- DISTILLER: Prizefight Irish Whiskey
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed, malt and grain
- AGE: 4 years (10-year malt blended with 4-year grain)
- YEAR: 2017
- PROOF: 86 (43% ABV)
- MSRP: $44.99, available in New York City, Boston, and online at Warehouse Wines
NOSE: Malt | Citrus | Vanilla | Floral
TASTE: Pepper | Honey | Chocolate | Toasted Oak
FINISH: Long and dry, with a clove spice that rests in the back of the throat and pepper that sits on the tongue.
SHARE WITH: Nobody. Keep this as your own little secret. On a more serious note, share it with those who claim they don’t like Irish whiskey and those who love it.
WORTH THE PRICE: This is only $44.99? Really?
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle. Bottle! BOTTLE!
OVERALL: I’m a fan of Irish whiskey and have slowly been adding those I enjoy to my library. When this bottle arrived, I was cautiously excited. The presentation is wonderful, with a beautiful expensive looking label on the front and a backstory that made me curious as to what the quality would be inside the bottle. After all, there’s only a handful of working distilleries in Ireland, and Pugilist Spirits is not one of them. This was obviously an upstart.
I cut through the paper strip and pulled the cork. Almost immediately, the malt and floral aromas caught my attention. I poured a dram into my Glencairn glass and set it aside about ten minutes, the same as I do for any whiskey. Round One was unimpressive. It tasted rough, and I felt like I was sucker punched by a fancy label and promise, but I wasn’t nearly ready to throw in the towel.
I took a five-minute break before starting Round Two. It is always amazing what a few extra minutes of patience will gain you. The next sip provided a mouthfeel that is soft and creamy. The combination of flavors on the palate is a delicious knock-out, and it becomes evident that Prizefight is a major contender in the Irish whiskey realm.
Prizefight left me stunned. This is one of the better whiskeys I’ve tasted this year, and one of the best Irish whiskeys I’ve ever had. Get a bottle. You won’t be disappointed. Cheers!
WHAT IS PRIZE FIGHT?
Prizefight is a collaborative Irish whiskey, distilled and aged in Ireland, and finished in American rye casks from Tamworth Distilling. The result is an incredibly complex whiskey: a smooth and mellow spirit that packs a punch but never burns.
WHAT’S THE BLEND, AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
Prizefight is a blend of 10-year-old Malt & 4-year-old grain from West Cork Distillers, finished in rye barrels for six months. While the barrels were sourced by Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire, all aging & finishing of our liquid happens in Ireland.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
Fresh and clean with fruit, floral, and spice notes. Sweet and refreshing up front, followed by a subtle hit of bitterness and a spicy finish.
WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THE RYE FINISH?
Irish whiskey is known for being smooth, and sweet. Six months in a rye barrel adds punch, and some depth, as the bitter spice of rye balances the lighter, sweeter qualities. Prizefight stands alone as the only Irish Whiskey with a rye barrel finish.
HOW WAS THE BRAND CREATED?
When Flor Prendergast decided to create a whiskey, he brought in his American friend and spirits maverick, Steve Grasse, who had an idea that required a collaboration between two craft distilleries: one in Ireland, the other in America. They formed Pugilist Spirits to bring this transatlantic whiskey to life, with liquid from West Cork Distillers and rye barrels sourced by Grasse’s own Tamworth Distilling in the U.S.
ABOUT TAMWORTH DISTILLING
Since the turn of the 20th century, Tamworth, New Hampshire has been a haven for artists, writers, thinkers and innovators ¬– from Henry James and e.e. Cummings to P resident Cleveland. We found that this small town at the foot of the White Mountains is the perfect place to do some innovating of our own. Welcome to Tamworth Distilling: Our story is as old as America, planting our flag in the heart of a historic New Hampshire village. We’ve set up our distillery in accordance to the land around us, not against it. What we take, we give back. And what we have, we give to you. Taking a cue from the 19th century Transcendentalists of New England, we pull our inspiration from our atmosphere around us. Our recipes are born from the crops we grow and the histories buried in the soil below.
WHO’S ON THE LABEL?
Prizefight’s label depicts a fight between John Morrissey and Yankee Sullivan, two Irish born pugilists who met in the ring in New York State on October 12, 1853. Morrissey took the title of American Champion from Sullivan in a highly controversial match — Morrissey was knocked out, but Sullivan left the ring prematurely, thinking he’d won, as a brawl ensued.
WHAT DO THE WORDS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BOTTLE MEAN?
The phrase on the bottom of a bottle of Prizefight (Is minic a bhris beál duine a shrón) is an old Gaelic proverb that, roughly translated, reads “It is often a person’s mouth that broke their nose.”
HOW WAS THE BOTTLE DESIGNED?
Quaker City Mercantile, the agency behind Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum, designed the packaging for Prizefight to stand out on a shelf full of Irish Whiskeys that all look ed the same: green and gold, rolling hills and shamrocks. With label details inspired by turn of the century boxing culture, Prizefight’s hefty custom glass bottle looks and feels as premium as the liquid inside.
WHERE CAN I GET ONE?
Prizefight is available in select bars across Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny and Galway, as well as Dublin Duty Free, the Celtic Whiskey Shop, and L. Mulligan Grocer. For complete listings, use the locator on our website. The suggested retail price is $50.
Disclaimer: Prizefight Irish Whiskey provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.