Both these whiskeys attracted a degree of controversy when originally released.
Most of it centred around the interpretation of ‘rules’ – but I was curious to taste the results.
John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey, 40%
Named after a famous Irish/American boxer of the late 1800’s – which attracted initial upset – an original bottling of John L Sullivan displayed the legend ‘Irish Bourbon’.
Attempting to celebrate the Irish/American heritage with a blend of Irish & Bourbon whiskeys fell foul of labelling laws & the bottle was withdrawn.
Before me is a sample from a bottle labelled John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey – aged in bourbon casks.
Pale straw in colour, shy nose, not giving much away, smooth easy palate, gentle growing warmth with a hug of sweet vanilla & caramel, flourish of mild spice on the rear.
An easy going entry level offering.
Celtic Nations, 46%
A collaboration between the Irish Teeling Whiskey Co & Scotch Bruichladdich Distillery to create a harmonious blend of single malts to celebrate the 2 nations spirits.
Didn’t meet the approval of the SWA & was banned.
Pale straw colour, gorgeous expressive nose of gentle peat coming through, the palate displays more soft Irish notes before the embers of a peat fire warms up the finish.
An entertaining soft peater.
Both of these whiskeys had great potential.
The pugilist inspired John L Sullivan pre-dated the global success of Proper Twelve & there’s been subsequent Irish/American Whiskey/Bourbon collaborations on the market since.
Cross nation blends have been a staple earning for both Scotch & Irish distilleries over the years – mainly for the lower end of the market. Perhaps this high profile open & transparent offering was just too much for the SWA?
Whatever the reasons – controversy is not a tasting note I encountered in either of these blends.