Recently, we here at Cocktail Enthusiast HQ came to the realization that we don’t drink enough Irish Whiskey. Taking such matters seriously, we finished the remaining dregs of our Jameson Black Barrel and set out to procure a new bottle. That bottle: Concannon Irish Whiskey, a moderately-priced dram that, for the most part, is favorably regarded on the boozy interwebs. So we figured it was a good candidate to crack open, right then and there, and give it a spin.
Concannon Irish Whiskey has roots in both Ireland and California. See, an enterprising chap by the name of James Concannon sailed from Ireland to California in 1865 and established the Concannon Vineyard. From there, he made a bunch of wine. Fast forward almost 150 years, and the Concannon family finally got on the whiskey train. And in collaboration with Cooley Distillers (makers of such fine things as Kilbeggan and Connemara), a Concannon whiskey was born.
Concannon Irish Whiskey is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys. It’s first aged in small bourbon casks for a minimum of four years. Then, in homage to the brand’s wine heritage, the whiskey is finished in petite sirah wine barrels for a few months. The result: a pretty decent dram. On the nose, there’s honey, apple and malt. Take a sip, and it’s very mellow. There’s more honey and apple, plus a touch of oaky vanilla. Those wine barrels don’t shine through too much — we’d have expected more fruit and spice — but they might play a role in the whiskey’s overall mildness. It finishes medium-length and dry, with some oak lingering toward the end.
We were surprised at just how mild this one drinks. It’s not particularly complex, but it tastes fine and goes down easy. Pair that with its modest price tag, and Concannon is the epitome of an everyday whiskey. If you’re looking for something with a bit more punch, well, there’s plenty of that to go around. But you can’t really go wrong with this one.
– 40% Alcohol by Volume
CE Rating: ★★★