When The Irishman Met The Sicilian

Photo: michaelorourkephotography.ie
Walsh Whiskey Distillery has released two, new, very limited edition, super-premium expressions from The Irishman range. Both were finished in handpicked Marsala wine ‘hogshead’ casks from the Florio winery in Sicily which is owned by Walsh Whiskey Distillery’s strategic partner Illva Saronno.

Hogshead casks are larger than standard whiskey casks, however with evaporation accounting for the ‘Angel’s Share’, just 2,970 bottles of The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Florio Marsala Cask Finish were filled in mid-August after a minimum of 12 months finishing in the hogshead casks. The nine casks will be spread across seven markets: Ireland, Italy, France, Holland, Switzerland, Travel Retail and Germany. This triple-distilled, non chill filtered whiskey has an ABV of 46%, which is 6% ABV stronger than The Irishman Founder’s Reserve.

Just a single hogshead cask was filled with The Irishman 12 Year Old Single Malt resulting in 320 bottles of this expression which will be exclusively available at the Walsh Whiskey Distillery in Royal Oak, Carlow, Ireland. Also triple-distilled and non chill filtered, The Irishman 12 Year Old Single Malt – Florio Marsala Cask Finish is a Cask Strength whiskey with an ABV of 56%.

The creation of these whiskeys began in 2015 when Bernard Walsh went to the Florio winery in the town of Marsala in Sicily as part of his international research into new cask finishes for his portfolio of whiskeys which has also seen him visit Spain, France, Portugal, St. Lucia, China, Kentucky and other parts of Italy. During a tasting of the famously sweet Marsala wines in the Florio cellars, he became convinced of the potential for an exciting expression to result from finishing his signature whiskey, The Irishman Founder’s Reserve, in Marsala wine casks.

Following the tasting, Bernard personally selected the 10 hogshead casks for return to Ireland for filling with The Irishman Founder’s Reserve. He made a last minute decision to add one more twist to the innovation by assigning one of the hogshead casks to be filled with The Irishman 12 Year Old Single Malt for a minimum 12 months’ finish.

Commenting on the successful outcome of the project, Bernard Walsh said: “I have always loved sweet tasting wines, so I was drawn to the Marsala from the outset, but I didn’t want it to overpower The Irishman expressions either. I am delighted that we have achieved two beautifully balanced whiskeys which we are proud to make the ninth and tenth expressions in our portfolio.”

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