Advent #7 – Roe & Co. Whiskey

The world of Irish Whiskey was shocked when Diageo made the announcement, in 2014, that they would be selling their stake in the Old Bushmills Irish Whiskey Distillery. It seemed that they would be leaving the Irish whiskey industry, right as it was on the cusp of a boom. Well their inactivity didn’t last too long. Roe & Co. Irish whiskey company was launched in early 2017 as the industry giant’s return to the category.

Roe & Co. is Diageo’s blended Irish whiskey brand that is being advertised to bartenders, as the ideal mixing whiskey for their cocktail needs. It is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys, aged exclusively in ex-bourbon and bottled without chill-filtration at 45% ABV.

Diageo have begun building their own distillery in the grounds of their Dublin based Guinness brewery footprints, near the old George Roe distillery, from where they take their name.


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A painting of George Roe’s distillery from perspective of Watling Street. Painted 1933 by Harry Kernoff.

Ironically, the Guinness family and the Roe’s famously hated each other. The brewing giants were known for famously petitioning the British government (who ruled Ireland at the time) to drastically increase taxes on whiskey and to decrease taxes on their porter, claiming that ‘whisk(e)y was the ruin of the people and porter is the remedy of the people’. Regardless of their turbulent past, the current Diageo team has taken a new spin on the historic distillery name and is establishing their own triple pot still distillery, which will create both malt and pot still whiskey.

The new Roe & Co. Distillery in the Heart of Dublin. Photo rights: Diageo.

These components will be crucial for the future development of the Roe & Co. blend. This whiskey revealed itself through door #6 of my Drinks By the Dram, Irish Whiskey Calendar. So, how does it taste today?

Tasting Notes by Matt Healy, Chief Editor of

Nose: The nose is full of creamy vanilla, sugar and toasted oak as you might expect from a heavy dose of ex-bourbon. Although, some lovely orange tones, pear notes and a light peppery spice. It is slightly on the young side but nicely aromatic.

Palate: The pear, orange, vanilla and wood tones come through on the palate with the light pepperiness following through. One thing to note is that this whiskey is fantastically blended. Nicely balanced, good body and mouthfeel from the additional alcohol but with no astringent or burning qualities.

Finish: Medium finish, lingers slightly with a nice tongue prickle and lingering sugar sweetness.

 Overall: This is a fine blend. Easy and enjoyable, it doesn’t blow the mind but importantly it also doesn’t break the bank. It is a flavoursome blended whiskey and I’m sure that bartenders will find favour with this new Diageo blended entrant. It’s also a easy drinking whiskey over ice for your added enjoyment on a night out. I’m a fan and I look forward to their second batch of this Roe & Co. blend, having tried some advanced samples at the recent Dublin Whiskey Live, I think good things are coming down the tracks! It currently retails for approximately €42 in the Republic of Ireland.

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