Back in October, we wrote about a new whiskey soon to arrive on U.S. shelves: Sexton Irish single malt whiskey. To refresh: It’s made with 100 percent Irish malted barley, triple-distilled in copper pot stills, and aged in European oak and former sherry casks. Though there’s no age statement on the bottle, we’ve learned it’s aged four to five years. It’s bottled at 80 proof.
The bottle is also cool: hexagonal, black, a little mysterious. A skeleton on the label, though, not dissimilar to the Iron Smoke Applewood Whiskey I’ve reviewed recently. What’s the deal with the cheesy skeleton labels, people? Is this like some sort of perverse “drink responsibly” message? Or like the terrifying warning labels some other countries have?
Based on our previous article, as well as info from Drinkhacker, the Sexton appears to have been distilled in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim. Also, the Sexton apparently comes from the same location and brand ownership as Bushmills: a company named Proximo. And…those who own Cuervo, the Beckmann family of Mexico, also own Proximo. It’s a small booze world, after all!
Tasting Notes: Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Vital stats: 80 proof; mash bill of 100 percent Irish malted barley; aged in oloroso sherry casks; about $25.
Appearance: Yellowish, brassy and bright, like the highlights your over-enthusiastic hair stylist talked you into but which don’t really suit your face.
Nose: Full of fruit. Apricots, lemon (especially the zest) and prunes (a.k.a. the rebranded “dried plums). It closes with mild hard cheese and…is that printer ink? Yes. Yes, it is.
Palate: The cheese on the nose continued on the palate for me. It doesn’t taste like cheese as much as it tastes like its aftertaste. Or like the rind, on a wine-washed cheese. There’s no alcohol harshness on the palate; my co-taster thought it was easy-drinking. He tasted a little sweetness from the sherry influence, but it didn’t overpower: You wouldn’t have tasted it unless you were looking for it, he said. But pretty much all I got was winey dairy.
I know I should like this. And I would like to say that I send only goodwill toward the sisterhood. But it’s like when I’m in barre class: Some women are really just not my type. This isn’t terrible, but it’s definitely not my favorite. I wanted to give it a 2, my co-taster said 3, so I’ll split the difference.
And while that squat hexagonal bottle may look cool sitting on the shelf, unless you are upending it into a cauldron, it’s going to dribble everywhere.
User Review3.24 (41 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...