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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Bill Phil Batch 02

At the Snug, we love authenticity. I remember hearing Daithí O’Connell speak about his own whiskey journey a few years ago and was struck by his humility and just how transparent and open he was. His authenticity shone through. His own whiskey journey, at that point, had been marked with more failures than successes but he was willing to continue working hard. At that point, he was about to release his first Bill Phil bottling and was understandably nervous about it. It was a well-received release.

A sample of the second release – Bill Phil Batch 02 – landed on my desk recently, though it was released at the end of 2020. I’m only eighteen months behind. I bought a bottle of the first release and enjoyed it. Peated Irish whiskey was pretty much limited to the Connemara brand prior to this release. Daithí mentioned it was named after a relative whose name was William Philip, a nice nod to family, tradition and history.

So, we have a sourced whiskey that’s been peated. Thankfully, Daithí made no pretentions otherwise – he had tried other options but now had set his course as a whiskey bottler. This was how whiskey used to be, a century ago. The idea of a distillery creating and selling whiskey was unusual then with considerable weight being given to the blender and bottler. It's been a brave move.

Since the first release, the W.D.O’Connell brand has done well and gone from strength to strength and now has a varied range available.

The whiskey is sourced from Great Northern Distillery and doesn’t seem to have an age statement. It’s non-chill filtered and comes in at 47.6% ABV. This is a limited release of around 600 bottles.

There’s a lot to enjoy on the nose. Some of the GND undertones are there, so we can pick up on the low notes of caramel and sugary sweetness. There’s a lot of peat and smoke here, but it’s not overpowering and it mixes well with those bass lines. At the very outside of the nose is a touch of light citrus – perhaps pear. There’s a kind of three levels of nose – sweet, peat, citrus.

The taste certainly amplifies the peat with the sweetness left somewhat behind. There’s a long finish where the peat develops nicely, but certainly overwhelms some of the more subtle flavours. A touch of wood lingers too, and even a hint of iodine at the very end.

I appreciate the authenticity of the brand and how far its come from its first days. A whiskey merchant/bottler is a welcome addition to the Irish whiskey landscape. Overall, this is an enjoyable peated whiskey and, I think, with more of a profile than many other peated releases. I think the nose is very good and the taste is a little behind. It retailed at €70 per bottle.

Review rating (Nigel) – 6.5/10

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