Launched in November 2018, Egan’s Fortitude is the fourth Irish whiskey (and third single malt) in the brand’s portfolio. Its name pays homage to Henry J. Egan, the flinty founder of the 167-year-old distillery. But what really makes this whiskey stand out is its maturation process: It was aged exclusively in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.
That fact should be obvious from the first sniff, which has a strong sherry character that’s at once rich, savory, and dank, recalling beef bullion cubes. It’s also joined by honey and raisin. The medium-gold whiskey starts with a hint of sweet buttercream at the palate, but the powerful and dank flavors of sherry soon take center stage. It’s round and rich on the tongue, and so savory that it’s almost chewable. Nuts and cocoa emerge at the center, and that rich, sherry roundness is first interrupted at the back by oak, then sawdust as it begins to dry out. A strong, tannic kick arrives in tandem, leading to a dried-out finish that almost scorches the tongue with arid spice.
If you still think of Irish whiskey as being exclusively light and sweet, Egan’s Fortitude will apply a welcome shock to your system. While it’s by no means a mild whiskey, it somehow retains some of the characteristic Irish lightness, delivering deep, savory flavors and pumped-up spice while dancing above it all. Better yet, its reasonable price makes the ride as affordable as it is interesting.
— 46% ABV