Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
I like reviewing whiskies because not only do I get to taste a lot of them, but I also get to learn stuff. Like what an Irish Whiskey Bonder is.
An Irish Whiskey Bonder is essentially how the Irish blended their whiskies in centuries past and is not unlike how the Scots developed their blending tradition: Independent merchants would purchase spirit from different distilleries to age, finish, and blend themselves. The practice faded away in the early 20th century, but Louise McGuane founded J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey in 2015 to bring it back. A recent Whiskey Advocate article on McGuane shared her plans for the future of the brand and how she toes the line between tradition and innovation.
According to J.J. Corry’s website, Irish Whiskey Bonding is the practice of sourcing new make spirit and mature Irish Whiskey from Irish distilleries and maturing, blending, and bottling unique whiskeys. I feel like it’s not that different from what a blender like Barrell is doing, maybe? Only just with Irish Whiskey?
J.J. Corry currently offers several blends of Irish Whiskey: The Gael (malt and grain whisky blend), The Battalion (tequila- and mezcal-influenced), The Flintlock (single malt), and The Banner County Blend (a shout-out to the brand’s origins). Their most recent release, The Hanson, is a blended grain Irish Whiskey. It’s three casks of Irish grain whiskey from different distilleries, which are four and ten years old and all aged in former bourbon barrels.
Tasting Notes: J.J. Corry’s “The Hanson” Irish Whiskey
Vital stats: Mash bill of 80% 10-year old single grain Irish Whiskey and 20% four-year-old single grain Irish Whiskey; 92 proof; non-chill-filtered; about $60.
Appearance: Extremely, extremely pale. The barest of toasted marshmallow – I mean like someone who really does not want even the slightest kiss of heat on their s’more. In the glass it’s almost clear. It looks like it was aged for an hour.
Nose: The nose is slightly more substantial than how it looks—although, not much. I get peaches, cucumber water, and something both floral and vegetal. Rosemary maybe? Also, roses. Maybe slightly sun-warmed blackberries, the weedy and thorny kind, not the blue paper box kind.
Palate: Wow, okay. So I like this more than I expected! Despite the anemic color and the very subtle nose, I find myself enjoying it. This is sweet. A little marshmallow. There is a creaminess and full body that I wouldn’t have expected. Honey but not thick. A touch of fire on the finish but not hot at all. It is light and sweet and creamy. It’s like the nougat of Irish Whiskey. I am pleasantly surprised. I don’t drink a lot of Irish Whiskey; not by intention, it just doesn’t happen to be something I reach for very much. That might change, now. At least I’d be keen to sample some more of J.J. Corry’s blends.
When I taste a whiskey I often and involuntarily think of the situation in which I would drink it: what point in the night, the type of event, who I’d drink it with, etc. I can see this whiskey being a nice end of meal alternative. I don’t know if that’s how it’s intended, but who cares?. An interesting and subtle alternative to port.
User Review3 (2 votes)
A decade ago, I traded a 5th floor walkup in Hoboken, NJ for a house in SE Portland and remain grateful for the swap. Portland’s a great whiskey town: It fits the weather and my general mood (even improves it sometimes). I enjoy exploring the many shades of brown liquor...