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Egan’s creates whiskeys based on the five tastes

Damien Grey, the chef and founder of Dublin’s Liath Restaurant, has teamed up with Egan’s Irish whiskey for a one-time release of five 23-year-old single malt whiskeys.

Only 200 sets of Senses will be available globally, each using a cask finish to showcase a specific taste

Senses is a collection of whiskeys based on the five foundational flavours – bitter, sour, salt, umami, and sweet. 

“For me, the only path was to do something that had never been done before,” said Grey. “Whiskey hasn’t been approached in the way we’ve done it. It’s been extremely challenging. The flavour profiles go much deeper, and there have been more ways to fail – which sounds off-putting but, for me, it was an exciting concept because it was more challenging to create and produce something truly exceptional.”

Only 200 sets will be available globally, priced at €5,950 (US$6,432). Each set includes five bottles of single malt, a sample box of 40ml vials, and a series of cards chronicling the whiskey’s development. Buyers will also receive a complimentary table for two at Liath Restaurant, plus membership to Liath Restaurant’s concierge booking service.

Egan’s head bonder Rupert Egan struck up a friendship with Grey after supplying him with bespoke whiskey blends to cook with. “For about a year afterwards, I could be found trotting in and out of Liath Restaurant, clinking with different distillates, ages, cask types, blends, finishes and serving strengths,” said Egan. “What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was being covertly interviewed by Damien for this project.”

Egan travelled the globe searching for finishing casks that would deliver on Grey’s concept. For the Goirt (salt) bottling, Egan wanted a wine or spirit that had been produced and aged by the sea, ultimately using barrels from Godet Cognac. 

For the bitter expression, he used a recharred cask that previously held Imperial Stout brewed by Dot Brew. “This yielded the most amazing dark chocolate, coffee, and bitter notes,” Egan said. For the Umami bottling, Egan turned to Brunello wine producer Col d’Orcia. “The result is astounding.” 

Some finishing periods in the series were as long as 18 months. Senses can be purchased online exclusively through Celtic Whiskey Shop.

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