Ready for a new Irish that isn’t a special release of something from Jameson? Read on!
The Sexton is a made in the North Coast of Ireland (at Bushmills, surely, as the two brands have the same ownership, the company Proximo), and is made from a 100% malted barley mash that is triple distilled in copper pots and aged for four years in first, second and third fill Oloroso sherry butts. The master blender is Alex Thomas, one of few females employed in the whiskey world that are masters of anything (i.e. distilling or blending).
The bottle itself is also worth special note: It’s a squat, black hexagonal decanter (“sexton,” get it?) that is quite striking. Whoever gives out awards for booze packaging should take immediate notice of The Sexton.
As for what’s inside, perhaps owing to some of its unconventional production, this is indeed a rather unusual expression of Irish whiskey, even for a single malt. The nose is immediately a bit weedy, quite green and vegetal, but undercut with notes of savory spices — think rosemary, not cloves — and a slightly nutty, winey character. Give it some time, and the green character will fade a bit.
On the palate, the whiskey is more straightforward and quite charming. Bold nougat and spice notes round out a palate rich with nutty almond, toasty malt, and hints of cocoa powder, which linger far longer than expected. The finish sees some more of that winey character hanging about, which, along with the nutty elements, is the only real indication that this has been aged in sherry casks.
All told, this is an Irish that drinks more like a young single malt Scotch than almost any other Irish whiskey I can think of. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, well, is up to you.
By the way, that bottle may look cool, but it splashes pretty badly when you pour from it. Use caution.
B+ / $28 / thesexton.com