Seeing as The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City has won top spot in the World’s Best Bar Competition in 2016, the appearance of this relatively new Irish whiskey seems timely. Hell-Cat Maggie was the nom de plume of a female member of the ultra violent 1850’s Irish American street gang, the Dead Rabbits. She apparently fought with tooth and nail, the former being filed into sharp fangs and the latter covered with brass claws. I’m sure she was a fearsome sight to behold.
In any case, today she is still remembered in the 2002 Martin Scorsese film Gangs of New York, and now this whiskey which is made by the Cooley Distillery in County Louth, Ireland. It is imported and bottled by the Phillips Distillery in Minnesota and is a blend of unmalted column still whiskey and malted pot still whiskey and aged for at least three years.
Hell-Cat Maggie Irish Whiskey (80 proof)
Visual: Light gold.
Nose: Malty with fresh-cut green apple, brown bread and gingerbread overtones.
Taste: Light, thin and a bit toasty. Pleasant, but with very little character, and certainly no citrus or vanilla.
Finish: Medium long with a slightly sweet, bready quality.
Overall: A serviceable whiskey, but one that doesn’t stand out amongst the competition. Definitely an entry-level Irish whiskey.
GSN Rating: B