Whisky Focus - Diageo To Launch Roe & Co Irish Blended Whiskey

Diageo To Launch Roe & Co Irish Blended Whiskey

31st January 2017

Diageo return to Irish whiskey with the launch of Roe & Co premium Irish blended whiskey and the announcement of a new distillery in Dublin.

Roe & Co Irish Blended WhiskeyDiageo has announced that they are returning to the booming Irish whiskey market with the launch of a brand new premium Irish blended whiskey named Roe & Co.

They have also revealed plans for a £18.6 million investment over 3 years in a whiskey distillery at the Guinness Power House site at St Jamesís Gate, Dublin which will one day produce the whiskey which will go into the new Roe & Co whiskey brand but until that time the whiskey you will find in a Roe & Co bottle will have been sourced from various Irish whiskey distilleries.

I have to say that I was a little baffled when Diageo parted with the Northern Irish Bushmills distillery given the surging popularity of Irish whiskey worldwide but I was probably viewing the move purely through my whisky blinkered eyes and the move was likely a good business one for Diageo as it gave them ownership of the premium tequila brand Don Julio from Jose Cuervo and secured production and distribution of Smirnoff vodka in Mexico, also from Jose Cuervo.

I do wonder if the Roe & Co Irish whiskey and the new distillery was on the cards when Diageo parted with Bushmills and did they perhaps stockpile some whiskey from Bushmills before they parted with it. In reality we will never know the source of the new Roe & Co Irish blended whiskey but it will be aimed at the premium end of the market, it will be interesting to see how alike it will be to the excellent Bushmills blends.

The new whiskey brands name, Roe & Co, is in honour 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 Dublinís historic brewing and distilling quarter.

Guinness Power House on Thomas Street Dublin will be converted to a Irish whiskey distillery.

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. Jamesís Gate distillery, will be situated just a stones 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.

Diageoís Master Blender Caroline Martin who has 30 years experience is behind the creation of the new Roe & Co whiskey, Caroline and her team have sourced and selected stocks of the very finest Irish whiskies. They have trialled over 100 prototype blends since December 2014, in the creation of what Diageo are calling an extraordinary expression of Irish Whiskey. This first Roe & Co whiskey contains a high proportion of first-fill bourbon casks which they say gives notes of creamy vanilla balanced with hints of fruit and soft spice and a remarkable depth for such an elegant and refined whiskey.

Roe & Co is made from a blend of Irish malt and grain whiskies and aged in bourbon casks. They tell me that it has the signature smoothness of Irish Whiskey with remarkable depth of flavour, they describe it as a luxuriously smooth blend, with a perfect harmony between the intense fruitiness of the malt and the mellow creaminess of the grain whiskies.

Roe & Co is non-chill filtered and bottled at 45% ABV, the first blend of Roe & Co will be available in key European cities from 1st March 2017, it will be available from specialist whisky shops such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

Roe & Co Irish Blended Whiskey Review

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose:  Roe & Co is creamy, delightfully fragrant and remarkably rounded with notes of soft spice and mellow spun sugar along with warm hints of woody vanilla.

Taste: The quality and perfect balance of the blend is immediately apparent on the palate through its velvety texture and sweet flavours including spiced pears and vanilla.

Finish: The finish is lingering and gentle, ending with a light creaminess.

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