Country: Ireland
Type: Irish Whiskey
Bottler: Roe & Co./Diageo
ABV: 46%
Score: 93 points

Roe & Co. Japanese Sugi Edition. Image courtesy Roe & Co./Diageo.This distillery-exclusive bottling from Diageo’s Roe & Co. Distillery in Dublin uses Japanese Sugi wood as an influence on the flavor, but not quite in the way you’d expect. Sugi is much too porous to be made into casks that will hold liquid without leaking, so Lora Hemy’s team in Dublin came up with a different method. Casks at Roe are stored upright on pallets, so they decided to drill five bung holes into the top head of each barrel and insert specially-made Sugi bungs that extend more than 2 feet into the whiskey inside each barrel.

The result: a whisky with notes of juniper, sandalwood, and lavender on the nose along with touches of pine straw, incense, green tea and subtle spices. The taste is tropical and luscious with notes of pineapple, papaya, white pepper, sandalwood, pine needles, juniper, and dried flowers for a very complex and well-balanced flavor. The finish is very long with a fruity tartness, lingering spices, and hints of sandalwood, juniper, and lavender. A creative solution for an excellent whiskey! (September, 2021)