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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: The Sexton

The winner of a bundle of Sexton Irish Whiskey goodies is…

Every time a competition ends a winner must be announced. Isn’t it exciting? This time somebody is about to discover they’ve been lucky enough to nab a bundle of Sexton…

Every time a competition ends a winner must be announced. Isn’t it exciting? This time somebody is about to discover they’ve been lucky enough to nab a bundle of Sexton Irish Whiskey goodies!

Winner, winner chicken dinner. Somebody’s won one of our signature #BagThisBundle competitions and got themselves a terrific bundle coming their way. It’s full of Sexton Irish whiskey goodies. Although there’s no chicken involved. Sorry, that might have been confusing. 

But the good news is that the victor is going to have so much whiskey and equipment to make a host of delicious Irish whiskey cocktails that they’ll happily supply the chicken themselves. The Sexton has ensured that the bundle includes a bottle of its tasty Single Malt as well as a branded speed pourer, ice stamp, cocktail booklet, and lapel pin. Oh, and two branded slate coasters and six (6!) highball glasses. It’s quite the haul.

Sexton Irish Whiskey

And it’s all heading the way of one lucky individual. Congratulations to…

David Judge!

Enjoy the spoils of your victory sir. For everyone else, there’s plenty of other competitions to enter!

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#BagThisBundle – Win a bundle of Sexton Irish Single Malt Whiskey goodies!

It’s time to dream of prizes boozy and brilliant as we have a new #BagThisBundle competition to enter! Fans of Irish whiskey don’t want to miss out on this… The…

It’s time to dream of prizes boozy and brilliant as we have a new #BagThisBundle competition to enter! Fans of Irish whiskey don’t want to miss out on this…

The Irish whiskey boom has paved the way for a number of intriguing new bottles to appear on the scene. Take The Sexton, for example. It’s an Irish single malt was created by one of the few female master blenders in the Irish whiskey industry, Alex Thomas. 

Thomas works with spirit made entirely from Irish malted barley at Bushmills Distillery, which is triple distilled in copper pot stills before being matured in European oak casks from France that are seasoned with Oloroso sherry from Jerez over in Spain. The result is a rich, sherried treat with notes of dark chocolate, dried fruit, and aromatic spice.

It’s also a real all-rounder of a dram that’s perfect for whipping up some delicious Irish whiskey cocktails with. And we’d like to make doing that a little easier. That’s why we’ve teamed up with The Sexton to launch a new #BagThisBundle competition. If you win, the following will be yours.

  • The Sexton Single Malt
  • A branded speed pourer
  • A branded ice stamp
  • A cocktail booklet
  • A branded lapel pin
  • Two branded slate coasters
  • And six (6!) Highball glasses
Sexton Irish Whiskey

This bundle has everything you need to master Irish whiskey mixology

A host of sensational whiskey cocktails await you. As long as you remember to enter. It’s pretty important that you do the following steps. Thankfully, we’re once again using our tried and tested system. It’s delightfully simple. Here’s what you need to do:

That’s it. Now get entering!

MoM Sexton Irish Single Malt Whiskey ‘Bag This Bundle’ Competition 2021 open to entrants 18 years and over. Entries accepted from 12:00:01 GMT on 5 May to 23:59:59 GMT on 9 May 2021. Winners chosen at random after close of competition. Prizes not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash equivalent. See full T&Cs for details.

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Saint Patrick’s Day cocktails to make at home

It’s a celebration that usually calls for Irish whiskey, Baileys or Guinness. But why not take things up a notch this year by making some delightful Saint Patrick’s Day cocktails?…

It’s a celebration that usually calls for Irish whiskey, Baileys or Guinness. But why not take things up a notch this year by making some delightful Saint Patrick’s Day cocktails?

Just like last year, we’ve had to significantly adjust our usual Saint Patrick’s Day plans in order to comply with lockdown restrictions. This means we’re reduced to making the best of at-home celebrations. This could mean making an extravagant Irish feast. Or dialling into a virtual event you have planned with friends and family. However you’re choosing to mark the day, I think we can all agree to it just wouldn’t be the same without something delicious to drink.

Now, you could go down the traditional route and grab a Guinness, or pour yourself a measure of Baileys or a delightful dram of Irish whiskey. All fine choices we heartily recommend. However, for those who want to make the night feel a bit more special, we thought you’d enjoy a few cocktails that you can mix up simply at home. From the classic Irish Coffee to creative twists on other iconic serves, these beauties demonstrate your Paddy’s Day drink doesn’t have to be booze dyed green or contain nauseating references to leprechauns or lucky charms…

Easy and tasty Saint Patrick’s Day cocktails  

St. Patrick’s Day cocktails

Tully & Tonic

What is it: 

We know you’re more used to Gin & Tonic, but you’d be surprised at how beautifully Irish whiskey pairs with the classic mixer. This refreshing serve allows you to enhance the fruitier, more tropical flavours of Tullamore D.E.W while requiring absolutely zero mixology skills. 

What do I need?:

50ml Tullamore D.E.W. XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish
Premium bottled tonic water
Pineapple leaves 

How do I make it?:

Pour the measure of whiskey into a Highball glass and then fill it to the brim with ice cubes. Top with tonic water and gently stir with a bar spoon. Garnish with two pineapple leaves and enjoy!

St. Patrick’s Day cocktails

The Bee’s Knees.

What is it?: 

A meady take on the classic 1920’s prohibition-era cocktail which actually combines two different Irish spirit brands in one simple but sublime serve.

What do I need?:

25ml Gunpowder Gin
50ml Atlantic Dry Mead
15ml honey syrup
15ml fresh lemon juice
A lemon twist (to garnish)

How do I make it?:

Add the gin, mead, honey syrup and fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Then, shake well and pour the mix into a coupe cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

St. Patrick’s Day cocktails

Irish Coffee

What is it: 

There are a million different ways to make this iconic Irish serve, but our friends over at Swift have well and truly nailed the process of creating the finest Irish Coffee. Just ask anybody who has ever been to the London bar. 

What do I need?:

40ml Jameson Caskmates
75ml fresh filter coffee
Demerara sugar
Double cream
Fresh nutmeg

How do I make it?:

Start by lightly whipping the cream until it is very slightly thickened, then set aside. In a serving glass, combine the Jameson Caskmates, coffee and some Demerara sugar (you can adjust the amount to your taste). Then, slowly pour the cream over a bar spoon and onto the coffee, which will make sure the cream floats on top. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top to garnish.

St. Patrick’s Day cocktails

Wee Lady⁠

What is it?: A light, fruity and fun serve that looks terrific, the Wee Lady is made with Jawbox, is a classic dry gin that features Irish botanicals like local Belfast black mountain heather. 

What do I need?:

50ml Jawbox Small Batch Gin⁠
15ml Calvados
25ml fresh lemon juice⁠
15ml sugar syrup
5ml Grenadine syrup⁠
1 egg white⁠
Maraschino cherry for garnish⁠

How do I make it?:

Pop all of the ingredients (apart from the garnish) into a cocktail shaker and then dry shake for about 30 seconds. Add ice and shake again until cold. Fine strain into a Martini glass and garnish with your cherry. 

St. Patrick’s Day cocktails

Laid To Rest

What is it?: A sherry-tastic cocktail, combining two varieties of the Spanish fortified wine with The Sexton Single Malt, which was matured in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks.

What do I need?:

25ml The Sexton
10ml Pedro Ximénez sherry
20ml Manzanilla sherry
20ml spiced claret syrup
Mint leaves
Dried blood orange

How do I make it?:

First, combine The Sexton Single Malt, both sherries and your syrup and give it a good stir. Then strain this mix into a glass over crushed ice and garnish it with mint leaves and a slice of dried blood orange.

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MoM Loves: The Sexton Single Malt

If it wasn’t already on your radar because of its awesome bottle and delicious liquid within, The Sexton ought to be, seeing as the Irish single malt was created by…

If it wasn’t already on your radar because of its awesome bottle and delicious liquid within, The Sexton ought to be, seeing as the Irish single malt was created by one of the few female master blenders in the Irish whiskey industry, Alex Thomas! We chatted with her to find out more about her wonderful creation.

Paid partnership 

The Irish whiskey industry has had something of a revival in the last decade or so, and with unique, modern expressions like The Sexton gracing our palates, it’s easy to see why! “I had a dream of creating a whiskey that everyone would enjoy and that paid homage to those who came before us,” The Sexton creator, master blender and distiller Alex Thomas tells us. 

The Sexton Single Malt

The wonderful Alex Thomas with her creation

Having worked at Bushmills before venturing to craft her own whiskey, there’s no doubt that Thomas is well-versed in what makes a classic Irish whiskey. But while tradition and history is important to her, there’s no way she’s stuck in the past. “I wanted it to be approachable for those who thought whiskey was not for them, and memorable enough for the whiskey connoisseur to enjoy the experience.” Sounds like an all-rounder to us! “As the Irish Whiskey category continues to rise, I wanted to introduce a liquid that could represent the changing face of Ireland – capturing the heritage and provenance of the past and the optimism and creativity of the future.” What we have here is a modern whiskey that’s not afraid to be mixed, while still paying homage to its heritage. 

The whiskey

The Sexton is distilled entirely from Irish malted barley, triple distilled in copper pot stills  before it’s matured in some very special casks. European oak from France is dried for a minimum of 16 months before it’s crafted into casks and toasted. They’re not filled yet, but seasoned with Oloroso sherry from Jerez over in Spain.

The Sexton Single Malt

Sherried Irish single malt, what more could we want?

Why sherry? “My grandmother inspired my love for sherry. I was always interested in why sherry was her secret ingredient in her fruit cakes,” says Thomas. “Ageing the liquid in these wine-soaked barrels results in the perfect balance of dried fruits and subtle oak notes, which helps achieve a depth of flavour.” We’d have to agree, with balanced but complex notes of oak spice, marmalade and dried fruit alongside dark chocolate and honey leaping from the glass. 

The bottle!

There is more to this wonderful bottle than just aesthetics, that’s for sure. The shape is inspired by the mesmerising Giant’s Causeway, found over on the North Coast of Ireland, which we’d have to say is rather original.  

The Sexton Single Malt

Giant’s Causeway, or lots of bottles of The Sexton?

The name, Sexton, is derived from the Medieval Latin word sacristanus, meaning custodian of sacred objects, used to describe the man who prepared the grave. “The Sexton challenges you that before you meet the man that will lay your body to rest, to make choices every day that will add up to a life story worth telling.” Well, that explains the skull and top hat on the front of the bottle. We guess you could call Thomas a custodian in her own way, a guardian of her own brilliant Irish whiskey. Too far? Never…

The Sexton Single Malt

It’s all in the detail

We had to ask Thomas what’s next for The Sexton, and as is usually the case with these kinds of questions, her answer was as exciting and cryptic as we hoped! “As a master blender and distiller I am always experimenting, and dream of expanding The Sexton family in time,” she tells us. “But watch this space.” Consider our eyes peeled.

How do I drink it?

Thomas is far from a purist here, and while she herself enjoys it neat she encourages drinkers to try it in a whole range of cocktails. We’ve got a couple of serves here for you, recommended by the master blender herself!

You can find The Sexton on MoM right now!

Love It To Death

50ml The Sexton

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Top with soda water

Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon peel.

The Sexton Single Malt

It’s all sherry and whiskey in the Laid to Rest cocktail!

Laid To Rest

25ml The Sexton

10ml Pedro Ximénez sherry

20ml Manzanilla sherry

20ml spiced claret syrup

Serve over crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves and dried spices.

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Talking Irish single malt with The Sexton’s Alex Thomas

The Sexton Single Malt is an Irish single malt that has done a good job of establishing itself in a competitive market. We talk to creator Alex Thomas to find…

The Sexton Single Malt is an Irish single malt that has done a good job of establishing itself in a competitive market. We talk to creator Alex Thomas to find out how she did it, why it was important to make a distinctly Irish spirit and how she relates to the last person to see our bodies before they are laid to rest…

“Growing up my grandfather and father always kept a bottle of single malt whiskey in the house. It came out on special occasions, like 21st birthdays and weddings. But it also mainly came out when people had passed away. All the friends and family got together and they celebrated the life of that person that had passed and told their stories,” says Alex Thomas, founder of The Sexton Irish whiskey brand. “That’s what I wanted The Sexton to represent; living life well and having those memories you’ll share with your loved ones.”

Thomas is one of the few female master blenders in the Irish whiskey industry. We meet at an event thrown by The Sexton called ‘Own The Night’, which features plenty of very tasty cocktails (more on them later), a sensory experience based on the whiskey’s profile and a live photography exhibition. She is there to spread the word about her creation, The Sexton Single Malt, and its launch in London, Belfast and Dublin in December 2018 following a promising debut in America.

Thomas landed her first job in the industry at Bushmills Distillery. Her husband had come home from a shift at the distillery in 2004 to tell her about a new job opening. “Growing up with the distillery on your doorstep, it was a dream come true for many of us to be able to work there. When an opening came up, I jumped at the chance,” says Thomas. “I started working in the maturation and distillation part of the business with the great Colum Egan and fell in love with the process of turning something raw into something so delicate and rich that people can enjoy. I decided to do my exams and become qualified, and in 2012 I finished my exams and received my distilling diploma. From there I founded The Sexton, and everything that followed has just been a dream come true.”

The Sexton

Alex Thomas, founder of The Sexton

As Thomas speaks, photos are projected on the screens across each room showing images of people enjoying themselves with a dram in hand. The event space has a distinctive, macabre and gothic aesthetic influenced by The Sexton’s branding, which extends to the name. Anyone who’s big on Medieval Latin (where my people at?!) will know that ‘Sexton’ derives from the word ‘sacristanus’, meaning custodian of sacred objects, and is used to describe the person who prepared the grave, the last to witness the body before being laid to rest. “I wanted a name that would represent what I do. As a master blender and distiller, I am the caretaker of this amazing whiskey while it’s in the cask. The Sexton is about living life well before you meet the man that lays your body to rest, so that’s why I kind of came round the idea of naming it ‘The Sexton’. I wanted it to be something different, something approachable.”

That ambition obviously extended to the bottle design, which is unlike most you’ll see. It features The Sexton himself, a well-dressed skeleton (there’s even a skeleton horse and skeleton coachman). But the squat black hexagonal bottle is a striking image on its own, although it’s clearly going to be a challenging pour for a bartender with average size hands. “The distillery is up in the north coast of Antrim where there’s nothing more famous than the Giant’s Causeway stones, so that’s where the shape comes from,” says Thomas. “It’s dark, specifically because there’s a rich sherry colour to the whiskey so you’re getting that hint of what the darkness is going to be. I wanted people to get a little bit of that experience when they release it from the bottle… I’m sure the glass designer loved me!”

Thomas wanted it to stand out as she understands she’s working in an incredibly competitive market. “When I started in the industry there were only three distilleries. I knew that the branding needed to be bold and make a statement. Hopefully, those people who try it for the first time because of how it looks come back a second time for what’s in the bottle,” explains Thomas. “That’s the most important part. It’s the whiskey that is the main feature of The Sexton but the bottle attracts the attention to get you to try it first. It’s ultimately about the quality. From start to finish everything I use in that bottle is high-end quality, from the barley to the distillate, to the cask – everything.”

The Sexton

The ‘Own The Night’, featured cocktails, a sensory experience and a live photography exhibition

For all the fun and intrigue of The Sexton’s branding, the process behind creating this whiskey is where things get interesting. News has emerged recently that sources in the Irish grain industry claim that less than a quarter of the grain used to produce Irish whiskey is indeed from Ireland. This is not the case with The Sexton, which was made from 100% Irish malted barley. “The barley I use comes from the south east coast of Ireland, in Wexford and Tipperary. It’s a two-row barley, low on protein because I need to get at the sugar to be able to produce alcohol,” Thomas explains. Her use of Irish barley shows her commitment to provenance. But it’s more than this: “Ireland is my home, it’s where I’ve grown up all of my life and one thing I believe we do in Ireland well is make whiskey. Personally, I think we’re the best in the world and I wanted to represent Ireland as a whole.”

The Sexton is a brand without a distillery, a common sight in Irish whiskey. Thomas, however, hasn’t simply bought in the spirit. Instead, she was granted access to use the stills at Bushmills and runs her own distillation. “It’s wonderful, there’s no other industry that would allow that to happen, that would share their secrets. They taught me from the beginning to make Irish whiskey the best possible way I could so that I could represent the category well,” Thomas says. “My warehouse is on their premises as well. Hopefully, the future is big for The Sexton and who knows what will happen. But, for now, they allow me to do my work.”

Unsurprisingly Sexton Single Malt is triple-distilled, like Bushmills whiskey. Thomas opted to go down the same route because she enjoys the “smooth distillate it produces, a really sweet, fruity flavoured delicate spirit. Triple distillation also allows me to remove all of the things in the whiskey that I wouldn’t want,” she added.

The Sexton

Thomas sourced the barley and casks herself

The final defining characteristic of Sexton Irish Single Malt is its oloroso cask finish. Thomas established a relationship with the Antonio Paez Lobato family, who have over 70 years experience, in Jerez in Spain and the barrels are processed to her own specifications, from oak type, toast level, type of wine used and length of time of the seasoning. “I sourced the European oak in France, moved it over to Spain where it was air-dried for 16 months, toasted from the inside to a medium-high level and then seasoned for two years with oloroso sherry that I picked along with the family,” Thomas explains. “It’s then moved over to Ireland with around five to ten litres inside so the cask is really fresh”. Her approach to maturation mirrors her meticulousness with her selection of raw material and distillation process. Distillers and blenders working with cooperages to this extent are not uncommon, but there are plenty who aren’t as involved to this extent.

The Sexton is matured in first, second and third fill oloroso sherry casks, an approach Thomas settled on after a lot of trial and error. “At first I only wanted first-fills, but these are really heavily coated with the sugar coming in from the sherry and it was too sweet, which may have brought in new palates but I’m a whiskey maker so I wanted people who drink whiskey,” Thomas explains. “So I introduced a little second fill, but there was still something ever so slightly missing. I then introduced a couple of third fills and that nuttiness started to come back in from the European oak and it was like a day made in heaven! It was a eureka moment for me, the flavour profile just changes so much having that little bit of the second and third fill in there.”

The Sexton

Thomas at the ‘Own the Night’, walking guests through the sensory experience

The booze

The big question that remains is, how does The Sexton Single Malt taste? Well, it’s safe to say I was impressed. But before we get to that, Thomas was kind enough to let us sample her new make and the sherry used to season her oloroso casks as well as The Sexton itself, so here are our thoughts:

The Sexton

The Sexton Single Malt new-make sample

The Sexton Single Malt New-Make Tasting Note:

Nose: Homemade blackberry jam, crisp fresh malt and a little floral honey. Desiccated coconut, soft vanilla, marmalade and spearmint emerge underneath, as well as a hint of anise and soft marshmallow.

Palate: Hot white pepper spice initially, then a wave of fresh tropical fruit, buttery pastries and damp hay.

Finish: Banana foam sweets linger.

The Sexton

The Sexton Single Malt sherry sample

The Sexton Single Malt Sherry Tasting Note:

Nose: Savoury salty notes with some dried fruit, caramel and rich walnuts, then a touch of minerality and bittersweet herbs.

Palate: Refreshingly dry, with bright citrus, dried stone fruits, pecans and rounded sherry spice, then a touch of oak.

Finish: Good length with sherried peels and a touch of salinity.

The Sexton Single Malt Tasting Note:

Nose: The nose is rich, sherried and highly resinous, with oily walnuts, thick slabs of dark chocolate and plenty of dried and dark fruits such as stewed plums, cooked blackcurrant and raisins. A light maltiness emerges underneath with marzipan, caramel and a pinch of drying baking spice.

Palate: Robustly elegant, with prunes, Manuka honey and a little tropical fruit while the mid-palate is filled with stone fruit, oak spice, marmalade with zest, polished furniture and a hint of dried herbs. Treacle toffee, cocoa and a little menthol note add depth.

Finish: Mulberry jam, coffee icing and some woodiness lingers and dries into more maltiness.

Overall: An approachable, affordable and very tasty dram. The flavours are balanced, there’s some depth there and, to be honest, I helped myself to a second dram. I can’t help but think this whiskey also has a profile that lends itself to mixing and cocktail creation. Speaking of which…

The Sexton

The cocktail bar at the ‘Own the Night’ event

Cocktails

Thomas has something in common with many modern whiskey producers, in that she’s keen for the spirit to be disassociated from the tired image of it being an old man’s drink. “I had a real strong belief that if people got to experience single malts at a younger age, they would fall in love with whiskey,” she says. Thomas wants people to enjoy The Sexton Single Mal, whether they drink it neat, with a mixer or in a cocktail. “My father is a very traditional whiskey drinker: you either drink it neat with ice or with a little bit of water. But he embraces the fact that I’m the next generation and I want to drink it my way. We don’t eat in the same restaurants, we don’t live the same lives, so it’s about being unique and experiencing it your way.”

After trying a cocktail, or two, at the ‘Own the Night’ event (what? It was important research), it was clear that The Sexton mixes beautifully, as Thomas has found through her own personal research. “To be honest, it’s a perk of the job getting to try the different takes on what the mixologists work with and I must admit, I haven’t found one that I haven’t liked!”

The following examples, Bury the Hatchet, Love it to Death and Laid to Rest were all on show during the event and are easy enough to make at home. Enjoy!

The Sexton

Bury the Hatchet

Bury the Hatchet

Combine 50ml of The Sexton Single Malt, 25ml of lemon juice, 12.5ml of sugar syrup) in a glass, then top with soda water and add a 15ml sweet sherry float. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.

The Sexton

Love it to Death

Love it to Death

Combine 50ml of The Sexton Single Malt, 25ml of fresh lime juice, 12.5ml of Aperol, 2 dashes of absinthe, 20ml of sugar syrup in a glass, then serve garnished with thyme and orange peel.

The Sexton

Laid to Rest

Laid to Rest

Combine 25ml of The Sexton Single Malt, 5ml of Pedro Ximenez sherry, 20ml of manzanilla sherry, 12.5ml of spiced claret syrup in a glass serve over crushed ice. Garnish with mint leaves and dried spices.

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