Roe & Co. Blended Irish Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


In the 1880s, Alfred Barnard, a British author who visited most of the existing distilleries around the United Kingdom and Ireland, suggested that Dublin’s Thomas Street Distillery was likely the largest in the world. As all good things eventually end, the distillery was mothballed in 1926.


However, the Thomas Street Distillery’s story began in 1757 when Peter Roe bought a distillery along Thomas Street. Nine years later, ownership transferred to Richard Roe, who tried to expand the tiny distillery as much as the law would allow (which wasn’t much). Then, in 1784, Nicolas Roe opened a much larger distillery in nearby Pimlico. In 1832, both distilleries were acquired by George Roe, who, under friendlier laws, expanded them.


His nephews, George and Henry, assumed control in 1862 and continued to expand production. They became very wealthy, and Henry donated a quarter-million pounds to help restore the Christ Church Cathedral, which had stood since the 11th century. Queen Victoria knighted him for his efforts!


During the late 1800s, Irish whiskey was hemorrhaging market share to the Scots, resulting in the closures of several distilleries. In 1891, to survive, Thomas Street Distillery merged with Jones Road Distillery and Marrowbone Lane Distillery and remained profitable. That was until the bottom fell out of the Irish whiskey market.


Rather than one significant catalyst, there were several that hit simultaneously. The first nails in the coffin were Irish independence and the Anglo-Irish trade wars, compounded with rampant mismanagement and lousy speculation. Then came Prohibition. While this was an American issue, its effects rippled across the ocean because of how large the United States market was for Ireland. The straw that broke the camel’s back was World War II when over 150 Irish distilleries went out of business. In the 1960s, only five remained, and by 1972, only two were left in all of Ireland!


In the late 1980s, things began to change. John Teeling purchased the Cooley Distillery from the Irish government, changing it from a chemical distillery to one for whiskey. In 1988, Pernod Ricard purchased Irish Distillers Limited (the owner of the final two distilleries). In 2007, the Kilbeggen Distillery, established in 1757, was resurrected and renovated by Diageo, bringing the total number of working distilleries to four. And by 2014, there were eight; in 2016, there were 17!


Then, in 2019, Diageo brought the Roe & Co. brand back from the ashes, making it the 33rd Irish distillery either in production or under construction. Its master blender, Caroline Martin, has been involved in the industry for over 30 years. Roe & Co. offers two expressions: a Single Malt Solera and a Blended Irish Whiskey.


Roe & Co. provided me with a sample of the latter in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. It is made from both malt and grain whiskeys and aged in Bourbon casks. It is non-chill filtered, packaged at 45% ABV (90°), and a 750ml sells for about $30.00.


I thank Roe & Co. for this opportunity to #DrinkCurious. Let’s get to it!


Appearance: I used a Glencairn glass to sip this Irish whiskey neat. It was a genuine orange amber; it created a medium rim and wide, syrupy tears.


Nose: The aroma included caramel, nutmeg, orange zest, vanilla, and sugar cookies. Inhaling the vapor filled my mouth with creamy caramel.


Palate: The buttery texture introduced the front of my palate to creamy vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar. Cinnamon, apples, and nutmeg followed. The back tasted of oak, allspice, and    


Finish: The finish featured bold oak, cinnamon, butterscotch, apples, and allspice. It was long, lumbering, like a freight train, and lasted several minutes until the allspice dropped off.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: One of the things I appreciate about “modern” Irish whiskey is that its flavors are allowed to develop with depth. Roe & Co. at 90°, it is easy enough to drink without tasting watered down. The more I sipped, the more I enjoyed what was in my glass. At $30.00, it powers above similarly-priced Irish whiskeys, often proofed ten points fewer. I believe Roe & Co. Blended Irish Whiskey is worth having in my whiskey library. You’ll want a Bottle of your own. 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 to do so responsibly.