O’Begley Dubh Reserve Whiskey

O’Begley Distillery is a small outfit located in Pittsford, N.Y. The selection for review, O’Begley Dubh Reserve Whiskey, was given to me as a gift by my mother. She picked up a bottle at the Flour City Market while visiting family in Rochester.


According to the O’Begley Website, the distillation of their spirit is conducted in custom-built stills re-purposed from other industrial materials. According to the label, the word “Dubh” means black in the Irish Gaelic language. The label also mentions the used of charred oak and boasts a mash of 75% New York-grown unmalted barley, 15% malted barley from Pioneer Malting in Rochester and 10% Oats. It also describes the fermentation in detail: 10 days at 77 degrees Fahrenheit using ale yeast of the Fermentitis US-05 strain.

Credit should be given to the proprietors of O’Begley for the clear and concise labeling information. It is a whiskey-fanatic’s dream and perfectly in-tune with what customers are demanding in the current marketplace.

The mashbill harks of Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey, but the dram is much more complex. The small amount of oats give the whiskey a dark and dusky flavor, and the dark color hints at the charred oak influence. I do not know how many times the liquid was distilled nor how long it was aged. It was bottled at 121-proof.

Color: Deep mohogany.

Nose: Ale. Malt. Heavy caramel. Rum/Molasses.

Tongue: Malt. Vanilla. Maple Syrup. Caramel. Coffee. Herbal, spearmint. Very complicated and complex.

Finish: Cedar. Anise. Rubber. Spicy. Lingering, thick molasses.

This is a funky, weird and wonderful dram. I can honestly say I have never had anything like it. Not a whisper or rye anywhere and too complex to be a Single Malt. Quite strong on its own, it is delicious with a splash of ginger ale or ginger beer.

Article by akendeall

Aaron is a whiskey writer, brand ambassador and distiller based in Pittsburgh, Pa., who has been working in the spirits industry since 2013.