O’Begley [Distillery Tasting & Review]

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And to finish my birthday bender on craft spirits we visited O’Begley’s Distillery. An interesting place, the storefront was originally used to sell Ice Cream. And now it sells something a little bit nicer.

Granted I’m saying that because I review whiskey and not ice cream. I guess if I want to get diabetes faster I could do both, but not for now.

O’Begley’s Distillery was established in 2011. They make whiskey using a small-batch pot still process. If that sounds Irish, it’s because the family is from Ireland, with family still over there. The entire distillery was built by hand, with most of the equipment coming from shuttered factories.

If you’ve ever been in Western New York, you understand there’s some pride in doing that. Reclaiming an area that has largely been deserted.

As a note on the whiskey, each and every one of them are 2 years old, and they do not plan to age them beyond that. That certainly makes O’Begley unique, to say the least. The reason being is they use 10 gallon casks, all of which are first fill Bourbon casks from Woodinville, Washington.

The small casks are bought from them because other distilleries will not sell them, or at least that’s what I understand from the very helpful representative behind the ex-ice cream counter.

In addition to those below, there was also a Bourbon cream liquour. Didn’t write notes, however I can say this: It’s more chocolatey than others I had, really tasty, and quite smooth. Would be good in hot chocolate for an extra kick, over ice, or honestly I could drink it straight from the bottle.


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O’Begley Poitin. My understanding of Poitin is so bad that I can’t help but Francophone the heck out of it. If it wasn’t for the O’Begley sales rep, I’d sound like I was drinking a French vodka that I butchered.

This is White Whiskey. I specifically did not give it a score, as previous attempts to have done so have turned into yelling fights. That said, I still tried it, for everyone out there looking for something different to use in Martinis or other premium cocktails.

It also gives me an idea of the kind of whiskies I’ll be drinking, and where they started.

Price: $30.99 (USD)

Region: New York

Mashbill: 75% Barley, 20% Malted Barley, 5% Oat

Abv: 50%

Colour: Clear

Nose: Nothing

No nose, nothing to write, we can move along.

Taste: Spice, cream, malt, cream soda

Good amount of general spice. Somewhere between anise and black pepper. There’s some sweat to it to, and a good amount of creaminess.

Finish: Lemon, earth

A quick lemony, earthy kick. Just what you need in the morning.

Conclusion: This is an interesting drink. It definitely has some interesting elements to it, and would add nice flavours to a cocktail. Would I drink it straight again? Probably not, I prefer brown spirits, but like I said, it’s a good way to see where they start.

–/100


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Old Kilfountain is the aged result of the about Potin and the second product sold by O’Begley. It’s aged for 2 years in the small, 10 gallon barrels, all of which are first fill bourbon.. Irish style whiskey again done by American’s using local New York grains. Let’s see how it tastes after some time in the casks.

Price; $39.99 (USD)

Region: New York

Mashbill: 75% Unmalted Barley, 20% Malted Barley, 5% Oat

Abv: 43%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/6

Nose: White cake, lemon, butterscotch, sprinkles

Quite sweet on the nose. This is the second Irish style whiskey that New York has thrown at me, and there’s no yeast or bread notes. I’m going to start guessing that this isn’t triple distilled, but still uses very traditional recipes.

You know, like when you’re making a cake and hand blend it to make it thicker. Or when you slap your own nuts in order to get yourself up quicker. Everybody does it once, changes up the batter, and it all works out well.

Taste: Butter, peach, wheat

Nice buttery and wheat filled flavour. Reminds me more of a single malt than an Irish whiskey.

The youth here does a number on the flavour. Not much complexity. Just really fruity, wheaty, and buttery.

Finish: Ginger, black pepper, sultanas

Spice, rich notes, and spice. Kinda hot, but not in that “oops, genitals fell out” way. Like the raisins at the end. It can pretend we put it in a ex-sherry cask.

And go to Narnia. For whatever reason.

Conclusion: A simple dram, I’m impressed what they can pull out with small barrels and a short period of time. The different sweets on the nose are the best part. Taste and finish seem to be hurt by the low Abv., and perhaps a lack of parental figure.

I think if they tried this longer and with larger barrels, we’d start seeing really interesting whiskies. There’s quality here.

70/100


Dubh Reserve is different than the above. Yes, it’s still young whiskey. Yes, it’s still made with a similar (but slightly changed) mashbill. However the casks this time are new oak and it’s barreled as cask strength.

So there you go. It’s different. Ish. More a mixture of American style aging with Irish style mashbill and who knows what else.

Ethiopian style dance? Sure, why not (Citation Needed).

Price: Can’t find it in my notes

Region: New York

Mashbill: 75% Barley, 15% Malted Barley, 10% Oat

Abv: 60.5%

Colour: 2.5Y 8/8

Nose: Steak, caramel, coffee, pineapple, herbal

Big flavours on this one. The virgin oak (not a virgin butt, this one has seen the world) has added quite a bit of flavour to the dram. Big earth, sweet, and even meat notes.

Taste: Caramel, butter, peach

Similar to the Old Kilfountain, the wheat aspect has been replaced with a really nice fruit amount. I’m guessing there was more temperature used to ferment on this, however I only have the temperature here, so it’s just a guess.

And guessing is how we ended up with little Dougie, and no one liked that.

Finish: Mint, alcohol, corn, oak, vanilla

Big blast of alcohol at the end. Reminds you this is young and brash and ready to fight those loud punks at the bar when you just want to be quiet.

Very strong finish. Needs time to calm the fuck down.

Conclusion: This is an odd hybrid and a unique dram. Given some more time, more complexity on the taste, and even some tweaking with the alcohol, I could see this being a real contender. At the moment? Just nice to sip on.

75/100


O’Begley Single Malt is an American Single Malt. So different mashbill than before, and only aged in new American oak. Can’t do things too Scottish or people will be confused.

Oh, and it’s cask strength. There are some comments that state this one will end up older than the rest, however that goes against what I was told by the Sales Rep., so I don’t know what to believe.

Price: Can’t find it in my notes

Region: New York

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Abv: 61.5%

Colour: 5Y 9/6

Nose: Salt, caramel, malt, cocoa, grass, dandelions

Wow, nice nose. Somewhat floral, lots of malt, and all the sweets that have made me into the portly fellow in some of the pictures.

Odd mixture, floral and sweets, but it reminds me of lavender chocolates, so I like it.

Taste: Wheat, honey, chocolate, malt, lime

Again, kinda odd. It’s like those high end chocolates that have different flavours in them, but all at once, like you’re eating away your anxiety.

For example.

Big wheat flavour on the taste at first.

Finish: Earth, chocolate, brine, citrus

Finish is a little dull in comparison to the rest. It’s not Terry’s Chocolate orange. The flavours don’t get along. Their like Millennials at Dinner, no mixing, all on their phones.

Which are crunchy in my mouth.

Conclusion: This is probably their most interesting dram. They’ve taken a lot of different techniques to pile up different flavours and it shows. Really tasty, and makes me wonder what they could do with even 1-3 more years.

76/100


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O’Begley Hell’s Kitchen – Blue Corn is a special limited release. All profits from this dram goes to help the homeless veterans in New York city.

I won’t get into the politics, my own or otherwise, however I do believe that people scarred by war should have the support of those around them. It’s not their fault, politically, for what has happened, and they need help.

So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Price: Can’t find it in my notes

Region: New York

Mashbill: 50% Blue Corn, 50% Malted Barley

Abv: 53.4%

Colour: 2.5GY 9/6

Nose: Cream, malt, fading corn, caramel, cinnamon

Creamy. There’s a flavour of corn that runs away like you’re dressed up and it’s not Halloween. There’s some new cinnamon on the nose too, which is quite nice.

Taste: Cinnamon, smoke, wheat

Good amount of spice. It’s closer to a wheater in flavour than a corn whiskey. I’m going to guess the increase in blue corn has upped the spice. Not too complex, but tasty.

Finish: Lime, apple, ginger, chocolate

Really interesting finish. Really fruity, lots of ginger, and a good chocolate hit. Not what I expected from this one at all.

Conclusion: This is an odd whiskey. It’s quite unique, and I didn’t know what to expect. The last blue corn whiskey I had drank was more of a gimmick, so I’m quite pleased that this one was closer to a single malt scotch.

I still think these would shine with more years on them. The taste is just begging for more time in the cask. I hope they reconsider going young for all drams moving forward.

74/100

Bourbon review #162-165, New York review #14-17, Whiskey Network review #868-871

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