Inishowen Irish Whiskey

Alfred Barnard’s 1887 book ‘The Whisky Distilleries Of The United Kingdom’ listed 28 distilleries on the island of Ireland.

At the time they constituted the largest and biggest selling whisky manufacturers in the world.

The reasons for their dramatic decline in the decades that followed are still hotly debated today.

Abbey Street in Derry was one of the distilleries A Barnard visited.

Run by the Watt family, Abbey St installed one of the earliest Coffey stills ever used and had a trio of popular brands; The Tyrconnell, Favourite and Inishowen.

By 1925 however, it was all over. Abbey St closed it’s doors and very little now remains of the former impressive facility.

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‘The Lost Distilleries of Ireland’ by Brian Townsend is a good source of information on Abbey Street Distillery. 

Inishowen, in the shape of a double distilled peated blend, did resurface in the 1990’s.

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Cooley Distillery in Co Louth, 1 of only 3 whiskey distilleries operating then, released the brand.

To many it signifies the rebirth of Irish Whiskey fortunes.

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Sadly now discontinued. Inishowen is a reminder of the past glories of Irish Whiskey, as well as the potential future yet to come.

Savour the rich history with every drop.

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All images courtesy Casks Away

Gelston’s Irish Whiskey

Gelston’s Irish Whiskey is a relatively new brand of Irish Whiskey celebrating a long family history based in Belfast.

Originally founded in 1830 by Samual Gelston, a successful wine and whiskey merchant, the business passed into the hands of the HJ Neill family whose descendents have brought this brand back to life.

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Comprising a wide range of single malt whiskeys finished in select barrels starting from a non age statement (NAS) offering,

Right up to a 26 year old cask strength ex-bourbon cask matured single malt,

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Gelston’s have a whiskey to suit all tastes, and wallets!

The whiskey is sourced from undisclosed Irish Whiskey Distilleries. Frank McHardy has assisted with the development of this brand, which should give some clues as to it’s origin!

Gelston’s are part of the Halewood International portfolio.

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Header image courtesy Yard Gallery here.

Bottle images courtesy Gelston’s website here.

Halewood International website here.

Velvet Cap Irish Whiskey

Velvet Cap was a whiskey brand of Thomas Power & Co, a local drinks bottler and supplier in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. See Blackwater blog here for further information.

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Up to the 1960’s many a local grocer, bar or bonder sourced whiskey from various distilleries and matured it in wooden casks before selling it on under their own brand names.

Blackwater Distillery in Ballyduff, Co Waterford have revived this tradition, along with the Velvet Cap name, with this latest release.

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Velvet Cap is a blend of malt and grain whiskey obtained from Great Northern Distillery. It’s then finished in a variety of casks to produce a fine tasting whiskey.

Blackwater Distillery are also laying down their own spirit for future releases and will be allowing visitors into the distillery soon.

Casks Away is ready and waiting to take you there.

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Header image courtesy Buzz.ie here.

Thomas Power picture courtesy easyliveauction here.

Peter Mulryan image courtesy fft.ie here.

Blackwater Distillery web page here.

Baoileach Distillery, Donegal.

Baoileach Distillery is truly a boutique operation crafting spirits of quality with a direct fired copper pot still in a stone cottage in beautiful Donegal.

Casks Away unfortunately hasn’t been able to visit this exciting distillery due to the COVID pandemic.

Baoileach have released a Mulroy Bay Poitín,

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and Mulroy Bay Gin,

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as well as an interesting barrel aged (up to 10 weeks is allowed under the rules here) poitín too!

A trip to Donegal awaits!

Contact Casks Away if you wish to come along.

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Image of Baoileach Distillery courtesy Baoileach twitter site here and website here.

Bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop here.

West Cork Distillers

West Cork Distillers have quietly built up the largest wholly Irish owned whiskey distillery operations in Ireland.

Founded in Union Hall in 2003 by three childhood friends, the business now occupies a large site in Skibbereen and is capable of producing 4 million litres of pure alcohol a year.

All styles of Irish Whiskey are made, Single Grain, Single Malt, Single Pot Still and Blended.

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West Cork not only release under their own brand.

They also contract distill for many other customers.

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Striving to use Irish grown grain they regularly use Irish wheat rather than the imported corn or maize many other distilleries use.

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A visitors centre is scheduled to open in 2020.

Casks Away looks forward to taking you there – when it is safe to do so.

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All images courtesy West Cork Distillers website here, facebook page here and twitter site here.

Wayward Irish Spirits

Wayward Irish Spirits are newcomers to the current Irish Whiskey scene, but they have a proud family tradition of being in the drinks trade!

Aiming to be the most gorgeously situated single estate Irish Whiskey Distillery using grains grown on the Lakeview Estate in County Kerry, Wayward Irish Spirits recently launched The Liberator Irish Whiskey.

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A blended malt Irish Whiskey finished in Tawny Port Casks in Kerry.

Estate grown grain is already being sown to make a pot still whiskey.

The owners of the Estate are direct descendants of Daniel O’Connell aka ‘The Liberator’ after whom both the whiskey and the company name emanates from.

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Casks Away looks forward to taking you to the stunning scenery of Lakeview Estate to visit the blending rooms, maturation sites and ultimately, the grain to glass distillery of Wayward Irish Spirits.

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Photos courtesy Wayward Irish Spirits facebook page here, twitter site here and website here.

Bottle image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop here.

Origin Spirits Ireland Ltd

Even during the COVID19 Lockdown new and innovative Irish Whiskey brands are still being released to the market.

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One of the most unusual and well received incarnations was the Currach Irish Single Malt.

To my knowledge at least, it’s the 1st Irish Whiskey to be finished in Atlantic Kombu Seaweed Casks!

That’s right. Seaweed!

Despite what many may think, seaweed has actually long been used as a food ingredient.

The brand makers at Origin Spirits teamed up with West Cork Distillers to create this unique single malt whiskey.

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They carefully dried out the Atlantic Kombu Seaweed before placing it in used bourbon casks and proceeded to char the casks with this unusual ingredient.

The results are a lovely silky smooth whiskey with a touch of sea salt, rich umami flavours often giving meaty, BBQ type notes and a lovely peppery finish.

Origin Spirits create other innovative drinks with their Kalak Vodka

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and Ornabrack Gin range.

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Well worth a try.

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All bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop here.

Other images courtesy Currach Whiskey twitter site here,  and facebook page here.

A changed landscape.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.

Overnight pubs, restaurants & distilleries closed for public health reasons.

‘Social Distancing’ & ‘Stay Indoors’ are the new mantras.

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The drinks, tourist and hospitality sectors, of which Casks Away is part of, took a massive hit. The reverberations will last a long time.

Despite the initial shock, Casks Away is quietly confident the business will still be here when we come out the other side and is looking forward to welcoming you back, showing you around the highways & byways of the fabulous Irish countryside to visit the wonderful whiskey & poitín distilleries of the Emerald Isle.

Casks Away in the meantime recommends you Stay Safe!

Fáilte abhaile,

When the time is right.

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All images courtesy hse.ie website here.

Waterford Distillery

Due to the COVID19 pandemic this event has been postponed until Saturday 5th September.

The long awaited inaugural release from the category defining Waterford Distillery is happening on Saturday 25th April 5th September.

Casks Away will be there and is offering a return transport service for 7  6 keen whiskey fans.

Contact info@casksaway.ie to book your seats. Events page here.

Building itself on the founding pillars of provenance, biodynamics and terroir, Waterford Distillery (website here) has built up much anticipation for it’s ‘Where Barley Is King’ approach.

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The Pilgrimage Single Malt Whiskey will be available to purchase at the Open Day.

Prospective attendees must book their tickets in advance via Waterford Distillery’s eventbrite page here.

It remains to be seen how the whiskey community will react to the first tastings of this highly sought after release.

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Founder Mark Reynier and his team have built up a much lauded reputation both within the wine and whisky industry during his time at La Reserve Fine Wines and Bruichladdich Distillery.

Casks Away looks forward to a successful future at Waterford Distillery.

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Irish Times article on Mark Reynier here.

Photos in text courtesy Waterford Distillery facebook site here.

Header image courtesy Casks Away.

 

Tipperary Distillery

Tipperary Distillery (website here) is very much a family business grown out of a long association with the whisky industry combined with a strong farming tradition.

Father Stuart has managed many a Scottish whisky distillery.

Daughter Jennifer gained her appreciation of whisky growing up in distilleries!

Son-in-law Liam is a 5th generation barley grower.

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Together they launched  the Tipperary Boutique Whiskey selection a few years ago, as well as a subsequent selection of sourced cask finished single malts, while plans for their own distillery were being finalised.

The distillery was originally intended to be built on the family farm in Ballindoney, but a tie in with Dundrum House Hotel  (website here) near Cashel, now sees works being carried out to create Ireland’s first Whiskey Hotel.

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There is no indication of a completion date as yet, but Casks Away is eager to ferry the first visitors to this unique distillery when ready.

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All images courtesy Tipperary Distillery facebook page here and twitter site here.