The Irishman 17 Years

(Or Similar Bottle)

“Painter Man”

Whisky Review # 985

Country: Ireland 🇮🇪
Brand: The Irishman
Matured and Bottled by/for: Walsh Whiskey Distillery Ltd.
Distilled at: Probably Midleton and/or Bushmills - Triple Distilled
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whiskey - Cask #: Unknown - Around 600 Bottles
Age: 17 Years (2001-2018)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 56% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: First Fill Sherry Butt
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Jan from The Netherlands. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 110-130 (April 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Borderline Okay
Buying Advice: 😐 Not my thing but if you like Varnished Dried Fruits go for it 😉

Colour: Dark Amber with shades of Brown and Orange (Natural Color)


Full, Matured and Sweet. In a Blind Tasting I would have guessed it to be older. The Sherry Cask influence is very clear with loads of Dried Fruit, Nuts, Toffee & Spices. Christmas is in the Air. The Alcohol is noticeable but well-integrated.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, German Butter Biscuits, Nuts, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Prunes and Dates, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger and Cloves.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Port Wine, Straw, Brandy, Puff Pastry filled with Peach or Apricot, Marzipan, Nougat, Maraschino Cherries, Dusty Earth, Wood Polish, Tobacco, Coffee Beans and Menthol/Mint.


Heavy, Oily and Thick. Very Sweet. The Alcohol burns a bit. Sour and Bitter notes develop to balance things out. The Cask influence is very strong and the Spirit feels older than it really is. The Varnish note is quite present and spoils the party a bit. A bit of Sulphur is around as well.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Dates and Apricots, Dark Red and Purple Berries, Roasted Nuts, Dark Chocolate, Orange Liqueur, Dusty Oak, Polished Wood, Floral Soap, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Mint and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Straw, Nougat, Espresso, Creme de Cassis, Grapefruit, Overripe Banana, Lemon, Nutmeg, Licorice and Cloves.


Middle-Long, Thick and quite Sweet. The Alcohol kicks and remains in your throat for a while together with a Varnish note I don't really like. A bit of Sourness and Bitterness towards the Dry end. I also find Roasted Barley, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla, Honey, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Apricots & Plums, Dark Red Berries, Grapefruit, Gooseberries, Nuts, Dusty Oak, Dark Chocolate, Mint, Herbs, Orange Liqueur, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Cloves, Aniseed, Floral Soap and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the size of the sample I only tasted this Irishman neat. I would guess though that a little Water would benefit this Single Malt.

Rating: 7 (*******)

Nose: 7 - Taste: 7 - Finish: 6.5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note did not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. As a result I have decided to use a new rating system this year. I will still give a rating for Nose, Taste and Finish but now on the scale from 1-10 whereby 1 represents the worst and 10 the best. The sum of these numbers will be divided by 3 to get the final score. I hope this new scoring makes it easier for you to understand what I thought about the whisky I'm reviewing.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink. Please let me know what you think of the new rating system and leave your comments and/or suggestions.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good


The Walsh Whiskey company was founded as Hot Irishman Ltd in 1999 by Bernard & Rosemary Walsh. In 2006 the company signed a long-term supply agreement with a distillery for the distilling and maturation of Irish Whiskey to their specifications. The Irishman blend was launched in 2007 followed by Writer's Tears in 2009. In 2014 the construction of Royal Oak distillery (Carlow) was started in a partnership with Lllva Saronno, the Italian drinks giant. The distillery started production in 2016. Unfortunately the partnership with Lllva Saronno as well as the involvement with the Royal Oak distillery ended a few years ago as the partners differed with respect to the development of the distillery in the future. I would not be surprised if the dispute was about the concept of Craft Distillery Vs. Global Whiskey Producer. Most likely, the Whiskey for the Walsh Brand is currently being distilled by Middleton and/or Bushmills.

I was looking forward to this one as it's one of my first fully-matured Irish Single Malts. Fully matured indeed as you would probably give it more than 17 years. The Sherry Cask influence is very strong and overpowers the Spirit. The Alcohol is very pungent and there's a Varnish-like off note that I don't like. I'm sure many people will like this type of Whiskey and it's not really bad but it's not my thing. It smells like Christmas but on the Palate and in the Finish I got images of a Painter disguised as Santa Claus 😎

Cheers! 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                            April 7, 2023

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