McConnell's Five-Year Irish Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

Most of the time, whiskey is spelled with an e when referring to American or Irish versions, whereas the rest of the world ignores it. However, nothing states you must have (or lack) the e; it is simply a preference. In the United States, Maker’s Mark leaves it off, as does George Dickel. There is also a brand in Ireland called McConnell’s Irish Whisky that bucks tradition. 


“It all started in 1776, when the McConnell family of Belfast began selling their whisky to the public. It quickly became one of the most sought-after spirits in Ireland, and to keep up with demand, the McConnells built a distillery: a sprawling, buzzing compound on the banks of the River Lagan. The next 154 years would be spent dedicated to a single pursuit: producing the finest whisky in all of Ireland. Many whisky drinkers believed that they achieved their goal, making McConnell’s the most famous Irish whisky of the time.”Conecuh Brands


McConnell’s Irish Whisky is made from a mash of 70% grain and 30% malted barley that matured in former Bourbon casks for at least five years. It comes in an attractive bottle with an oval-shaped brass plate on top proclaiming it comes from Belfast. Proofed to 42% ABV (84°), you can acquire a 750ml package for about $29.99.


There is also a Sherry Cask Finish that I’ve already reviewed. I provided more background on the history of the brand there.


I thank Conecah Brands for providing me with a sample of their Irish Whisky in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious and learn more. 


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, McConnell’s 5-Year Irish Whisky was the color of straw. A medium-thick rim formed but couldn’t hold the weight of the tears, which turned watery.


Nose: The first scent I picked up was lemon zest. Vanilla, apple, and oak followed. When I inhaled the vapor into my mouth, I encountered more vanilla.


Palate: The texture was creamy and possessed a medium weight. At the front of my palate, I discovered vanilla, lemon peel, and bold apple flavors. The middle featured only butterscotch, but the back offered oak, clove, and white pepper.


Finish:  Medium-to-long in duration, the finish consisted of white pepper, clove, and a slightly smoky quality that lingered more than the former notes.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  McConnell’s is a tasty Irish whisky with a lot to offer despite a lack of complexity. What flavors exist are far from muted and work well together. If you’re seeking a “soft” Irish whisky, look elsewhere. I particularly liked the smoke in the finish. As a $30.00, 42% bottle, I believe there is a good bang for the buck, and I’m happy to crown a Bottle rating for it. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.




  1. I made similar whiskey(like) spirit using wood chips from used bourbon whiskey barrels, and an 80 proof spirit that was distilled 7 times. Turned out Smooth...real good sipping neat. Many bourbon and whiskey drinkers at the test table agreed.


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