Skip to main content

2 New Irish Whiskeys to Try this Holiday Season

sexton jameson irish whiskey releases what to wear a holiday party and scotch cardigan by the manual credit genevieve poblano
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Irish whiskey as a category has been growing steadily over the past few years — the export of it is expected to double by 2020 — and, recently, two new single malts have made it to our shores that we think you might want to check out.

First up is The Sexton, which comes packaged in a pretty nifty hexagonal black bottle. It is created on the Northern Coast of Ireland (County Antrim, according to the bottle, also where Bushmills is made). Made with 100-percent malted barley and triple distilled in copper pots, The Sexton is then aged for four years in sherry butts (though the bottles themselves don’t carry an age statement).

the sexton whiskey
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The name of the brand comes from a derivation of the Latin word sacristanus, which means “custodian of sacred objects” and was used to describe the last person to tend to dead body before it was laid to rest. Seeing as whiskey is literally the water of life, it seems an appropriate name.

The whiskey itself has a fruit-forward nose that mixes with hints of nuttiness and chocolate. Honey and malt flavors come next, with a light body that present oak notes on the finish. Coming in at 40 percent ABV, The Sexton retails for around $27.

Next, Jameson is back with a new release: Caskmates IPA Edition.

jameson caskmates ipa
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The second release in their Caskmates line (the first being a stout and Jameson collaboration), Caskmates IPA is made in the same way as its predecessor. First, barrels from the Midleton distillery are sent to a local brewery to be filled with craft IPA. Once the beer has done its job and given the barrels the citrusy, crisp flavors that IPA drinkers love, the barrels are sent back to Jameson where they are filled with, well, Jameson.

What results is a Jameson that we know and enjoy with the added bonus of having a hoppy finish.  You’ll get citrus and herbal, hoppy notes on the nose, which carry through the palate and into the finish, leaving you with a crisp, clean, slightly fruity flavor on the end. Tasty on its own, Jameson Caskmates IPA really excels when paired with an IPA (who doesn’t like a beer and a shot together?).

Jameson Casksmates IPA Edition is also 40 percent ABV and retails for around $30.

If you want to learn more about Irish whiskey, you can check out the Irish Whiskey Society or find a new bottle or three to pick up in our 2017 whiskey guide.

Feature by Genevieve Poblano/The Manual.

Editors' Recommendations

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
Isle of Raasay Distillery Gears Up for Inaugural Release with Final While We Wait Single Malt
isle of raasay new scotch whisky single malt distillery glencairn  2

In Scotland, the whisky industry is still dominated by the old guard, distilleries like Glenfiddich and Laphroaig that date back to the early 19th century. Though there is nothing that even comes close to the craft distilling scene that we have here in the U.S., there are some upstart distilleries that are attempting to make their mark on the single malt Scotch whisky field. One such distillery is the Isle of Raasay Distillery located on, you guessed it, the Isle of Raasay just off the east coast of the Isle of Skye. This is the first legal distillery on the island, and its inaugural release whisky is due to be released this Christmas. This lightly peated single malt was aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in first fill Bordeaux red wine casks, and will be bottled with no added color and non-chill filtered.

In the meantime, the distillery has also been releasing installments of its "While We Wait" whisky, a single malt that is meant to show the journey from new make spirit to aged final product. The fifth and final release of While We Wait, which ships to 21 states in the U.S., came out a few months ago, a blend of peated and unpeated whiskey finished in French oak Tuscan red wine casks. We had a chance to catch up with Raasay cofounder Alasdair Day to talk about opening a new distillery in Scotland, the evolution of the whisky, and how the distillery has been coping during the pandemic.

Read more
A Comparison of 3 New Batches of Barrel Strength Whiskey
Whiskey in a glass

Whiskey fans love to dissect their favorite releases, deciphering what flavors and aromas they can pick up on the nose and palate as they somberly consider just what makes the whiskey so good (or bad). And one especially fun way to do this is when whiskey is released in batches, from year to year or sometimes several times throughout the year. This way, you can really compare and contrast the difference between the casks selected to see how the differences in proof, age, and other factors affect your perception. And this is particularly when it comes to barrel proof whiskey, which truly captures the character of the liquid. Here are three recent barrel-proof whiskeys, each compared to its previous incarnation to see which comes out on top.
Templeton Rye

The difference between the 2019 and 2020 editions of Templeton's Barrel Proof Rye makes itself known with the first sip. The 2019 version of this 95% rye-sourced from MGP is slightly higher in proof -- 115.8 compared to 2020's 113.1. But the real difference is revealed on the palate. 2019 starts with a cherry blast, followed by big spice notes, with some cocoa to chase it down. 2020, on the other hand, is all about caramel and vanilla, with the baking spice flavors and even some menthol taking a supporting role. Overall, I found the 2020 to be the superior batch, with a slightly sweeter and softer palate and a silkier, more satisfying mouthfeel.
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Read more
Redbreast Master Blender Talks New 27-Year-Old Expression
redbreast whiskey bottle

Redbreast, one of Ireland's most popular single pot still whiskeys, recently introduced the oldest expression in its core range, a 27-year-old whiskey matured in bourbon, port, and sherry casks. Master blender Billy Leighton and apprentice blender Dave McCabe were scheduled to travel to New York City earlier this month to launch the new expression, but those plans were disrupted, as was the entire world, by the coronavirus. Still, we were able to catch up with Leighton, an expert in all things Irish whiskey, over email to talk about this new release and the current state of Irish whiskey in general.

The Manual: How do you think Irish whiskey stands up to older age statements? Is it comparable to Scotch, or is the climate different enough to have a profound effect?

Read more