Sailor's Home Irish Whiskey Q&A
Let’s start with the basics, what is Sailor’s Home?
Sailor’s Home Irish Whiskey is a contemporary, premium whiskey brand from Limerick which consists of three expressions - The Journey, The Haven and The Horizon, linked by the desire to explore the boundaries of flavour. Crafted by renowned Master Whiskey Maker Dr Jack Ó’Sé. Sailor’s Home is made in Ireland but shaped by the world, with its distinct flavours created using an adventurous approach to blending, ageing and finishing.
And what is the inspiration behind Sailor’s Home? Is there a real ‘Sailor’s Home’?
Sailor’s Home Irish Whiskey is inspired by the rugged and untamed Wild Atlantic Way on the Western coast of Ireland. There is indeed a real ‘Sailor’s Home’ which was built in 1856 as a welcoming shelter for the international community of seafarers travelling through the port of Limerick. Expressing our passion to explore and create new and delicious whiskey possibilities, Sailor’s Home is about the welcome, character, place, people and stories of Limerick. It’s about the West Coast of Ireland and our unique relationship with the sea. It’s about all those with the need to explore who respect tradition and paths well-travelled, whilst forging a new and innovative approach to Irish Whiskey that places taste above all.
You have a striking bottle design; tell us more about that?
The bottle shape is inspired by the window profile of the Sailor’s Home whilst the decanter-style neck and large wood engraved cork satisfy that desire for a special drinking experience and maintains a contemporary profile.
Our doorway logo provides a welcome message and reinforces that idea of a ‘reward for the explorer’ - symbolising the door to the Sailor’s Home, built in 1856 to give the seafarer both reward and welcome, providing a home away from home.
The various symbols used on the label represent reward for sailors and explorers and are all featured on the coat of arms on the original Sailor’s Home, commemorating the laying of its foundation stone. During the mid-1850s, significant thought was put into this coat of arms to reflect the building’s noble purpose as a welcome for seafarers. These symbols include:
- The bird: good tidings, close to home and family
- Anchor: steadfastness and good luck
- Sailor’s rope and knot: bonds of friendship and love
- Shamrock: perpetuity, flower of Ireland
- Sextant: adventure and navigation
- Diving Helmet: exploring at the limits of possibility
Who is behind Sailor's Home?
Master Whiskey Maker Dr. Jack Ó’Sé developed the flavour of Sailor’s Home. As one of the most respected names in whiskey making in Ireland, he has a lifelong love of learning and passion for the industry, having distilled his first batch of spirit in 1979 and earning his Doctorate in fermentation in 2020. In between, he has achieved a BSc in biochemistry and an MSc in Brewing & Distilling.
Dr. Jack has commissioned several distilleries and has been master distiller for award winning whiskeys. Drawing on influences from his 40-year journey, Jack’s approach to making Sailor’s Home whiskey is clear – to respect tradition and paths well travelled, whilst forging a new and innovative approach to Irish Whiskey, that places taste above all. You can find out more about Dr. Jack Ó’Sé here.
Tell us about the whiskeys themselves?
Sailor’s Home Irish Whiskey is setting out to take whiskey aficionados and cocktail lovers alike the world over, on a new and flavourful journey.
Master Whiskey Maker Dr. Jack O’ Sé pushes the boundaries of distilling, blending, ageing and finishing of Irish whiskey. Inspired by a spirit of adventure and the rugged and untamed Wild Atlantic Way on the western coast of Ireland, and the original Sailor’s Home, a shelter built in 1856 for the international community of seafarers travelling through the port of Limerick.
Sailor’s Home’s flavours are made in Ireland, and shaped by the world - with a generous sprinkling of inspiration. Jack focuses on the native personality of Irish whiskey, ageing to perfect maturity and leveraging his knowledge of wood policy, blending and finishing approaches for delicious flavours and complexity.
Jack’s philosophy is about creating whiskey at its full flavour potential – the breadth of flavour possibilities from Irish malt, pot still and blends, aged 4 years old, 24 years old and every combination between. The international cast of casks Jack uses for Sailor’s Home is testament to his bold and adventurous whiskey making style too: virgin oak, ex- bourbon, sherry, cognac and rum casks; sourced and selected from Spain, USA, France, Jamaica and Barbados. And Jack’s just getting started – Sailor’s Home has many more flavour destinations and styles to explore in the years ahead.
Where is Sailor’s Home distilled?
The Journey and Haven are distilled at the Great Northern Distillery, whilst the Horizon was distilled at the Cooley distillery. Each of our whiskeys are expertly sourced, distilled, aged, blended and finished under the watchful eye of Dr. Jack Ó’Sé.
What’s unique about Sailor’s Home – how is it different from other Irish whiskeys?
This is Irish Whiskey – but not what you might expect. Sailor’s Home Irish Whiskey is focused on bringing new whiskeys to the industry - setting out to take whiskey aficionados and cocktail lovers alike the world over, on a new and flavourful journey.
Master Whiskey Maker Dr. Jack O’ Sé focuses on the native personality of Irish whiskey, ageing to perfect maturity and leveraging his knowledge of wood policy, blending and finishing approaches for delicious flavours and complexity.
The Journey is unlike any other Irish Whiskey in terms of production process and flavour profile – a blend of Irish whiskey aged in virgin casks and recasked into bourbon casks, combined with malt Irish whiskey aged in bourbon and finished in Jamaican rum casks. The Haven is completely engaging with classic pot still spices of all great single pot still Irish whiskeys. The addition of oats to the mash bill of malted and unmalted barley, and ageing in bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks for four and a half years, create a uniquely moreish taste profile and creamy mouthfeel. This is spicy and uncompromising, yet deliciously creamy with great length. The Horizon is all about nuance, with a two part blend of 11 year old grain whiskey and 14 year old malt, both aged in American bourbon barrels. This whiskey was finished for a minimum of 6 months in Barbados rum casks layering sophisticated rum notes. A beautiful example of a great sipping Irish Whiskey, it’s complex, yet accessible and moreish.
Tell me about each of the three expressions, how they’re made and what they taste like?
The Sailor’s Home whiskeys include The Journey, The Haven, and The Horizon:
The Journey Irish Whiskey (The Explorer Series) is the go-to whiskey for adventurers. The liquid’s journey is remarkable - from an initial ageing in virgin American oak, followed by recasking into American bourbon barrels before being blended with malt Irish whiskey that has been matured in American bourbon and finished in Jamaican rum casks. The resulting liquid has tropical fruit and rum notes with sticky toffee pudding and malty depth before a long, almost sweet finish.
- Nose: Butterscotch, toasted oak, dark rum notes
- Palate: Sticky toffee, rum roundness perfectly balanced with malt depth
- Finish: Ripe banana, molasses & vanilla
The Haven Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is Sailor’s Home first release of the unique single pot still Irish Whiskey style - created with both malted and un-malted Irish barley and oats that is then triple pot distilled resulting in a rich, creamy and smooth distillate. The new make spirit is matured in American bourbon barrels and Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, giving the liquid a flavour full of pot still spices, roasted almonds and vanilla notes whilst the finish is long with brown sugar and ripe black fruits.
- Nose: Green grapes, warm spice & honeyed oak.
- Palate: Captivating creamy mouthfeel, pot spices, roasted almonds & vanilla notes.
- Finish: Brown sugar, ripe black fruits.
The Horizon 10 Year Old Irish Whiskey (The Islands Series) is crafted from exceptional Irish malt and grain whiskeys that have been matured for at least 10 years in American bourbon barrels. The remarkable whiskey is then filled into carefully selected Barbados rum casks for a finishing period of 6 months introducing lush, refined flavour twists typical of the birthplace of Caribbean rum.
- Nose: Mouth-watering brown sugar and ripe tropical fruits.
- Palate: Melting pot of malted honey, oak depth, silk rum, vanilla and caramelised banana.
- Finish: Buttery toffee with orange zest.
Can Sailor’s Home be enjoyed in cocktails?
Yes, absolutely. Sailor’s Home can be enjoyed neat as a quality whiskey, but we also welcome experimentation in cocktails. The Haven makes a well-balanced Manhattan cocktail, and The Journey makes an excellent Old Fashioned. And by all means, channel your inner adventurer to come up with your very cocktail.
Try Sailor's Home Irish Whiskey for yourself
You can find out more about Sailor's Home here, and read about Dr. Jack Ó’Sé here. Give the Sailor's Home a go, we have each of the three expressions in stock: The Journey; The Haven; and, The Horizon.