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Damien Grey and Egan’s Irish Whiskey Collaborate on Senses

Only 200 sets of this exclusive 23-year-old Irish whiskey collection are available.

By Toby Louch

It is believed that the receptors in our mouths can only detect five basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and savoriness (umami). The combination of these separate tastes — in addition to other variables like aroma, texture and temperature — forms what we know as flavor. Someone with more than a solid grasp of this concept is chef Damien Grey of two-star Michelin restaurant Liath in Dublin, who has just joined forces with Egan’s Irish Whiskey to release Senses, a set of bottles based on this very concept.

Senses is a rare world-first for the whiskey industry: a new release that will allow consumers to experience the true foundations of flavor in bottle form. This is a set of five individually crafted premium 23-year-old single malt Irish whiskeys, wherein each bottle corresponds to either bitter, sour, salt, umami or sweet.

“I’m not interested in doing anything that has been done before. Senses needed to properly challenge, invert, interrogate, and defy – we wanted to play with what you’d expect. Do it once. Once only. Never again,” said Grey.

Rupert Egan and Damien Grey
Rupert Egan (left) and Damien Grey (right) / ©Egan’s Irish Whiskey

A collaboration between tchef and founder of Dublin’s Liath restaurant, Damien Grey and head bonder of Egan’s Irish Whiskey, Rupert Egan, Senses whiskey marks two experts in their fields joining forces. With only 200 sets available globally, Senses is set to be an extremely limited release and is priced at $6,458.

The relationship between Grey and Egan is one that has been fostered over several years. Egan has produced numerous bespoke whiskey blends that Grey has incorporated into his elevated dishes and used as a cooking ingredient.

“After visiting Damien’s restaurant several times and witnessing the green shoots of him experimenting with whiskey as an ingredient, I felt acquainted enough to suggest that he might consider swapping household whiskey brands for something completely bespoke,” said Egan. “And so, for about a year afterwards, I could be found trotting in and out of Liath restaurant, clinking with different distillates, ages, cask types, blends, finishes and serving strengths. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was being covertly interviewed by Damien for this project.”

[See also: Steph Curry Launches Player Exclusive Bourbon]

Senses Whiskey
Each whiskey comes in its own 700ml bespoke bottle / ©Egan’s Irish Whiskey

For Senses whiskey, things have been taken up a notch. Working with some of the finest wine and spirit producers in the world, Grey and Egan have sourced the ideal finishing casks, essential for imbuing the whiskeys with the unique characteristics they were trying to recreate. One of these casks was sourced from Godet, the world’s oldest cognac family, while others were taken from cask partners who have never before worked with a whiskey brand, making this release particularly special.

“With Goirt (Salt), we wanted a finishing cask that had held a wine or spirit itself produced and aged near the sea,” said Egan. “After stumbling across a price list from the records of my great grandfather’s spirit importation business, I spied Godet, the world’s oldest cognac, as one of his offerings. We then contacted Jean-Jacques Godet to both re-introduce the Egan family and secure his interest in our initiative as well as one of his oldest ex-Grand Champagne casks.”

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Senses Whiskey Collector's Case
The Collector’s Case / ©Egan’s Irish Whiskey

Priced at $6,458, the Senses whiskey Collector’s Case holds five 700ml bespoke bottles of the 23-year-old single malt Irish whiskeys, a sample box that includes all five whiskeys in 40ml tasting vials, and a selection of cards discussing the development journey of the whiskey.

As an additional benefit, owners also get a complementary table for two at Damien Grey’s 14-seater Liath restaurant in Dublin, where they will experience the seasonal tasting menu in all its glory. A final benefit is a membership to Liath’s concierge booking service, making the usually challenging-to-book restaurant, far more accessible.

Senses is available exclusively at celticwhiskeyshop.com    

[See also: Eagle Rare 25 Heralds New Era for Ultra-aged Bourbon]

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