Article by Allie, Liquor Department Associate
Alex Thomas believes that whiskey makers and blenders are caretakers, protectors of something sacred; like the one who carefully “prepares the grave,” she wished to design a blend which was “something different, something approachable” because “The Sexton is about living life well” (O’Connell, 2019).
After a start with Old Bushmills in 2004 working under both Master Distiller Colum Egan and Master Blender Helen Mulholland, Thomas sought to gain her own certification as Master Blender. Long years of study and practice landed her the qualification in 2012, adding her name to a rather short list of female blenders worldwide.
Shortly thereafter, Proximo spirits gave her an opportunity to design her own Irish whiskey blend, packaged with the freedom to creatively express herself however she wished while having full access to Bushmills’s facilities to bring her design to life.
What burst forth onto the market from Thomas’s experimentation — and with high success in both Ireland and in the United States — masterfully blended her own childhood remembrances with that of unique flavors rarely found in Irish spirits.
In several interviews, she cites memories of her grandfather bringing out a bottle of whisky to mark special occasions, as well as her grandmother often using sherry while cooking and baking. This inspired the idea of using sherry barrels, specifically two-year Oloroso casks made from European oak, to age The Sexton’s triple-distilled, 100% Irish malted barley over four years.
The result offers the consumer a nose ripe with nuttiness and “plenty of dried and dark fruits such as stewed plums, cooked blackcurrant and raisins” (O’Connell, 2019). Another reviewer notes cocoa along with sweet candy and rich cake (Peters, 2018).
On the palate, there’s a rush of honey, with spicy and savory notes from the oak. The Oloroso cask also tints the flavors with toffee, baking spices, and jam. The finish is long and fades carefully, soft and memorable.
Look for The Sexton’s signature bottle on our shelves at Superior Liquor: short, dark glass in a hexagonal shape, with sharply contrasted copper lettering. It has
a horse-and-carriage driven by a dapper skeletal figure, the Sexton himself, ready to bring you a carefully tended Irish whiskey . Enjoy The Sexton not only on a special occasion, not simply for enjoyment on St. Patrick’s Day, but instead for whenever you have a hankering for a richly complex and all-around tasty dram.
Find your bottle of the Sexton in Aisle 13 or in the “Feature Space” section of the liquor department, available to you on sale for $27.99.
Sources and Further Reading:
- Butler, Sam. “Whiskey Master Alex Tastes US Success with her Original Spirit.” News Letter, 12 October 2020. https://www.newsletter.co.uk/lifestyle/food-and-drink/whiskey-master-alex-tastes-us-success-her-original-spirit-2998836
- “My Day: Alex Thomas – Master Blender, The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey.” Belfast Telegraph, 12 November 2020. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/ulsterbusiness/profile/my-day-alex-thomas-master-blender-the-sexton-single-malt-irish-whiskey-39738280.html
- O’Connell, Adam. “Talking Irish Single Malt with The Sexton’s Alex Thomas.” Master of Malt, 11 July 2019. https://www.masterofmalt.com/blog/post/talking-irish-single-malt-with-the-sextons-alex-thomas.aspx
- Peters, Josh. “The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey Review.” The Whiskey Jug, 12 March 2018. https://thewhiskeyjug.com/irish-whiskey/the-sexton-single-malt-irish-whiskey-review/
- Wilson, John. “A Spirit of Success: The Women of Irish whiskey.” The Irish Times, 19 January 2019. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/drink/a-spirit-of-success-the-women-of-irish-whiskey-1.3752347
- Zielinski, Tyler. “From Wood to Whiskey: How Alex Thomas Became The Sexton’s First Master Blender.” The Bourbon Review, 17 December 2019. https://www.gobourbon.com/sexton-alex-thomas/