Dunville’s 20 Year Old PX Belfast Whisky Week Release

Irish whiskey is currently doing better than ever, and considering its previous track record, that really is saying something.

Now, while there are plenty of established Irish whiskey brands out there, I.E Jameson, Bushmills, and even Proper Twelve (it’s certainly helped make Irish whiskey more popular with the young team) there are plenty more out there just begging to be discovered.

While Dunville’s Irish whiskey is hardly unknown, they have recently been on quite the tear and have really stepped up their game, with some truly exceptional releases. Their efforts were recently rewarded when, in 2022, they became the winners of Ireland’s Best Whiskey.

To celebrate Belfast Whisky Week, Dunville’s recently treated lucky whiskey lovers to their 20 Year Old PX, and what a beauty it was. Here’s a look at what it is that makes this tipple so special, and why Dunville’s look destined for great things in the world of whiskey.

The Loss of an Icon

If you’re anything like us, you’ll no doubt be eager to get to the good stuff, and start learning more about why their 20 Year Old PX Belfast Whiskey Week release is so popular. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that but, in the words of 90’s boyband Take That ‘have a little patience’.

Why the Take That reference? Well, because their story is quite apt for this look at Dunville’s Irish Whiskey. Take That went out on top in the 90’s, and lay dormant for close to a decade. When they returned, they were better than ever. The story of Dunville’s is quite similar (we never thought we’d be talking about 90’s boy bands either, yet here we are).

Dunville’s was originally founded back in 1808 as Dunville & Co, and was predominantly made at Belfast’s Royal Irish Distilleries. The whiskey was hugely popular, not only across Ireland and Europe, but in the States and across the globe as well. The brand was unstoppable and was a true icon of the time. We know that words like ‘Icon’ are thrown around a lot these days, but take it from us, ‘Icon’ was more than apt when describing Dunville’s in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

After Dunville’s constructed their very own distillery, known as the Royal Irish Distilleries in 1869, they enjoyed huge success. As its peak, the distillery was producing over 2.5 million gallons every single year! That’s a heck of a lot of whiskey. Their signature whiskies were Dunville’s VR, along with Dunville’s Three Crowns.

Prohibition of course damaged the brand as they lost their American market. Despite this, they still comfortably ticked over until the death of chairman Robert Lambart Dunville, in 1931. The company then began struggling with daily operations, despite still making good money, and in 1936 the company was liquidated, and the distillery fell silent.

Rising From the Ashes

After Dunville’s wound up, the whiskey remained in very high demand. The only place you could get a bottle would be at auction, and even then, you had to have the luck of the Irish on your side.

As the decades ticked by, Dunville’s whiskey became rarer and rarer, and looked set to become extinct, resigned to the history books. After close to 80 years however, the Dunville’s brand rose from the ashes and was revived with a new home – The Echlinville Distillery.

Ireland’s first farm distillery, Echlinville became the new home of Dunville’s in 2013. The distillery previously purchased spirits from various other distillers and would age it themselves. In 2016, after eight decades, Dunville’s Three Crowns and Dunville’s VR was back on the market, and Irish whiskey drinkers across the land rejoiced.

Dunville’s 20 Year Old PX Belfast Irish Whiskey Week Release

As you’re all well aware, the cask/casks that you age and mature your whiskies in can have a dramatic effect on the finished product.

Typically, we have ex-bourbon casks, ex-red wine casks, and ex-port casks. Another hugely popular cask used for aging whiskey, however, is Sherry. As part of a special release for Belfast Whiskey Week 2023, Dunville’s released their 20 Year Old PX Cask Strength Irish Whiskey, and the reception has been incredibly popular.

Coming from cask 1652, and with an ABV of 55.5%, this single malt Irish whiskey shares some characteristics that you might expect to find in a Scotch. There is more burn than with a lot of Irish whiskies, yet it is still extremely smooth.

Those 20 years of maturation have really given the whiskey a gorgeous tawny red colour that just looks more and more appealing the more that you look at it. The Pedro Ximenez Sherry influences are really apparent, in terms of appearance, aroma, and flavour.

On the nose, you immediately pick up notes of Christmas pudding, sticky dates, stewed plums, Seville orange marmalade, warm winter spices, and a touch of sweet oak. There is a lot going on here, and we love that.

On the palate, the excitement keeps building. The sweet grapey sherry influence is present immediately, coupled with dark chocolate cherry liqueurs. Toasted tea cake and buttery Christmas pudding flavours also shine through. There is also a slight pepperiness present, though that is balanced beautifully by flavours of sweet apricot jam and a suggestion of lightly toasted oak.

The finish is extremely long and drawn out, leaving you with a very pleasant warming sensation and a near-velvet smooth finish. The finish is quite extraordinary and will have your palate screaming for another sip. Again, Christmas spices such as cloves and cinnamon are present, coupled with cherry compote, malt loaf, and a hint of dark chocolate.

If you’re looking for a selection of rare, award-winning, limited-edition, and delicious Whiskey just like the one listed above, why don’t you head on over to the Greatdrams.com website and take a look at some of the amazing drams that we have available?

Here you’ll find all manner of different whiskies, primarily Scotch, to suit all palates and budgets.

Whether you’re looking for smooth and creamy reminiscent of an Irish whiskey such as the one covered above, a harsh and smoky dram, tart and fruity, or anything in between, here at Great Drams, we’ve got everything you need, and plenty more besides.  

From Speyside and Islay, to The Highlands and Campbeltown, and everywhere in between, we’ve got drams from all over our great nation, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

Tags: 20 Year Old PX Belfast Whisky Week ReleaseDunville


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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