A Review of Tyrconnell Irish Whiskey


In 1876 the Watt family entered a horse, a Chestnut Colt, appropriately named "The Tyrconnell" in the Irish Classic horse race "The National Produce Stakes". Incredibly it won at 100 to 1. This spectacular achievement inspired the Watt Distillery to celebrate the occasion with a special commemorative Tyrconnell label, which remains to this day.


Andrew A. Watt's distillery dates back to the glory whiskey days in Co. Derry in the North of Ireland. Derry’s suitability for whiskey production on a major scale due to copious supplies of good clean water, excellent supplies of local barely and the Derry mills to grind malt left it put her in an advantageous position. Originally from Ramelton in Co. Donegal the Watt family first settled in Derry in 1762.

The Watt influence in Derry became substantial in 1839 when wine and spirit merchant Andrew A Watt bought the Waterside Distillery located in the Abbey Street area. One of the most significant decisions taken was to install the Coffey still, which was personally installed under Aeneas Coffey’s supervision. It proved to be a shrewd move as before long Abbey Street was the largest distillery on the island, capable of producing 2,000,000 gallons of whiskey a year. The firm focus on three main brands with Tyrconnell being their flagship brand.

The Tyrconnell was, before prohibition, on of the biggest selling whiskey brands in the US. Pre-prohibition photos of Yankee stadium in New York show Tyrconnell billboards in positions of prominence at the venue. Tyrconnell and Andrew A Watts enjoyed great success in the export sector. Sales in England, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, The West Indies and the US put Derry on the commercial map of the world. By the turn of the century Watt amalgamated his interest with two other Belfast distilleries to form United Distillers Company. Things worked perfectly leveraging on their economies of scale until conflict arose between UDC and Scottish giants DCL based in Edinburgh. This was the beginning of the end for the huge Derry operation and Andrew Watt was forced to close the doors in 1925. The brands remained dormant till 1988 when Cooley Distillery acquired this old brand and went on its way to bringing this historical Irish whiskey brand back to life.


Nose: Very scented, apple-skin dryness. Oily, cereal-grain. Palate: Light, oily, grassy. Lightly malty and cookie-like. Some vanilla sweetness. Finish: Crisp, clean. Hint of charcoal. Comment: A pleasant, light-tasting malt.

Nose: Fresh, malty, and amazingly fruity. Loads of citrus and traces of apple. There is just a very faint touch of ammonia to this vatting, which is not normally the case. Palate: Intense malt with a distinctive, coppery richness. Spicy, with a fine sweet/dry balance. But the oak does start making a point. Finish: Dry and lacking true depth.

Comment: Perhaps the most inconsistent brand from Cooley. Not the finest expression of its normally impressive single malt; usually there is greater clarity and depth.

A note from de Vere’s Irish Pub:

Our management staff at de Vere’s Pub is dedicated to building Sacramento’s largest whiskey list. We add whiskeys to our list as often as possible, in order to offer our guests the best and most comprehensive assortment in Northern California. To further educate our patrons (and ourselves), we like to post reviews of these whiskeys on our blog. This lets our guests read up on the whiskeys we offer before coming to visit our whiskey bar—which we know you’ll fall in love with upon your first visit.

The whiskey bar is located in the back room of our Irish Pub in downtown Sacramento, which is owned and operated by an Irish family. We understand that you have a lot of choices in the bars and restaurants that you frequent in the Sacramento area, and we hope that we can earn your patronage by providing you with a one-of-a-kind experience. Our goal is to provide you with the best place in town to eat, drink, and socialize with your family and friends. So, grab a friend and come down for an incredible whiskey and dining experience!

You can try this Whiskey at  de Vere’s Pub in downtown Sacramento.

Join our Whiskey Society to learn more about Whiskey's at a discount!


Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube Visit our blog View our profile on LinkedIn