Two Stacks Smoke & Mirrors Imperial PX Finish

What was the occasion: Whisky tasting bitches! Wait, that sounds like I made whisky from female dogs… let’s start over.

It’s a whisky tasting! Yeah, it’s been too long, and these are great. How are we starting? With a mystery from /u/devoz , of course. One he promises will wack my brain from here to Toledo, which is at least a day’s drive.

What whisky did we review? Two Stacks Smoke & Mirrors Imperial PX Finish is what I was poured blind. Oh, did you think I was going to skip my “recipe blogger”-esque preamble for a mystery? Not on your life bucko.

So what is it? You sitting down? Holding onto something? Perhaps 12 drinks in? Okay, it’s three different malts from Great Northern Distillery, each aged in a different cask, and then vatted together in an ex-Imperial Stout cask that previously held Sherry.

We’ve hit peak insane casks. Oh, did I mention that two of the malts were triple distilled while the third was double? Or that one is peated? Or that one used Stout Malt and was aged in ex-Imperial Oatmeal stout casks? No? Probably because I’m howling at the moon at how insane this is.

Hey, blenders, take some fucking notes from Two Stacks: This is the kind of insane creativity I will buy, immediately, if given the chance (this sold out quick).

What’s the distillery? Ahem, I believe you mean “Bonder and Blender”, oh standard paragraph starters…

What’s the bonder and blender (you pedant): Two Stacks is an independent bonder and blender of Irish whiskey. Thus they source different whiskies from across Ireland, age them if they need it, and blend them to make them all tasty-like. It’s something that Ireland used to have a lot of, and then… Well, you know, colonialism and England, as a country and empire, were giant bags of dicks.

Two stacks has been around since 2020, and started releasing whisky once their facility was opened in 2022. The number one thing you’ve probably seen is their “Dram in a Can”, but they are popping up more and more, and I’m taking notice.

What’s my bias? All I’ve had was Dram in a Can, and let me tell you something… It was bought as a joke and wasn’t half bad. They could have just poured the worst whiskey in there imaginable and called it a day. It’s obvious a simple whiskey that was released to raise the initial money and get the name out, and so, soso many distilleries/blenders have pulled that before.

Instead you got a whiskey with complete transparency and a not half-bad taste. But now we’re in the real world, with full bottles and expectations and all that. So let’s see how this does, shall we?

Price: €70

Region: Ireland

Distillery: Great Northern Distillery

Bottler: Killowen Distillery


  • 30% Triple Distilled Peated Malt aged in ex-Bourbon casks
  • 60% Triple Distilled Stout Malt aged in ex-Imperial Oatmeal Stout casks
  • 10% Double Distilled Double Malt aged in First-fill Bourbon Casks

Cask Finish: All of that was finished in Dot Brew’s Ex-PX Sherry Imperial Stout Casks for 9 months

Number of bottles: 318

Abv: 56.0%

Colour: 5Y 8/8

Nose: Vegetal, green apple, coal, butterscotch

Interesting. At first I’m jumping between thinking this is some cask influence char/heather or some actual peat, and it’s a tough one. The main thing I should have focused on was the tart note of apple. That was something I noticed last time. Which could be a fluke, or could be legit. Hard to say. Maybe it’s the double distilled, which is similar for both?

On the mystery front, I’m not getting a huge amount of complexity, but I’m thinking not Islay, so I’m starting to dance around different whiskies with vegetal notes.

Taste: Brine, lime, char, diesel, peanut butter

Weird, now there’s brine, more char, some strong notes, and peanut butter? It’s quick odd. I’m completely lost at this point.

Like, maybe I could see the diesel note being similar to the metallic aspect you get from some triple distilled whiskies, but that’s a stretch. Again, not overly complex, but confusing at the same time. Did someone put Clynelish in an ex-peated cask? Like a crazy person (I mean me).

Finish: Vegetal, cinnamon, pear, brine, smoke/cocoa

There’s the vegetal note again. I’ve decided it isn’t just barrel char, there’s some ex-bourbon going on, and I’ve decided it’s not Ardlair based on the one Ardlair I’ve had.

Yes I didn’t go to a nice post-secondary education, how could you tell?

Very odd. I’m thinking maybe some odd cask of Highland Park? I recently got confused with one of those, maybe this is that again.

Conclusion: Fun, odd, would have appreciated a bit more time to develop the flavours more, but all in all very nice. Given that the first Great Northern Distillery whiskey came out in 2018, and this was bottled in 2022, it’s not super old, but certainly the blending and interesting casks have added additional complexity.

Is it for Irish whiskey fans? If you’re one of the few people who only likes Irish whiskey flavours, then no, but now that we’ve left out those 2 people, I think the rest of the world will enjoy it. It’s very odd. Nothing like an Irish normally is. Closer to Highland Park with a cocoa kicked up a notch.

Is it going to blow your mind? There are limits, even with a great job like this, but I don’t think you’d be unhappy to have it unless…. I don’t know, you didn’t like peat at all, for instance. I’m debating getting another whiskey from these guys based on this. Hope they keep it weird.


Guess: Highland Park, 9-11 years old, 57%, ex-Bourbon?

Actually: Two Stacks Smoke & Mirrors Imperial PX Finish

World Whiskey review #444, Ireland review #122, Whiskey Network review #2365

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