Review: Natterjack Irish Whiskey

Hot on the heels of Keeper’s Heart, another Irish and American whiskey mashup has landed on the Drinkhacker review desk: Natterjack, from the unusually-named Gortinore Distilling. Unlike Keeper’s Heart, which blends Irish and American whiskeys, Natterjack is triple-distilled entirely in Ireland but from a very corn-heavy grainbill similar to American bourbons (80% corn and 20% malted barley). After aging in used bourbon barrels for three years, the whiskey is then finished for six months in a new, American oak cask to impart what Natterjack’s founder, Aiden Mehigan, calls its “American accent.” A bit more about the brand from Mehigan:

“With Natterjack Irish Whiskey, we are crafting new tastes and traditions for a generation that’s challenging the status quo,” said Aiden Mehigan, founder and CEO of Gortinore Distilling. “I was inspired by American bourbons to craft something different, which would challenge Americans’ perceptions about Irish Whiskeys. What we’ve created is a distinctly different Irish whiskey that appeals to the tastes of American bourbon enthusiasts.”

Gortinore Distilling uses its energetic quest for adventure to take risks and make a whiskey that differs from the rest. The Natterjack Toad, an endangered species, is the only native toad to Ireland, and unlike others of its kind. The toad chooses to walk instead of hop, ending up in the most unlikely places – much like an Irish Whiskey ending up in America. Natterjack Irish Whiskey is an affectionate tribute to the Natterjack Toad and all it represents.

Natterjack Irish Whiskey is available at standard proof, which we’re reviewing today, and also at cask strength. Distribution is kicking off this year in select Texas markets with more states to follow.

The aroma is light and sweet with notes of tinned pears, buttery oak, and a soft, earthy undertone of grist and malt. I get plenty of the Irish whiskey but not much in the way of an American “accent,” although the oak does become a bit more pronounced as it opens up. The palate follows suit, corn sweet and gentle with mild notes of vanilla and a bit of lemon custard. It finishes clean and a touch creamy with coconut flakes and fading oak. Natterjack isn’t an earth-shattering addition to the increasingly crowded Irish whiskey landscape, but marketing aside, it’s a solid and exceptionally approachable option, especially given the modest age.

80 proof.

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