W.D. O'Connell Bill Phil - Irish Whiskey Review

Posted by Irish Whiskey USA on



Bill Phil Irish Whiskey is our Whiskey of the Month for February 2024. This peated single malt is the proper companion for fireside sipping during the February chill. In honor of Groundhog Day we also wanted to give a shout out to the classic movie and its two famous stars: Bill (Murray) and (Punxsutawney) Phil. (Bill Murray's character was also named Phil). While these two make great comedic partners, they are not the inspiration for this lovely Single Malt.

Bill Phil is actually the brainchild of Daithi O'Connell of W.D. O'Connell Whiskey Merchants. The initial release from this Co Waterford independent bottler, Bill Phil is actually a family nickname. Bill Phil ushered in the new age of peated Irish whiskeys back in early 2020. For nearly two decades, Kilbeggan Distillery's double distilled Connemara was THE representative for peated Irish Whiskey. After the Batch One Bill Phil release in Spring 2020, others soon followed like Teeling Blackpitts and The Legendary Silkie later that year. 
Attendees (myself included) of WhiskeyLIve Dublin 2019 were the first to try the initial Bill Phil expression. One of the standouts of the event, Irish Whiskey fans did not have to wait long for the release of Batch One a few months later. Released in Batch bottlings, Batch 4 was made available to the US market. As of this writing the latest Batch 7 can be acquired through IWSA partners Irish Malts and James Fox Dublin.

The whiskey itself is sourced from Great Northern Distillery in Co. Louth. The liquid is triple distilled malt using peat from Montrose Scotland and casked at 63% abv. The non-age statement, non-chill filtered single malt is matured in bourbon casks for ~3.5yrs then bottled at 47.5% abv with no coloring added.

Official Tasting notes:

Aroma: Citrus fruits and peated smoke fills the senses. Distinctively fresh vibrant notes of cereal slowly emerge, carrying waves of poached pear, earl grey tea as the phenolic oils dissipate.

Palate: Clarified butter over crumbled biscuit with clean waves of lightly smoked malt, banana bread, sweet cassia & bergamot.

Finish: Fresh clementine oil, whispers of smoke, applewood chips & ripe orchard fruits.

At 55 ppm, peat is evident on the nose along with a whiff of grapefruit. Lovely balance between sweet fruit notes and light layers of peat smoke linger through the medium finish. Soft peppery spice throughout complements the sweetness. Upon release, this was the first triple distilled, peated Irish single malt in over 50 years. This uniqueness is a goal of W.D. O'Connell through their small batch releases. W.D. O'Connell was the recipient of Favorite Irish Bonder or Independent Bottler in our 2023 Izzy Awards. Bill Phil is a two time nominee for Favorite Peated Irish Whiskey.  

In the spirit of the movie Groundhog Day and its famous co-stars, its fair to say this whiskey 'fits the Bill (Phil)' as something you wouldn't mind drinking over and over if reliving the same day.

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