Former Tipperary hurler launches Irish whiskey

John O'Brien has named the whiskey after his uncle, hurler and local publican Jim McDonnell
Former Tipperary hurler launches Irish whiskey

John O'Brien, who launched Jim Mac Irish Whiskey in December, said the whiskey was originally intended for international markets but Covid-19 forced him to look closer to home first.

A former Tipperary hurling star and two-time All-Ireland winner has launched a small batch of premium blend Irish whiskey.

John O'Brien, who launched Jim Mac Irish Whiskey in December, said the whiskey was originally intended for international markets but the challenges of launching during the Covid-19 pandemic forced him to look closer to home first.

The Toomevara native, who is the founder of Fortwilliam Spirits and supported by Enterprise Ireland, said he was fascinated by "the incredibly rich history of the Irish whiskey industry" and is delighted to join the industry at such an exciting time. 

"Launching Jim Mac whiskey in 2020 brought its own unique challenges but with the renewed focus on supporting small Irish businesses, we have been thrilled with the response so far for this special drink,” he said. 

The grain and malt blend whiskey has a rich spiced fruit with vanilla and Christmas cake notes.

The whiskey is named after O'Brien's uncle, Jim McDonnell from Gortagarry, Co. Tipperary, who also played hurling for his home county and whose pub was known locally as 'The Shop.'

"He was a publican, a whiskey lover and bottler, craftsman, patriarch, confidant; the friend you want, the rival you do not. Warrior on the hurling field, gentleman off it," O'Brien said. 

Having crafted this first edition in collaboration with an award-winning Irish distillery, O'Brien says his vision is to create and build a distillery close to Jim Mac’s pub in the shadow of the Devil’s Bit mountain, to produce and mature a new generation of Jim Mac Irish Whiskey.

Jim Mac Whiskey retails at €45 and can be purchased online at irishmalts.com, celticwhiskeyshop.com and selected off-licences nationwide.

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