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Dunville’s VR Old Irish Whiskey PX Cask Finish (Aged 10 Years)

Review: Dunville’s VR Old Irish Whiskey PX Cask Finish    (89.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 9, 2017

Dunville’s is a whiskey brand first established in Belfast during the 19th Century. Originally a whiskey blender, Dunville & Co. built the Royal Irish Distilleries, on the edge of Belfast in 1869. Unfortunately, Prohibition had a severe impact on the Company as they lost access to US markets during the first quarter of the 20th Century. Although the company weathered that storm, it continued to decline after Prohibition until the firm was wound up (still in a profitable state) in 1936.

The Dunville’s brand was reinstated through the Echlinville Distillery which became Northern Ireland’s first licensed distillery in over 125 years and began distilling its first spirit in 2013. Dunville’s VR Old Irish Whiskey PX Cask Finish is a 10-year-old Single Malt finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. (It was named Best Irish Single Malt Under 12 Years at the 2015 World Whiskies Awards.)

The spirit is bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

I am not fond of the bottle presentation this expression of Dunville’s Irish Whiskey. It’s pretty obvious to me that the company is trying to invoke an image of a classic old style Irish Whiskey with a label that looks like it could have been produced 100 years ago. The trouble is that the label misses the mark. This is a 10-year-old Single Malt Whiskey, yet this fact is obscured by a busy label that seems to imply something produced when the Irish Whiskey being produced would have been much younger and less refined.

In the Glass 9/10

The whiskey displays itself as a nice golden spirit in my glencairn. When I give my glass a tilt and slow twirl, the spirit leaves a light sheen on the inside of the glass which (although it takes a few seconds) begins to show slightly thickened legs sliding back down into the whiskey below.

The breezes above the glass carry aromas of malted barley combined with oak spice, vanilla, honey, meadow grass, and bits of almond. There is also a firm fruitiness present in the air with both dry fruit (raisins in particular), pears, and impressions of orange peel. Herbal impressions wander into my consciousness (heather, sawgrass and bits of menthol), which combined with the oak spice reminds me of dry tobacco.

In the Mouth 54.5/60

The complexity noted in the breezes come across the palate with a robust flavour of malted barley and oak combined with butterscotch vanilla and baking spice (nutmeg and cinnamon). I find it refreshing that I am not being whacked over the head by the PX cask enhancement. Dry fruit flavours from the sherry cask are present (raisins and dates), but they are acting to complement the overall flavour profile rather than to beat the other More fruit in the form of canned peaches and pears make an appearance as well.

On second sip I notice some citrus (orange marmalade) and almond moving towards marzipan. The malted barley as well as the oak and baking spices are gaining strength making the whisky more enjoyable with each taste. I suspect I should have allowed the spirit more time to breathe as it certainly seems to grow in the glass.

When I add some ice to my glass, some chocolate flavours come forward. It’s hard to tell whether I liked the whiskey more when I was tasting it neat or whether the ice is preferable. I certainly would not turn down a glass either way. An Old Fashioned is certainly not out of the question.

In the Throat 13/15

The finale carries a rush of peppery oak spice which taps the tonsils on the way down. Lingering flavours of  butterscotch and baking spice are followed by a gush of dry fruit.

The Afterburn 9/10

Dunville’s VR Old Irish Whisky PX Cask is a very nice departure from the typical light Irish Whisky flavour profile. In many ways the Irish Whiskey tastes like a Single Malt from Speyside with the firm fruits and the tremendous malted barley flavour profile. Count me in as one who loves this take on Irish Whiskey.

You may read some of my other Whiskey Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

Irish Whisky Old Fashioned with Aztec Chocolate Bitters.

1 1/2 oz Dunville’s VR Old Irish Whiskey PX Cask Finish
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 Ratio)
1 dash Aztec Angostura Bitters (Fees Brothers)
Twist of Orange Peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


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