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The Irishman Caribbean Cask Finish Irish Whiskey

Review: The Irishman Caribbean Cask Finish Irish Whiskey   (81.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 13, 2019

Bernard and Rosemary Walsh began producing their own independent Irish Whiskey brands in 2007 with the introduction of The Irishman 70 (aka The Irishman Original Clan in the USA) and The Irishman – Single Malt. In 2009 they expanded the portfolio with the introduction Writers Tears, a boutique brand which was created to bring additional nuance to the Irish Whiskey Category.

Irishman Founder’s Reserve (see review here) is a direct descendant of The Irishman 70, made to the same recipe of 70 % Single Malt Irish Whiskey and 30 % Single Pot Still Whiskey (with no column distilled whiskey in the blend at all). The triple distilled spirit is aged in American ex-bourbon casks.

The Irishman Caribbean Cask Finish Irish Whiskey is the second expression in The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Cask Series. This limited edition Founder’s Reserve Whiskey, after being aged in bourbon barrels is then finished for 6 months in Chairman’s Reserve Rum casks from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.  The spirit is then bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.

The Caribbean Cask Finish Irish Whiskey is part of the 7 brand Walsh Whiskey feature which launched in the LCBO Whisky Shop on February 7, 2019.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Irishman arrives in the squat long-necked bottle shown to the left. The neck is slightly bubbled which makes it easier to grab and the long neck makes the bottle easy to pour without spilling. I would describe both the labeling upon the bottle and the display box as masculine and each give the consumer a positive impression of the brand. The only niggle is the metallic screw cap which cheapens the look.

In the Glass 8/10

When I sampled The Irishman Caribbean Cask Irish Whiskey, I sampled it side by side with the Walsh Whiskey flagship brand The Irishman Founder’s Reserve. My review therefore contains some inevitable comparisons between the two expressions.

When I brought the two sibling spirits to my nose, I found the flagship Founder’s Reserve to be a pleasant easy-going dram which showcased barely grain combined with oak spice, a light malty sweetness and mild impressions of vanilla and almond. The Caribbean Cask Finish Whiskey. however, seemed to wear a mask. The nose was very retrained at first as if the barley and oak were unable to rise up out of the glass. There was a light cane sweetness apparent which seemed to cover over the barley grain and the oak spice. In fact, it seemed to me that some of the residual rum from the finishing cask was competing for my attention taking some of the shine off of the underlying whiskey.

After the tasting, when the two glasses were emptied, I examined each of them again. The empty Founder’s Reserve Glass was teaming with smells of clean grain and straw, again showcasing the barley within the whisky. However, the glass which had contained the Caribbean Cask Finish Whiskey had a taint of both excess sweetness and an unfortunate bit sourness rising into the air. It seems the battle for attention between the whiskey and the rum was lost by both sides.

In the Mouth 49/60

The Caribbean Cask Irish Whiskey is bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume. This is a full 6 % more alcohol higher than the Founder’s Reserve (bottle at 40 %) which in fact gives the Caribbean Cask expression 15 % more total alcohol content. This extra heat is obvious in the delivery which leaves the mouth tingling with impressions of orange peel zest. The sweetness of the Caribbean Cask Whiskey is also heightened, and there is a distinct impression of cane flavour which is part of this sweetness. As it was on the nose, I found the extra sweetness seemed to interfere with the impressions of barley and oak which are typical of Irish Whiskey. These flavours did break through as did flavours of vanilla. leather and almond, but they were not as obvious as they were in the Founder’s Reserve Glass.

There was also a bit of unwelcome bitterness in the Caribbean Cask Finish whiskey. I have encountered this note of bitterness before in rum cask whiskeys, and I suspect (based upon that sour note I noticed in the empty glass) that perhaps some wayward sulfur has found its way into the dram by way of the rum cask.

When I added a lump of ice to my glass, the whiskey was much better. The sweetness diminished as did the zestfulness of the dram. I began to taste more vanilla and almond, and the balance between the opposing flavours was much better.

In The Throat 12/15

Is that a light touch of burn I feel as the whisky slides down, or perhaps this just a feature of the extra push of 46 % alcohol. The exit is mid-length with flavours of vanilla and almond featured during the swallow. Orange peel zest and firm oak and alcohol spice settle in leaving the palate and throat heated.

The Afterburn 8/10

When two drams are sampled side by side it is almost inevitable that you will pick one over the other. In my case I definitely preferred The Irishman Founder’s Reserve which is a fine example of Irish Whiskey over The Irishman Caribbean Cask Finish which I felt had sort of lost its way. The influence of the Caribbean Rum seemed to diminish the whiskey rather than to enhance it, and I could not shake off the impression that the rum finish and the Whiskey were in competition rather than in harmony within my glass. The sour note in my empty glass gave me further reason for dismay.

However, I do not want to overstate things. I enjoyed The Irishman Caribbean Cask Irish Whiskey over ice, and with the last bit of my sample (I was given a 100 ml bottle) I made a nice old-fashioned cocktail which I have shared below.

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


Suggested Cocktail

Suggested Recipe:

The Irishman Rum Cask Old Fashioned

1 1/2 oz The Irishman Caribbean Cask Irish Whiskey
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
3 drops Fees Old Fashioned Bitters
3 large Ice Cubes
Strip of Orange Peel

Add the ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Add orange peel and stir
Allow the cocktail to sit a few minutes so that the flavours can mingle

Enjoy Responsibly!

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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