Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey (2019)
People are always looking for a sense of belonging. It’s what we do. We are pack animals. We like being part of something. It’s why we look wary upon loners.
For my part, I like being part of the whisky community. Time after time I’m amazed at how inclusive most of us are. If you show a genuine interest in whisky you’re welcome to join the group, no matter how different you and I are outside of whisky. We will look after you, care for you, educate you and feed you whisky.
That sense of belonging must also be the reason for the unbelievable success of Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey. This brand from Conor McGregor, the MMA fighter, completely sold out not long after its launch. Demand for it far exceeded anticipation — although not because the whiskey is otherworldly. It isn’t. I think it’s below average actually.
But fans of Conor McGregor want to be able to identify with their hero. It makes them feel good to own a part of him, it makes them feel like they belong. That must be the reason for the success of his whiskey. It’s also why he has 32 million followers on Instagram, leaving other whiskey brands in the dust. Jack Daniel’s has 432.000 followers. Johnnie Walker just over 300.000. No wonder Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey is so popular.
Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey (40%, OB, 2019)
Nose: Very light, and not a beacon of complexity. Hints of straw and a soft sweetness, like honey, but also notes of almonds and lime.
Taste: Light is the keyword again. Hints of caramel and apple skin, as well as sweet pastries, although bitter spices, ginger and tannins form the backbone.
Finish: Lingering bitterness. Oak. Spices.
Not my favourite, but I hope you already gathered that from my notes. Especially the finish takes the whiskey down a few notches. Most people who bought this probably don’t really care much about its flavour though, which is a good thing. They just want to be a part of something.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.