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The Irishman Founder’s Reserve

Review: The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Irish Whiskey   (85/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted June 28, 2017
(Revised January 31, 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.

The subject of this review is Walsh Whiskey’s flagship brand The Irishman Founder’s Reserve. This 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 was aged in American ex-bourbon casks, and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.

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 8.5/10

The whiskey has a nice amber/copper colour in the glass. When I tilt my glencairn and give the spirit a slow twirl, I notice a the whiskey is light bodied with a crest that drops slender legs down the inside of that glass.

The immediate nose brings a nice combination of fine oak and grain spices forward with hints of ginger and orange peel in the breezes. This is quickly followed by nutty barley grain with aromas of hazelnut, almond, burlap and leather. A light sweep of vanilla with hints of baking spice (cinnamon and nutmeg) works its way into the air above the glass as do light impression of poplar and willow.

The breezes suggest a pleasant easy-going dram.

In the Mouth 51/60

There is a light sweetness present which complements the oak spice and a touch of alcohol heat which smacks the tonsils gently. Barley is the star of the whisky with fine oak spice playing a supporting role. Joining the nutty barley are flavours of ginger and vanilla with hints of cinnamon and peppermint.

Impressions of orange peel struggle to combine with the light toffee sweetness to form marmalade, and the nutty almond flavour tries to follow the same path towards marzipan. The journey is not quite made for either the orange peel nor the almond; but the flavours achieved are quite pleasant nonetheless. The promise of the nose suggested a whiskey which would be light and easy to enjoy. That promise was fulfilled.

In the Throat 12.5/15

A light butterscotch sweetness is apparent in the exit with oak spice, bits of leather and a flavour impression akin to graham wafers all having their final say as the whisky is swallowed. After the swallow, light baking spices linger just a little while before they disappear. The whiskey is triple distilled which creates a lighter bodied dram; however the lack of column distilled spirit in the blend allows the whiskey to display a little length in the finish.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I like The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Whiskey. Barley plays the starring role in a flagship whiskey which does well to promote the brand. Although the spirit is light and easy to enjoy, it nonetheless also carries the subtle complexities of the pot still within its flavour profile. My final score of 85/100 represents a whiskey which sits squarely in that space where it will serve well as either a sipper or as a premium cocktail mixer.

You may find a summertime cocktail suggestion below.

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


Suggested Cocktail

Here is a refreshing tall bar drink just made for those warm lazy days of summer.

The Basil Mint Cooler

2 oz The Irishman Founders Reserve
3/8 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Fresh Basil
Fresh Mint
1 Tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)

Muddle a few Mint and Basil leaves with the wet ingredients in a mixing glass
Strain into an ice filled rocks glass
Lengthen with a splash of Ginger-ale


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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