A Hybrid Whiskey?
A Hybrid Whiskey?
The first to bring together the best of Irish and American distilling traditions
Last year, the whiskey world was rocked when Brian Nation, the former master distiller for some of Ireland's most famous whiskeys—from bestsellers like Jameson to rarified releases like Midleton—left his job (and his hometown of Cork) to come to America. He came onboard with a craft operation in Minneapolis, Minnesota to create Keeper's Heart Whiskey.
“To be involved in a team that is creating a new whiskey, a new taste profile, a blending of American and Irish whiskey ... that really excites me,” says Nation. He's collaborating with David Perkins, founder of High West Distillery and a titan in the field of American whiskey. By marrying the best of both countries' distilling traditions, they have created a new and unique style of whiskey that has people clamoring to get a taste.
For the uninitiated, the main difference between the two amber spirits is the primary ingredients. The Irish use barley as their primary ingredient while the Americans constitute corn, wheat or rye. The Irish love their whiskey more flavored and smooth—which is why they age their whiskeys longer. We Americans are less patient and often used charred oak barrels for aging—the end result is a smokey taste with a touch of sweetness. Another difference is that any great Irish style whiskey is triple distilled in copper pot stills; a process that gives the spirit its unique flavor and defining Irish characteristics.
For Keeper's Heart, they combined the unique qualities of Irish grain and pot still whiskeys with American Rye whiskey for a particularly easy drinking libation. Irish whiskey notes of baking spices blend beautifully with American whiskey's sweetness and oak to create a whiskey with notes of candied ginger, lemon zest, sweet biscuits and rich, stewed fruit. It's creamy and smooth yet bold and spicy in just the right way. To put it simply, it's a go-to for any occasion—equally excellent neat, on the rocks or within a cocktail.