The Irish Review: Element Lore, Outwalker and Stablemate Irish Whiskey

So far in 2024 we've been on a bit of a positivity roll with the lowest score achieved so far being a 4 awarded to the Bunnahabhain 18 year old, which if not for the price, may have achieved a 5. It's when things turn below a 4 that I'd really suggest you take a hard pass on the whisk(e)y.

For this review, as the title suggests, we are back in Ireland with a single malt from Element and a duo of blends from Outwalker and Stablemate. It's always an anxious time for me reviewing new brands that are sourcing their liquid. More often than not it's led to the land of whiskey disappointment, especially in terms of Irish brands. Of course I live in constant hope that something, someday will really up the ante and be a dram that could potentially usurp some of the more famous heavy hitters in the Irish blended market such as Jameson Black Barrel, Bushmills Black Bush and Powers Gold Label. As I state time and again new brands really need to be aiming to make products as good as these to be able to make their mark and have some longevity in the market.

Element Irish Whiskey are an interesting brand. Rather than dictate what they think will make an interesting or superior whiskey they have taken a community led approach, in football terms think more Union Berlin than PSG. To explain, I'll let the Element website do the talking....

The Element team has developed a roadmap of core release categories – Fusion Series, Lore Series, X-Series. Each release takes a core category whiskey and turns it into an innovative expression by working with the Element Solve panel to test, learn, and retest a release before launch.

The Element Solve panel is composed of like minded industry experts, innovative mixologists, and whiskey enthusiasts who bring their knowledge and spirit of adventure to each release.

Each expression has a purpose. Our goal is to push the boundaries, to look beyond the norm, and to create whiskey that we are truly proud to share with the world.

All very interesting. So what's in the Lore Single Malt bottle? Again I'll let the good folk at Element answer that.....

Element’s Lore Series takes inspiration from traditional Irish Whiskies.

This exceptional Single Malt was crafted from ex-Bourbon, Madeira, and Sweet Moscatel casks, carefully selected to create a smooth, approachable whiskey that’s full of depth and character.

The components of this single malt were decided by the crowd – bartenders, industry experts, whiskey societies and consumers. Bottled at 43%, this limited release will see bottles individually hand numbered.

And before you ask, no I was not involved in the 'Solve Panel' or had anything to do with the creation of this whiskey. A bottle costs £56 and I was sent a sample by the lovely Dave Cummings aka @the_mash_upper over on IG. You can also read his thoughts on the same dram at

Next up we have the new blend from Outwalker Whiskey. This is a new venture for Sean Muldoon and Jillian Vose both formerly of The Dead Rabbit pub in New York but who launched Hazel and Apple in South Carolina last year. They are joined in the venture by ex-Irish rugby player Darren Cave and the former general manager of Belfast's The Merchant Hotel, Adrian McLaughlin.

The whiskey itself is a no age statement blend of pot still whiskey aged in ex-oloroso casks, single malt aged in Burgundy white wine casks and single grain whiskies matured in virgin American oak and ex-rye whisky casks. Bottled at a healthy 44.5% abv it costs around £39.99 from most retailers.

Finally we have another new 'contender' in the busy Irish blended market. Stablemate Irish Whiskey is the brainchild of former two weight boxing world champion, Carl Frampton. There is very little info about the liquid itself other than it's 'premium'....well they all are aren't they? Of course celebrity sporting endorsements in the world of whiskey are nothing new, cough cough.....Proper Twelve anyone. Even North Coast golfer Graeme McDowell got in on the action with his Grey Coast blend which I've yet to sample and frankly with the potted history of new Irish blends on here, I'm reticent to part with my cash for it. Back to the comes in a bottle, it's 40% abv and retailed for £34.95, a price point with stiff competition.

Thanks...I think, to Richard aka @whiskeybeercigarguyni

Element Lore Single Malt R/1.0 43%

Nose: Quite fruity - white grapes, pear, orange peel and a hint of lemon sherbet too. There's an oak spiciness with cinnamon, honey and plenty of vanilla. Malt undertones in the background.

Palate: Pretty good body wise. It's clove and cinnamon spiced honey upfront. Digestive biscuit, crème anglaise along with those citrus notes again. Milk chocolate too.

Finish: Decent length with some mocha, citrus and baking spice.

Score: 5 out of 10

Outwalker 44.5%

Nose: Butterscotch, vanilla cream, black pepper, stewed apples with clove and cinnamon and toasted oak. A lemon zest note. No real sherry influence to be found.

Palate: A little spicy kick on arrival - rye spice, pepper and some chilli heat. Then onto stewed apples, almond, caramel and tinned pineapple pieces.

Finish: Quite short with some dry nuttiness, oak and peppery spice

Score: 4 out of 10

Stablemate 40%

Nose: Pear drop sweets, vanilla car freshener, juicy acetone. Very floral and light. Some foam banana sweets too.

Palate: Very thin palate wise. A touch of apricot, caramel and a little vanilla. That's literally all folks.

Finish: Very short. More vanilla, fudge and now a smidgen of spice.

Score: 2 out of 10

Overall: It's back to earth with a bump here at Grumpton and another edition of the Irish Review that is kind of flatlining inspiration wise.

Let's start with the Element. This was okay actually. Perfectly drinkable but pricey. I think similar flavours can be achieved cheaper from something like Bushmills 10 year old, Teeling Single Malt, Tyrconnell, The Irishman or for a similar price but way better experience the Dingle core range Single Malt. I'd say this would need to drop it's price by at least £10 to make it a more attractive proposition.

Next the Outwalker. Straight off the bat this is way to pricey at around £43/€50 a bottle for a NAS Irish blend. The Irish blend market is a super competitive space with lots of good options for not a lot of dough. Thankfully the Outwalker isn't terrible, it's actually quite drinkable, a decent session dram if you will. If it was again around £10 cheaper it might have crept into a 5.

Finally Stablemate. My advice....this will never be your mate, kick it straight out of your stable! Poorly executed and frankly not enjoyable. I'll leave it at that.

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