Pearse 5 Year Old

So I got myself a haircut today. While normally I would say there is nothing collaborating Whiskey and a haircut, I was offered a drop while it all was happening. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been one to turn down free Whiskey, so I just said yes, and was given a glass of Pearse to sip while my shaggy hair was trimmed to a respectable level. While what I am reviewing today is not the exact Whiskey, it did get me thinking about a Whiskey I had a few weeks ago and took some curious notes on; The Pearse 5 Year Old.


This is a limited edition run of 4000 bottles, bottled at 46%. My local happened to have bottle number 1851 in their cabinet, and I thought it might be an idea to try a whiskey I have heard so much about, but never cracked myself. Released in 2018, the spirit is reported to have been distilled in Carlow Brewery, home to O’Hara’s craft beer, matured in refill ex-bourbon barrels from Alltech distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. On a serious note, the gentleman who started the current distillery, Dr Pearse Lyons himself, passed away in March of 2018, so sadly never saw this whiskey released. We raise a glass to him for his work, and hope he gets some of that Angels share wherever he is now. Now, on to the whiskey.

It’s an odd start, I’ll grant you that. Light lemon oils, somewhat wooded and tannic. Black pepper falls against unripe green apple slices, sour black berries, heavy on the raspberry and then that clove hits us hard. The nose reels a touch from the impact, and the longer the whiskey is left in the glass the more pronounced the clove, clove rock, and clove oil all becomes until it is left sitting in a stainless steel vat.

Our palate follows a similar suit, tannic, clove filled, cloying sweetness, sour tart grapes, clove rock, stale malt biscuits, clove rock, stainless steel, clove rock, you get the idea. It decays over time, with less and less coming through each moment. The finish is medium, grape fruit oils, wood, star anise and that bloody clove all coming together over a palate stripping, mouth puckering feel.

It was different, I’ll give it that. The Pearse range has huge variance and difference within it, each Whiskey different to the last in ways you won’t find most anywhere else. I didn’t, and don’t think the Whiskey is good. Overly tannic, too much clove oil and a puckering mouthfeel leaves me to believe the Whiskey is over wooded, overly aged and should have been either blended or different barrels should have been used altogether. I still can’t unsee the word ‘Arse’ in the labelling, but that’s what they went for.

This is a collectors Whiskey. Here you have a drop that was distilled in a brewery, with the association now unspoken of. While Pearse has changed their labels recently (curiously, now more closely mirroring this Whiskey Labelling), it was one of only 4000, making it a collectors item no matter how the taste. And it’s odd that few to no people have picked up on this, very little exposure and I feel as though every time I visit the bar and my local they still have it in stock, but here is a piece of history that can never be replicated.

Dr Pearse is sadly passed, and has left behind him a vacuum, the knowledge he took with him his and his alone. As this happens more and more within Whiskey, we should take solace in the fact that at least some of the Whiskey managed to make it to the glass. And sometimes, that’s worth the taste of cloves.

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