By Emma Briones
In January 2017, Diageo returned to Irish Whiskey with the launch of Roe & Co. Irish whiskey is having a renaissance and, after the selling Bushmills to Jose Cuervo, Diageo couldn’t stay out of the sector.
Peter O’Connor, former Bushmills brand ambassador and current Roe & Co ambassador, is one of the minds behind this new Irish blend. He received a very clear brief from Diageo: “Do something different.”
To do so, O’Connor worked with Caroline Martin, Master Blender, for two years. Together they embarked on the search of a whisky that could answer bartenders’ requirements. It had to have also a completely Irish profile.
They tasted 120 prototypes to reach the new blend, which is prototype 106. Roe & Co is, according to O’Connor, “a new contemporary whiskey, full of flavor.”
Roe & Co is an Irish blend of malt and grain whiskey. It has been matured in ex-Bourbon barrels (mostly first-fill) and has been bottled at 45% volume (90 proof) without chill filtration.
As Roe & Co doesn’t have a distillery yet, to produce this first blend Diageo has used whiskeys from other Irish distilleries (there’s a big part of Bushmills in it). Nevertheless, we won’t have to wait long to see more Roe & Co expressions. The new Roe & Co distillery will open in Dublin in 2019.
The bottle of Roe & Co is rounded and completely transparent. It has the name of the brand engraved and its shape reminds the figure of a pear. In fact, in the bottom of the bottle there is a cleavage with also the shape of a pear. In the glass, the whiskey is pale gold.
Roe & Co starts with a blow on the nose, probably due to its 45% ABV. However, it is quickly followed by sweet fruity notes. The highlight of these notes, how could it be otherwise, is sweet pears aromas. It smoothly continues with sweet vanilla and honey notes, that softly melt with a spicy touch.
On the palate, it continues with the promises made on the nose. It is smooth, creamy and a little bit oily. There is a strong presence of pears, accompanied by light notes of baked apples.
There is also the sweetness of vanilla and honey notes, very marked by the bourbon barrels. Moreover, there sweet notes of ginger cookies and cereals, with a warm touch of spices.
The finish is surprisingly long and with depth. The sweet notes fade slowly to leave a peppery touch on the palate.
Roe & Co is a nice surprise for those who want to start on Irish whiskey. It is sweet and creamy but it also has character.
It works wonderfully on cocktails, keeping the spirit of the whiskey in the dram. But it also is a nice and interesting dram if you want to drink it alone or with a splash of water.
Roe & Co is officially available in Europe and it is retailed around £30 and €30.