Well, you have to start somewhere, so I’ll start with my nearest.
The Kilbeggan Distilling Company as it is currently known, is situated on the River Brosna in County Westmeath, Ireland. It has the distinction of being the oldest distillery in Ireland by having a continuous license to distill whiskey in the same building from 1757.
This is hotly contested by Bushmills who proclaim 1608 on their bottles. Alas that license does not pertain to the building that still produces spirit today so on a technicality, Kilbeggan wins!
Kilbeggan Distillery has a long history over it’s 250+ years and is presently owned by the Beam/Suntory Group. They currently concentrate on 3 to 4 core brands.
The original Kilbeggan blend is a pleasant smooth tasting introduction to Irish Whiskey. I took a bottle to France with me as a present and all at an outside dinner rated it very highly. B
There is a 21 year old blend available if you have the money. It’s a stunning drink. Smooth yet spicy with complex flavours. A
What used to be called the Greenore range (which is more appropriate as that is the town closest to the distillery at Cooley which makes the bulk of the spirit for Kilbeggan. Beam/Suntory actually got 2 facilities) has now been relabeled as Kilbeggan. They are a range of single grain whiskeys with the 8 year old being the flag bearer. B
Tyrconnel is a single malt offering. It too is lovely and smooth. It also comes in a range of finishes; Port, Sherry and Madeira which if done right add lovely flavours to the mix. I’ve yet to sample them so can only comment on the original single. B
Connemara is an award winning peated single malt which comes in a variety of ages as well as peat content for those who like it. It’s not my thing so I’ve not rated it.
The final expression is only available in the US so if anyone is coming over I’d love to get a bottle!
2 Gingers is one that almost got away! Kieran Folliard arranged this blend with the distillery’s previous owners and it looked likely to be dropped (as others were) but his dynamic sales saved the day.
Kilbeggan Distillery is a wonderful place to visit with the museum showing original machinery from bygone days including a working water wheel and steam engine. There is also a well stocked shop , a boutique working distillery, the all important tasting bar and a lovely restaurant. It’s the public face of Kilbeggan Whiskey as opposed to the manufacturing plant at Cooley.
Get yourselves down there if you haven’t been already!