Samuel Gelston's

Samuel Gelston’s Blended Irish Whiskey

What they say

Samuel Gelston’s Blended Irish Whiskey is made from a blend of locally sourced Irish malted barley and grain that is triple distilled for smoothness then matured in the finest quality ex-bourbon oak casks.

This combination of triple distillation plus the finest ingredients and cask aging creates an elegantly smooth yet expressive whiskey with rich flavours that can be savoured neat, over ice or mixed into a long refreshing serve.

Gelston’s Old Irish Whiskey was founded in 1830 by Samuel Gelston, a prosperous wine and whiskey merchant from Belfast. Upon Samuel’s death in late 1869 Henry James Neill (Harry) purchased the business and developed the scale of the business considerably both in Ireland and in overseas markets.

Harry had left Belfast in 1851 to seek his fortune in the Australian Gold Rush of that year. Rather than prospecting for gold he set up a pioneering provisions business for the miners and their families and brought his younger brothers out to Australia to help grow the firm. He successfully sold his share and returned to Ireland in 1862 a wealthy man.

 In 1869 he set about the task of re-building the Gelston’s business, not only was he blending and selling whiskey casks in Ireland but he was instrumental in starting to export to Australia and New Zealand, primarily into the businesses that his brothers had carried on and set-up, indeed one of these was Neill & Co. based in Dunedin and run by his brother Percival, at one time the largest spirits business in New Zealand.

Harry successfully ran the business until his death in 1891 when the business moved to another H.J. Neill of the next generation, five generations later the Samuel Gelston’s brand is still in the hands of the Neill family and is yet again developing a worldwide following.

Some of the earliest advertising for the brand still exists today, including this one which depicts the ‘Gap of Dunloe’, a famous Irish beauty spot.

What I say

The introductory Blended Irish Whiskey expression from Samuel Gelston’s label. Much like Bourbon I’m still very much at sea when it comes to provenance of whiskey from Ireland. Gelston’s brand quotes a nice back story and history though the latest incarnation of the company was re-established in the last few years. What is in the bottle is reputedly sourced from the West Cork Distillery.

  • ABV 40%
  • Age NAS
  • Bottler Samuel Gelston’s
  • Bottling Blended
  • Cask Unidsclosed
  • Category Blended Irish Whiskey
  • Cost £22 available from Amazon
  • Origin Undisclosed
  • Outturn Undisclosed
  • Region Ireland
  • Released Undisclosed
  • Vintage Undisclosed

My tasting notes

  • Appearance White wine gold (5/20), quick, medium tears and medium legs.
  • Nose Sweet, fragrant, a touch solventy, vanilla, fruity, white flowers, powdery milled cereals and lemon barley sugars.
  • Taste Sweet, honey, mixed orchard fruits, vanilla, Danish pastries, soft lemon zest, lemon cheesecake or lemon meringue pie, soft baking spices and caramelised hazelnuts.
  • Finish Medium, honey, woody oak and hazelnut persist.
  • Overall A fairly basic and very pleasant blended Irish whiskey. There are hints of youth and some solventy spirit nature, triple distilled for smoothness and bourbon matured there’s not much to hide behind and this does develop some interesting & more complex flavours.

Score 77/100

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