The Sexton Single Malt

Maker: Proximo, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA (Beckmann Family)

Distillery: Undisclosed but almost certainly Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK

Style: Sherry cask Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Sge: NAS (4 y/o according to some other reviewers)

ABV: 40% (Bottle reads: “80 proof”)

Michigan State Minimum: $32

Appearance: Dark Copper.

Nose: Old sherry, oak, peach.

Palate: Medium bodied and sweet. Mango, apple, vanilla, caramel.

Finish: Creamy, with stone fruit and alcohol.

Parting words: The first thing that stands out about The Sexton is the, uh, unique bottle. It resembles a giant hexagonal inkwell, uses a variety of fonts, all in gold type, and features a skeleton wearing a top hat. What is the significance of it all? I have no idea. If you ever find out, please let me know.

The whiskey itself is slightly less mysterious. The left side of the label (which you have to turn the bottle to read) claims that it was distilled in County Antrim in (Northern) Ireland. Knowledgeable whiskey enthusiasts know what this means: Bushmills. Add to that the fact that the brand is owned by Proximo, which also owns Bushmills, makes this an open and shut case. Perhaps this was an attempt to move an excess of sherried Malt Proximo had sitting around the distillery.

Despite the weird packaging and half-assed attempts at misdirection, this is actually pretty good. America seems to agree with me (for once), since The Sexton is apparently the best selling Single Malt Irish Whiskey in the country. It’s not as interesting as Connemara or some of the other Irish Single Malts available in Michigan, but it is a lot cheaper, half the price in some cases. The sherry is not overwhelming either, which is a big plus to me, a person who doesn’t like sherry all that much.

Anyway, The Sexton Single Malt is a good sip and a good baragain. It is recommended.

Rye World

Maker: Krogman’s, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Distiller: Ross & Squibb (formerly MGPI), Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA

Style: Single Barrel Indiana High Rye Rye Whiskey.

Age: 4 y/o

Proof: 112 (56% ABV)

Notes: 95% Rye, 5% malt, #4 barrel char.

Price: $25 (Vine & Table)

Appearance: Medium copper.

Nose: Bold. Tarragon and leather.

Palate: Full-bodied and semi-sweet. Wintergreen, burn. More bitter with water. Char and peppermint.

Finish: Extra-minty toothpaste, apricot. With water, a little fruit but mostly faded starlight mint.

Parting words: As you may have guessed, Rye World is the Rye equivalent of the Bourbon World Vine & Table single barrel selections. That said, it’s a little less distinct than those two, since it’s basically just the standard high rye rye whiskey recipe from Ross & Squibb. That’s fine, though, since it’s a good example of that recipe, high proof, and cheap. If you like Bulleit Rye (apparently the best selling rye in the US at the moment!), you’ll love this. It’s aggressively herbaceous and minty, but take it easy with the water. It wasn’t able to withstand as much as I thought it would.

If you like Indiana Rye, Bourbon World is recommended.

Penderyn Legend

Maker: Penderyn, Penderyn, Aberdare, Wales, UK.

Style: Single malt Welsh whisky, bourbon barrel cask aged.

Age: NAS (at least three years old)

ABV: 43%

Michigan state minimum: $60

Notes: No color added, unfiltered.

Appearance: Straw.

Nose: Juicy apricot, mango, mandarin orange, alcohol, bourbon barrel.

Palate: Full bodied and creamy. Semi-dry. Orange sherbet.

Finish: Maltier, but still fruity with a bit of oak and alcohol.

Parting words: Penderyn distillery was founded in 2004. The early part of the twenty-first century saw the rebirth of the whisky industry in England and Wales. Penderyn was one of the first distilleries of that revival and was one of the first to get widespread distribution outside the UK. The distillery is located about thirty miles northwest of Cardiff, in Brecon Beacons National Park. Since today is the feast day of St. David, the sixth century monk who is the patron saint of Wales, I thought it might be a good day for my first Welsh whisky review.

Legend is Penderyn’s entry level single malt. The others available in Michigan are Myth (bourbon & “rejuvenated” casks, $70), Celt (finished in peated quarter casks, $70), Madeira Cask ($80), and Sherrywood ($90). At least they were all available in Michigan. They seem to have dropped off the most recent price book, although they’re still on shelves in many liquor stores in Southeastern Michigan.

It’s easy to taste why Penderyn has been so successful. Legend is a well-made, easy-drinking malt roughly on par with Scotch competitors in the same price range. If I can find them somewhere, I’d love to give the other expressions a try, especially Celt. Penderyn Legend is recommended.