Jameson and the rest of the Irish whiskeys better watch out. MMA figher Conor McGregor recently launched his own personal brand of whiskey in advance of his first bout in the octagon in two years. McGregor is scheduled to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 Las Vegas Saturday, October 6.
The whiskey, called Proper No. Twelve, has been such a hit that Tesco stores in Ireland have had to place a two bottle per person per day cap on sales. I don’t recall Bushmills or Powers ever needing to be rationed due to demand.
Some locations in Ireland have already sold out. “It’s exceeded all expectations. I’m involved with a couple of people who have been in the liquor business their entire lives and they’ve never seen anything like this,” McGregor said at a Las Vegas press conference ahead of tomorrow’s fight.
“I’m actually blown away. It has skyrocketed. We’re at the stage where we’re trying to meet demand now, so we’re getting more glass created and keep the whisky flowing.”
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Proud day! Today “Project Notorious” finally comes to life with the introduction of my new Irish Whiskey; Proper 12. I have spent a lifetime studying this craft under the tutelage of my late Grandfather on my mother’s side, Christopher “Jakes” Moore, and I have put just over 3 years into the making of this liquid alone. I introduce to you @ProperWhiskey! Proper Irish Whiskey, from a Proper Irish man! Born and bred in the Dublin suburb of Crumlin, Dublin 12. Proper Twelve is who I am. I wanted to make an Irish whiskey emblematic of Irish culture as a whole, and something that would showcase the great skill we possess of distilling the best Whiskey in the entire world. One of the many amazing skills we possess on this great island. Proper Twelve is crafted at Ireland’s oldest distillery. It is made with the Isle’s freshest spring water and finest golden grain and single malt – it is pure liquid gold! This is Ireland’s whiskey, and it is my gift to the world. Another proud announcement for me in this venture is that with each case we sell, my company will donate to the first responders in each district the case is sold in. This donation plan will be in operation all over the world. These are the men and women who run into buildings while everyone else is running out. They are our real life heroes – Proper Heroes I look forward to joining all of you in a PROPER salute soon. Sláinte ???
In the U.S., it’s distributed by Proximo, and if you’re looking for an American retailer, you can search by zip code on the Proper No. Twelve website. I called a handful of liquor stores listed near my zip code in Brooklyn, including the only two listed retailers in Manhattan, to gauge popularity, and the results were mixed. Some listed retailers had never heard of it, while others confirmed they still had several cases left. Unsurprisingly, its popularity varied by neighborhood, with some stores reporting few if any bottles sold, while a retailer in a heavily Irish neighborhood in Queens had sold out in less than 48 hours. So if you’re looking for Proper No. Twelve stateside, just be sure to call ahead.
As for Las Vegas retailers and casinos, McGregor said availability wouldn’t be a problem. “I tell you what though, it’s flown into Las Vegas for fight week, know that.” As of now, all the major casinos and several local liquor stores appear to have it on hand.
The whiskey has been in development since at least summer 2017, when it was going by the name “Notorious,” and, according to the press release sent out by the brand’s parent company Eire Born Spirits, is “a blend of the finest golden grain and single malt” and is blended and bottled in “the world’s oldest whiskey distillery” (though the press release neglects to actually name it, WhiskeyCast has confirmed that it is the Bushmills distillery).
The name itself is personal to McGregor.
“I come from a place called Crumlin, in Dublin 12. It’s a place dear to my heart. It’s where I learned how to fight; it made me who I am today. It’s a place I’m still very much a part of every single day of my life. So, that’s where the name came from. It’s proper Irish whiskey and twelve is my hometown,” he said in a statement. “Growing up on the streets of Dublin 12, I learned the values of loyalty and hard work. I respect other Irish whiskeys, but I am coming in strong, with passion and with purpose. I am the founder of this company and I am going to give it my all.”
But what about the taste? The press release describes Proper No. Twelve as “complex and sophisticated yet smooth and approachable with hints of vanilla, honey and toasted wood.” Actual reviewers, however, have been less than complimentary.
Business Insider’s London office was sent a bottle to sample, and it did not go well. The fintech writer Oscar Williams-Grut said it “smelled like ethanol and tasted only marginally better,” adding that although “a small initial sip was deceptively OK, but subsequent snifters were like vanilla flavoring trying to cover up rubbing alcohol.”
The finance desk as a whole was no less sparing. “It tasted like bad whiskey watered down with cheap vanilla extract,” market analyst Will Marten said.
And these were from journalists who appreciate free alcohol.
Over at the culinary desk, however, food taster Harry Kersh offered a more polite assessment. “I’ve had smoother whiskeys in the past, so I wouldn’t recommend anybody drink this neat,” he said before offering an addendum. “But it would probably be fine with a mixer.”
It’s probably no matter, given McGregor’s superstardom and the novelty of a celebrity Irish whiskey. Plus, there’s a philanthropic endeavor paired with each case sold. McGregor had pledged to donate $5 for every case to local first responder organizations and charities.
Have you bought a bottle? Do you intend to? Tell us how it stacks up to other Irish whiskeys in the comments. And be sure to visit our primer on the history of whiskey distilling in Ireland to learn more about this time-honored Irish tradition.