Black Irish: Is it a whiskey or a beer? It’s neither and both

Creator says spirit ‘will stretch Irish whiskey the way spiced rum moved rum forward’

Black Irish is a ‘very approachable accessible drink with some beautiful flavours that makes it easy to drink solo’, says its creator

Black Irish is a ‘very approachable accessible drink with some beautiful flavours that makes it easy to drink solo’, says its creator

 

Is it a whiskey? Is it a beer? Black Irish is a blend of both and therefore cannot be called either. Irish distillers have had success with caskmates, a whiskey finished in stout barrels, and several craft brewers have aged their beers in whiskey casks, but Black Irish has taken this a step further by combining triple-distilled Irish malt whiskey with stout.

Whiskey is usually “cut” or watered down to about 40 per cent abv before bottling (unless it is labelled cask strength). Black Irish is “cut” with a strong stout and a barrel-aged stout. To add further flavour, it is infused with chocolate, malt, roasted barley and spices. 

The man behind Black Irish is David Phelan of Dublin-based Darker Still Spirits Company. He has previously worked with Boru Vodka, Irish Mist and Baileys. “I have a history in innovation and brand development of drinks, which I love,’’ he tells me.

“I got involved with a couple of guys from Drinksology in Belfast, who are great with brand development, plus Adrian Walker, formerly of Coole Swan, who is a genius with liquids. I had this image of a guy in a snug with a beer and a chaser and wanted to combine those two drinks.” 

Beautiful flavours

The liquid is 80 per cent Irish whiskey, with a deep No.4 char, from Great Northern Distillery, and the stout is from O’Hara’s.

“We are bringing together really good Irish whiskey and really good Irish stout with extra flavours to accentuate both. Black Irish is a spirit drink stretching Irish whiskey the way spiced rum moved rum forward. I think whiskey needs a bit of innovation and this is a completely different interpretation.” The bottle and label design is unique too, with both crown and flip cap and references to classic stout.

“I see it as a very approachable accessible drink with some beautiful flavours that makes it easy to drink solo. It can be drunk straight as a chaser but for those who like a long drink it is fantastic with coke (which Irish whiskey isn’t) and makes a great Irish coffee.” 

Black Irish is available from O’Brien’s and independent off licences for €35. For more information see blackirishspirit.com.  

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.