Roe & Co the new ‘Premium’ Irish whiskey by Diageo – review and thoughts

It’s not a secret that Irish whiskey is booming in recent years, and Diageo has jumped on the Irish whiskey bandwagon with a new release named Roe & Co just recently (end of Jan 2017). In case you’re wondering about the name : Roe & Co is named in honor of George Roe, the once world-famous whiskey maker who helped build the golden era of Irish Whiskey in the 19th century. His distillery, George Roe and Co extended over 17 acres on Thomas Street in Dublin and was once Ireland’s largest distillery. As neighbours for hundreds of years George Roe and Co and Guinness were the two biggest names at the heart of Dublin’s historic brewing and distilling quarter. Diageo will now build on this rich heritage with the creation of a new distillery by converting the historic former Guinness Power House on Thomas Street. The new St. James’s Gate distillery, will be situated just a stone’s throw away from where the George Roe and Co distillery once stood and subject to planning approval will begin production in the first half of 2019.

The whiskey is marketed as ‘premium’ whisky, but from the pricing (under 30 quid), it’s not really an expensive whiskey, so I guess Premium means over 20 GBP when it comes to pricing Irish whisky, a bit odd, ins’t it. Not sure what to expect at this price point. Also Diageo is marketing it as consisting of high proportion of first fill ex-bourbon casks…

Roe & Co is non-chill filtered and bottled at 45% ABV. The first blend of Roe & Co is available in key European cities already. so shall we try it?

Roe & Co Irish Whiskey , 45% abv , £29.95 

Nose: The grain element is quite pronounced here, with vanilla, and sweet sugary notes,  oak, and also wood shavings, and wood spices. There’s a touch of fruitiness,  a hint of melon maybe, and some cinnamon and pepper, all under a vanilla / sweet syrup backbone. Feels quite young, which is not surprising.

Palate:  Continuing the nose : there’s quite some fruit here as well, with some pears, and maybe a hint of apple peel, more soft vanilla, and sugar,  with a peppery attack , and more caramel and golden syrup notes. Quite bourbon-y, not surprising with the first fill casks, and the grain component. a bit of wood varnish, and more choclate and a hint of treacle, with a candied ginger spiciness. Creamy, yet biting at times.

Finish:  Pepper, spice (mostly cinnamon), ginger vanilla and bitter-ish oak.

Conclusion

This is not a bad entry level Irish whisky. It’s quite good for what it really is : a young whisky. quite creamy, with fruit and sweet notes, as well as pepper and spice to balance it all. I would try this on the rocks, as a summer sipper, and it would certainly make a good mixing base, for many cocktails. From the PR photos, Diageo is aiming in that direction (mixer), and that’s not a bad idea. It’s not really meant to be drunk neat, IMHO. Pricing is not bad, although you can get some better entry level malts for the same price and even lower.

Score: 77/100

 

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