It isn’t often we encounter something truly unique in the whiskey world, but finally just such a bottle has crossed our desk. Brothership is a blend of two whiskeys from two countries: a 10-year-old Irish whiskey and a 10-year-old American whiskey, mixed together in a ratio of 52% Irish to 48% American whiskey. The whiskey is bottled by the sister distiller of Ireland’s Connacht Distillery: New Liberty Distillery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Both of the whiskeys in the blend are sourced. Connacht/New Liberty does not provide any information on the provenance (or production details) of either one.
Let’s give it a try.
The nose is very delicate, which is not unusual for an Irish whiskey but feels like a bit of a letdown, as I was hoping for a bit more going on from the start. Instead, it offers just a little heat, some toasty grains, and a touch of brown sugar. As it gets some air, however, an orange, almost sherried, note starts to emerge.
The palate finds a lot more going on from the start. Attacking with a slug of bright malt, the whiskey quickly runs to notes of honey, milk chocolate, and fresh cream, all hallmarks of Irish whiskey to one degree or another. But sure enough, there’s vanilla here, plus a lingering spice that catches in the back of the throat — not just baking spice, but black pepper, too — the stuff of an American whiskey (particularly bourbon). Only on the finish does much fruit emerge — banana and a little juicy orange — an intriguing melding of both worlds.
Brotherhood isn’t a blow-your-socks-off game-changer, but it does open a new door that I hadn’t really considered knocking on. What other transcontinental blends might take whiskey in an unexpected, new direction? Hey, if you have a solid liquor cabinet, there’s no need to wait for someone else to invent it.
A- / $40 / connachtwhiskey.com