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John L. Sullivan

Blended Irish Citrus Bomb

3 088

@VictorReview by @Victor

11th Jan 2017


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: John L. Sullivan
  • ABV: 40%

John Lawrence Sullivan was an Irish-American pugilist who was a champion of bare-knuckled boxing and of the newer gloved boxing, in the years from 1879 to 1892. His boxing match record was 40 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws, and 1 no contest (win). John L. Sullivan whiskeys are made at the Beam-Suntory owned Cooley Distillery in the Republic of Ireland. The standard "original" John L. Sullivan is a blended Irish whiskey aged "from 4 to 10 years". John L. Sullivan "original" is aged in "single-use American oak bourbon barrels", whatever that means. I suppose that it either means that the aging is done exclusively in "first-fill" (i.e. first re-fill) bourbon barrels, or that the whiskey is aged in used bourbon barrels of indeterminate numbers of uses, after having been used previously only once for bourbon maturation. There is also a John L. Sullivan The Ten Count, which is a 10 year old blended Irish whiskey containing 50% malt, and a John L. Sullivan "Irish Bourbon" (yes, a title banned in the USA) which is a blend of Irish blended whiskey and bourbon. The sample is from a bottle owned by my sister @Maddie, and which has been open about 2 years. The bottle is 90% full

Nose: very sharp very-citrusy barley, sharp "grain" whiskey, which tastes of wheat, and some noticeable oak. This has a lot of vibrancy and a lot of intensity. I like it. I like it better than I like most blended Irish noses. It is ALIVE. Score: 22/25 points

Taste: excellent translation to the mouth of flavours which I thought might be very difficult to translate. This is BRIGHT and very zingy in its tart citrus quality. This is some very tasty citrus here. There is very little sweet balance, but it doesn't matter because the tart citrus tastes so good. The wood is well integrated. Score: 22.5/25

Finish: man, this one just keeps the tart citrus theme going in spades...late in the game the "tart", or what I would call "high-pitched" sour, citrus, becomes more low-pitched 'sour' citrus. Stays really good, though. Score: 22/25

Balance: very good balance on nose and delivery; good balance on the finish. Score: 22/25

Total Sequential Score: 88.5 points


Strength: strong flavours throughout. Score: 22/25 points

Quality: very good quality of all of the flavours. Score: 22.5/25

Variety: adequate variety of flavours. Score: 21/25

Harmony: as stated for Balance, above. Score: 22/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 87.5 points


Comment: this John L. Sullivan blended Irish whiskey was a pleasant surprise for me. As a citrus bomb this one reminds me of one of my great favourites among blended Scotch: The Baillie Nicol Jarvie. Though John L. Sullivan does not have the same sweet counterbalance to the extreme citrus tartness as does BNJ, it succeeds anyway, because the quality of the citrus flavour is so high and so pleasant. This whiskey is one for when you just want a giant blast of citrus. For that it is excellent


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