This Irish Academic Is Getting His PhD in Ghost Whiskey

IRISH DOCTORAL STUDENT FIONNAN O’CONNOR has been chasing ghosts. He is not pursuing the spectres of deceased warriors or poets, but rather forgotten Irish drinks. In a personal quest that has taken him from quiet university libraries to modern distilleries, he is determined to revive rare spirits made using old-fashioned methods and ingredients, specifically pot-still whiskies. As part of his Ph.D. thesis in ghost whiskeys, O’Connor is resuscitating pot-still recipes that have not been tasted for more than 100 years. These long-lost beverages could soon enliven parties across Ireland, just like they did back in the 1800s. But that depends on whether O’Connor and Boann Distillery (his partner in reviving these whiskeys) can master discarded recipes, learn tricky distillation methods from bygone eras, and impress a panel of whiskey experts.

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