I was motivated by the unique collaborative effort of Connacht Whiskey Company & New Liberty Distillery to combine 10 year old Irish & American Whiskeys in a single bottling – & I was also under the impression the American component contained a high rye content.
After the recent release of Powers Rye I was keen to revisit Brothership.
Aware that 6 years is WAY beyond the recommended 2 year time limit for opened spirits bottles – I was a little apprehensive.
How had I allowed this shocking situation to develop?
My constant desire to taste new product had built up a large stash of opened bottles I couldn’t possibly safely consume on my own.
To address this my ‘collection’ – as it is – is always open for sample swaps. Also – with the collaboration of World Famous Sean’s Bar in Athlone – I’ve been holding monthly ‘Whiskey By The Water’ tastings where a small group of us gather, drink & debate the virtues of the varied whiskey – & other spirits – featured.
You’re welcome to contact me to get involved in either initiative.
But back to Brothership!
Well the cork appears unblemished.
A fairly light coloured whiskey greets me – along with a rather shy & muted nose.
An easy start to the palate slowly grows with gentle peppery spices.
The finish flourishes with prickly spiciness tingling away to a dry lip-smacking finale.
Brothership’s charms appear to have not been diminished by it’s long time in storage.
A highly entertaining whiskey!
Blog article on how long to store opened bottles here.
I picked up this bargain basement blend working my way through all the whiskeys available in my local Dunnes Stores.
JG Kinsey also comes with gin & vodka options & I had it down as a store brand.
Jacob G Kinsey was an american gentleman who founded the Linfield Distillery in 1892. Pennsylvania was – and still is – associated with rye whiskey. A successful business flourished, floundered, merged & was subsumed into the giant International Beverage Holdings Group.
Kinsey’s name lives on with this current offering – plus numerous blogs & posts about the now abandoned plant at Linfield.
Produced by West Cork Distillers for a 3rd party – this whiskey is a blend of Irish single malts & grain whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in ex-rye casks from Tamworth Distilling, NH.
An American rye whiskey made with predominately american rye grain in charred virgin oak barrels by the FEW Distillery, Evanstown, Chicago.
I like to see a variation in the colour of the whiskeys I drink. It foretells of the different smells, flavours & overall drinking experiences to be enjoyed.
FEW came out the darkest – reflecting the use of charred virgin oak casks. There was a jump down then to the paler duo of PrizeFight & Brothership with Sunken Still coming in with an almost pale yellowy hue.
Brothership kicks off with a soft barley sweetness before developing muted rye spice. PrizeFight comes across with a more fresher, clearer nose & an equally enjoyable spice. Sunken Still has a wonderfully aromatic floral bouquet whilst FEW delivers a classic peppery rye punch.
The soft smooth delivery of Brothership quickly develops into a lovely rich dry spice. PrizeFight has a cleaner palate with a slightly less intense rye spice.
Meanwhile the Sunken Still’s fragrant bouquet flows through into a wonderful cornucopia of taste on the tongue with a rich dry spice that is simply divine. Beautiful.
The FEW doesn’t disappoint either. To start there is that caramel/vanilla bourbon like feel followed by an almost classic rich peppery spice that tingles & teases as it drys the palate.
PrizeFight’s lovely spice fades slowly, only marginally beaten by the warmer, drier spice of Brothership. FEW lasts the longest whilst Sunken Still manages that dry floral spice right to the end.
What stands out to me is that whilst having no rye grain in the original mix – the rich dry spicy notes of a decent rye whiskey still come through in the PrizeFight whiskey simply by it’s time in the ex-rye casks. It may lack the overall dry mouthfeel of a true rye – but it certainly makes a worthy addition to the rye cannon.
Brothership benefits by the addition of a real rye whiskey in the mix which heightens the rich dry rye spiciness on both the taste & finish which is not initially apparent on the sweet barely nose.
The FEW could almost set the benchmark of what a good rye whiskey should be. A straight forward crisp peppery spice with a marvelously long dry finish. Superb.
Sunken Still adds something extra to that dry spice by giving it a floral display of flavours.
For taking rye whiskey the extra mile – Sunken Still from Belgium comes out tops in this taste-off.
FEW from America comes in a close second
The Irish-American hybrid that is Brothership follows closely behind – leaving Ireland’s PrizeFight bringing up the rear.
I would commend PrizeFight for being able to hold it’s own among such worthy competition in that they all contain rye in their original mix.
It just goes to prove the powerful influence the maturation in wood has to the overall taste.