The Irishman Founders Reserve Caribbean Cask – Founder’s Reserve with a Hint of St Lucia Rum!
Just 12 Casks have been produced for 7 countries
Walsh Whiskey Distillery has released the second expression in The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Cask Series, a limited edition finished in rum casks from the tiny tropical Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Caribbean Cask Finish, a super-premium whiskey, is a rare vatting of Single Pot Still and Single Malt whiskeys finished for 6 months in Chairman’s Reserve Rum casks.
The Irishman is a quite unique Irish Whiskey as it is a blend of 70% Single Malt Irish Whiskey and 30% Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. This so called “Champagne Blend” of the two primary Irish Whiskey types is of course 100% copper pot still distilled.
The Irishman Founders Reserve has long been one of my personal favourite Irish Whiskeys. While working in Sarajevo last year, I brought more bottles of The Irishman back with me from trips home to Dublin than any other Irish Whiskey expression for personal use, as corporate gifts or for use in my whiskey tasting events for local charities.
In recent years, as part of his research into new cask finishes for his portfolio of whiskeys, Walsh Whiskey founder, Bernard Walsh, has sourced casks from a range of countries including Spain, France, China, Kentucky and Italy. This limited edition, of just 12 casks, began in 2014 when he made the trip to the island of Saint Lucia in the West Indies in search of rare casks to give a special expression to his original whiskey.
The Irishman Founder’s Reserve, is distilled entirely in copper pot stills and Bernard’s journey took him to visit the famous St. Lucia Distillers (established 1932) where they also use copper pot stills to distill their rum.
St. Lucia Distillers dates back to 1932. First fashioned in 1999, Chairman’s Reserve Rum represents the iconic style of St. Lucian rum. It is a marriage of well aged rums distilled in both copper pot stills and Coffey column stills, matured separately, and then re-entered into oak for blending and final finishing.
While there, Bernard handpicked 12 oak casks and he chose to age them in St. Lucia Distillers’ iconic Chairman’s Reserve Rum for a minimum of 2 years from 2015. The casks were subsequently brought to Ireland in the autumn of 2017 and used to finish a batch of The Irishman Founder’s Reserve for 6 months.
John Kelly, Commercial Director, Walsh Whiskey Distillery, said:
“St. Lucia Distillers, who produce Chairman’s Reserve Rum, are renowned as a prestigious operation first established and run by the Barnard family for almost 90 years. Bernard was confident that he would be able to select from a high quality stock of well cared for casks imbued with a classical rum flavour. This Caribbean Cask Finish release will complement our highly successful ‘The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Marsala Cask’ finishes of 2017. We hope the lucky few who secure bottles will enjoy this unique whiskey which is characterised by tropical fruits and spices.”
The release is limited to just 12 casks with 380 bottles per cask. Each bottle is individually numbered and signed by Bernard Walsh. This premium whiskey is now for sale across just 7 selected international markets namely; Ireland (including Dublin Airport), the USA, Canada, Russia, Germany, France and Holland. Of course bottles can also be purchased by visitors to Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak in Ireland.
Unfortunately due to prior “real life” commitments, I was unable to join my fellow Irish Whiskey bloggers at the formal launch event last Friday afternoon at Walsh Whiskey’s Distillery In Royal Oak, Carlow. Luckily, I was free to meet with the Walsh Whiskey marketing team at a private trade event in the Irish Whiskey Museum the evening before. Here I met with Walsh Whiskey’s marketing team led by Commercial Director John Kelly and Trade Marketing Manager Clare Minnock.
One of Clare’s very clever ideas when sending out tasting samples to bloggers such as myself is to include a small reference sample of the cask finish liquid such as Marsala Wine or in this case St Lucia distilled Chairman’s Reserve Rum.
So effective is this tactic, that I have not only placed an order for my own personal follow-on supply of The Irishman Founders Reserve Caribbean Cask, but I have also placed a similar order for a bottle of St Lucia Chairman’s Reserve Rum from their Irish Agent (also present at the launch), Jamie Hunt of Tindal Wine Merchants who import Chairman’s Reserve Rum into Ireland.
Walsh Whiskey Tasting Notes for The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Caribbean Cask Finish Whiskey
The Irishman Founder’s Reserve – Caribbean Cask Finish is triple distilled entirely in copper pot stills, natural non-chill filtered, aged in American oak bourbon barrels before being finished for 6 months in the Chairman’s Reserve Rum Casks and, finally, bottled at 46% ABV.
Exotic Rum, apricots and summer fruits.
Avalanche of tropical fruits and vibrant spices
Fig, banana and oak spices intermingle in a spectacular Caribbean twist.
Stuart’s Tasting Notes. for The Irishman Founders reserve Caribbean Cask Finish
As you’ll have read in my previous notes, I’m more of a Single Pot Still and Single Grain than a Single Malt Fan. I always declare this weakness when reviewing anything with a significant Single Malt makeup.
Nose: A strong maltiness beautifully tamed by the Pot Still spice which in turn is calmed by a warm rush of sweetness from the rum finish.
Taste: Malt to the fore. There is tension here between the three forces which excites rather than disturbs the palate. A splash of water (no more than a teaspoon per measure) releases the tension, smooths the 46% ABV tingle and brings the rum influence closer to the fore. The flavour action is firmly mid- left tongue and on the very roof of the mouth from the rum influence. If I were having three, it would be neat – water – neat. This is a real aficionados whiskey to be savoured and analysed.
Finish: Gentle finish where lingering malt notes are softened by the rum sweetness.
I’ve awarded The Irishman Founders Reserve Caribbean Cask Finish a 3 Pooka Premium Irish Whiskey Rating.
I could not let this review pass without commenting on the sample of Chairman’s Reserve Rum provided to me for this review.
Back in the 90’s , I spent quite a lot of my spare time on my second life passion other than whiskey which is sailing and boating. During those carefree years, I sailed many thousands of nautical miles exploring Caribbean waters around the islands of Jamaica, St Lucia and Bermuda. Along the way, I also had the pleasure of learning about Caribbean Rums, Cigars, Coffees and of course, Caribbean Cuisine.
It was great to renew my past, brief acquaintance with rum from St Lucia. A good friend and fellow Irish Whiskey Blogger reserves a very special expression for her favourite spirits which perfectly describes St Lucia Distillers Chairman’s Reserve Rum. “It’s like a hug in a Glass!” No further comment necessary.
This Caribbean Cask Finish expression from Walsh Whiskey is an Irishman wrapped in a warm Caribbean Hug!
Stuart McNamara is a Whisky and Whiskey Blogger. Stuart is the owner and Editor in Chief of WhiskeyBlogger.com, IrishWhiskey.com, The Irish Whiskey Trail, The Dublin Whiskey Trail, Irish Whiskey Way Atlantic Coast Whiskey Trail , Haig Whisky and The Scottish Whisky Trail. Follow Stuart @WhiskeyBlogger on Social Media.