey back to life in unspoiled Western Ireland. Their operation settled in Belleek, Ballina, Co. Mayo.

One of these Americans was Robert Cassell, founder of New Liberty Distillery  stateside, in Philadelphia. Cassell is not only master distiller of both enterprises, but also designs stills. For Connacht, he planned three custom pot stills, with neck and head shapes unique in Ireland. Fabrication went to esteemed Specific Mechanical of Victoria, Canada. And it wouldn’t be a fully cross-cultural operation if they didn’t make their wash with a brewing set up by ROLEC.

This all foretells of great things to come from Connacht. However, as you know, great whiskey takes a long time, and something’s got to keep the lights on in the meanwhile. So we are here to discuss Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey , their recent whiskey offering on the American market.

Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey is a sourced grain whiskey; column distilled and aged four years. Once in Ballina, the liquid goes into once-used port casks, where it further matures for a number of months. Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey is meant to be lively, affordable and enjoyed without a second thought.

Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey

Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey (image via Connacht Distillery)

Tasting Notes: Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey

Vital Stats: This whiskey is 86 proof, with a mash bill of 93% French corn and 7% malted barley. It’s aged four years, with an additional three-to-six months in port casks. Available on the coasts and Illinois; expect to pay $30 for 750 mL.

Appearance: Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey is very pale, the color of unoaked Chardonnay. It forms quick, medium legs on the glass. The bottle is a striking black with exclusively silver-foil print.

Nose: The nose is restrained and subtle, with a first whiff of banana peel and heat. As it sits in the glass, a nutty, brown-sugar sweetness develops.

Palate: This whiskey is very light bodied, and hotter than I would’ve expected given the ABV. The nose’s brown sugar comes across as grain sweetness. Both the mid-palate and the finish have a mushroom quality. It’s inoffensive yet unremarkable.

The Takeaway


This whiskey would've benefitted from a bit longer in barrel - maybe in those port casks. I'm not sure what it tasted like before, but I don't get a lot of port markers. It could be a good mixing workhorse though, for assertively flavored but straightforward cocktails like sours.

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