Whiskey Review: The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Walsh Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced 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.

Walsh Whiskey boasts the largest manually operated distillery in Ireland and is interested in reviving whiskey recipes from the 19th century. They are currently exploring a wide range of cask finishes, the newest being The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish.

This limited-edition whiskey is the third in the Founder’s Reserve unique finish series. Founder’s Reserve is Walsh’s original whiskey, and the first two releases were finished in Marsala and rum casks.

For The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish, creator and Managing Director Bernard Walsh “used casks that were first matured for three years with oloroso.” It was triple distilled in copper pots then aged in American oak barrels, then finished for 12-months in the Oloroso cask. This is the real cherry on top that creates a unique sensation for the palate.

Oloroso means “scented” in Spanish and it is a darker-hued sherry whose cask finish instills a nuttiness that is identifiable to the cask itself. Distillers who use sherry casks are looking to infuse the elements of the cask into the finish of the whiskey, utilizing the recognizable aromatic element.

Walsh expressed in at the time it was released that “it is meant to be a treat to accompany the rich baking and cooking of the festive season.” However, this taster believes this whiskey should not be limited to the winter months. The whiskey has a smooth, warming sweetness at the top and finishes into mellow fruity spices, and I could personally enjoy this spirit any time of the year.

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The release is limited to 9 sherry butts and will yield just over 8,000 bottles. The taste and feel of this whiskey are unique to other Irish brands and knowing Walsh Whiskey is also responsible for Writer’s Tears leaves this taster trusting that the distiller will continue to produce many more innovative whiskeys with compelling taste profiles.

The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish (image via Jerry Sampson/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

Vital Stats: Blend of single malt and single pot stills. Limited 8,000 yield. Triple distilled and aged in American oak barrels. Finished in Oloroso casks for 12-months. 46% ABV. Priced at around $100/750ml.

Appearance: A pile of hay at dusk. Look at it, you’ll see. Low viscosity.

Nose: Brûléed brown sugar, nuttiness from the Oloroso Sherry, and notes of pear.

Palate: This whiskey is sweet on the top and moves into a mellow, warming, spicy finish. I can see why the creator sees this whiskey as a companion to winter festivities. It is calming and sweet, with toffee notes and a hint of the pear that was on the nose. plus a subtle orange peel.

The Takeaway

Summary

I love Irish whiskey and have yet to taste one that I turn my nose up at, and this creation in no different. It is simply a delight. I also love Walsh Whiskey’s Writer’s Tears, so I trust that the Walsh’s will continue to produce my kind of whiskey.

I haven’t tasted whiskey from an Oloroso cask and I am impressed with the flavor profile. I look forward to my first Irishman Founder’s Reserve Oloroso Sherry Cask Manhattan, as I believe the somewhat subtle flavors within this whiskey will stand out with some good Aphrodite Bitters.

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