You can be forgiven for not having heard of Bill Phil Peated Irish Whiskey until now, but I assure you, that is about to change. Bill Phil is one of Ireland’s first peated triple distilled single malt Irish whiskey in over half a decade and is taking the Irish whiskey enthusiasts by storm.
Bill Phil is the brain child of Daithí O’Connell, the founder of W.D. O’ Connell Whiskey Merchants. Daithí released 306 bottles of the original Bill Phil Single Cask Peated whiskey at W.D. O’ Connell’s launch at Whiskey Live Dublin in 2019, and it instantly became a cult favourite. In-fairness, single cask releases generally drive some fierce interest due to their unique flavour profiles and inherent limited availablity, although, Daithí has found an interesting sweet spot re-introducing peated single malts into the world of Irish whiskey enthusiasts.
Up until this point, the double distilled, Beam Suntory owned, Connemara was the only commercially available peated Irish whiskey available on the Irish market and Daithí is hoping to offer consumers a new alternative and ring diversity to the peated Irish whiskey market in his home market. As such, W.D. O’ Connell Whiskey Merchants have announced the return of Peat to their portfolio with Bill Phil Batch 01 Peated Irish Whiskey, a limited 600 bottle release that is bottled at 47.5% ABV.
This batch one is 5 months older than the inaugural launch of its namesake and is the beginning of a lengthy series of small batch Bill Phil batches that will be available for the Irish market in the coming years, each slightly differentiated to the last in terms of length of maturation and occassionally cask type.
According to Daithí, the new batch delivers a distinctly peated, fresh charcoal barbeque on the nose which is sharply contrasted by the creamy and rich palate, which opens up to reveal a myriad of citrus fruit flavours with a delicate hint of smoke at the end.
The W.D. O’Connell whiskeys are not ones to hide behind shrouds of mystery, their liquid for batch one, is a peated single malt Irish whiskey and was distilled in Great Northern Distillery in May of 2016, and it spent its entire life maturing in ex-bourbon barrels. At the moment, all subsequent Bill Phil releases for Ireland and any future foreign markets are maturing away in the W.D. O’Connell nominated warehouses, which means that as the batches are released there will be increased complexity and variation of flavour between batches, making for a very interesting exploration of flavour.
The Bill Phil is now on sale nationwide at “all good stockists” or online for shipping to Ireland or internationally at http://www.irishmalts.com, with a recommended retail price of €65. This has already been seeing early orders coming in quick and will no doubt be poplar once again with Irish whiskey enthusiasts at home as well as abroad. Keep an eye out for it on the shelves and as Daithí informed me himself, “Anyone who tries it will not be disappointed. I believe that so much, it’s actually written on the back of the bottle! Check it out!”
Tasting notes from W.D. O’Connell:
Nose: Citrus fruits and peated smoke fills the senses. Distinctively fresh vibrant notes of cereal slowly emerge, carrying waves of poached pear, earl grey tea as the phenolic oils dissipate.
Palate: Clarified butter over crumbled biscuit with clean waves of lightly smoked malt, banana bread, sweet cassia & bergamot.
Finish: Fresh clementine oil, whispers of smoke, applewood chips & ripe orchard fruits.
About the name ‘Bill Phil’:
The name Bill Phil, was inspired by the founder’s Great Grandfather, William Phillip O’Connell. A prominent blacksmith in West Limerick, William was famous for making a great slean (a tool for cutting turf). Known locally as Bill Phil, when it came to naming peated Irish whiskey, it was almost inevitable that it too would take the name of Bill Phil in his honour.
About W.D. O’Connell:
W.D. O’Connell Whiskey Merchants are independent bottlers of whiskey, founded in 2019 by Daithí O’Connell. The independent bottlers pride themselves on sourcing new make spirit and maturing whiskeys from multiple distilleries in Ireland and around the world, always applying their own maturation and finishing preferences. Bringing to market genuine small batch releases of unparalleled taste.
With over 20 years in the hospitality and drinks industry, Daithí O’Connell launched W.D O’Connell Whiskey Merchant’s in 2019, with an ambition to one day be the largest indie bottling company in Ireland. A sailor, pilot and true adventurer, Daithí is traversing the world of whiskey to source, cask and produce the finest small batch Whiskey releases.
Bill Phil is Ireland’s FIRST (?) peated triple distilled single malt Irish whiskey in over half a decade – wouldn’t that be Hinch peated whiskey – also from Great Northern??
Good question Jason, Bill Phil was on the shelves back in November 2019 in Single Cask, this is a new batch from what I can gather.