What exactly makes renowned Irish Master Distiller Brian Nation leave Ireland for Minnesota? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t the weather. Monday I had the chance to spend an evening with Nation and co-founder of Keeper’s Heart Michael O’Shaughnessy.
Keeper’s Heart has launched their Irish + American whiskey and they have done so with Nation at the helm. Nation was the former Master Distiller at distilleries that included Jameson, Midleton Very Rare, the Spot Range and Powers.
For my husband’s 40th birthday a friend of his gifted him a bottle of 2019 Midleton Very Rare and that bottle has Nation’s signature. I asked what his favorite Midleton Very Rare year was, without hesitation he answered the 2014 Midleton Very Rare because it was the first one he got to make.
So, why would Nation leave Ireland for Minnesota; innovation. Keeper’s Heart has created a completely new style of making whiskey. Cousins Patrick and Michael O’Shaughnessy wanted to create not only something new but something that merged their Irish American heritage.
For this blend they have taken whiskey sourced from Great Northern Distillery in Ireland and blended it with America Rye whiskey sourced from Indiana. Those whiskies are: Irish Grain Whiskey (4yr 43%); Irish Pot Still Whiskey (4yr 43%) and American Rye (4yr 43%).
Nose: baking spices, rye, and oak
Palate: vanilla, fruit, spices, zest, and light sweetness
Finish: spices and light rye
Cost: $30 (what we paid)
Although we got a chance to sample this whiskey at the event, I enjoyed it so much that the next day my husband went to the liquor store and purchased a bottle for me. What I particularly enjoyed about the tasting was the fact that we got to taste the whiskies that go into the blend on their own and then we tasted the actual whiskey. Each of the whiskies were great on their own but together you get one delicious product.
On the evening of the sampling my favorite cocktail they made was a Penicillin (Keeper’s Heart Whiskey, lemon and honey ginger syrup served in a coupe glass). It was delicious and refreshing. The actual whiskey is smooth, lightly sweet, rich and you get a nice, pleasant burn at the back of the throat. I found it to be easy to drink and what’s even better, this whiskey makes a great cocktail. Even if you don’t like drinking whiskey on its own you will enjoy this product in a cocktail and at this price you honestly can’t go wrong.
Note: The contents on my blog are solely my opinion. To me every palate is different! Although I may or may not like a product, I always recommend for people to try it and make up their own minds.