Collins Little Books released this handy pocket guide to the fast growing Irish Whiskey scene back in 2020.
It’s quite amazing how much of the information within it’s pages has already been superseded by the speed of unfolding events.
Brands that aren’t even mentioned – Ahascragh for one – are nearing completion of their own distillery & are winning awards with their sourced whiskey.
Meanwhile companies that are included have either changed hands, commissioned their distillery and/or released their long awaited whiskey portfolio to much acclaim.
In a refreshing aside the author doesn’t belittle sourced product over own release & places the growth of sourced brands in the historical context of independent bonders, blenders & bottlers adding to the expanding diversity & quality of Irish Whiskey as a whole.
A worthy little snapshot of the continued expansion of Irish Whiskey.
Ahead of St Patrick’s Day a gathering – or Clan – of Ahascragh Distillery friends met up at Brewery Lane in Ballinasloe for the revealing of the latest super premium releases by Ahascragh.
Clan Colla 20 Year Old Amarone & Clan Colla 20 Year Old PX are both single malts sourced by Ahascragh Distillery but finished & bottled by them at their own facility.
Presented at a pleasing 46% with no chill filtering & natural colour – as are almost all Ahascragh products – the Amarone additionally comes in a 55% single cask, cask strength limited edition.
Along with an 11 Year Old Blend & the UAIS – pronounced ‘oosh’ – core release – the tasting in Brewery Lane marked a 1st local ‘in-person’ event by Ahascragh.
It was an opportunity for folks to sample the diverse range of whiskey – and gin – on offer from Ahascragh & hear of their ambitious plans to be the first carbon neutral distillery in Ireland.
Having previously enjoyed both the 11yo Blend & 19yo Oloroso Single Malt in Katie Daly’s – I was interested to see what another year & different cask finishes brought to the single malt whiskey.
Clan Colla 20 Year Old Amarone, 46%
For a 20yo ex-bourbon matured single malt I found the nose rather light yet imbued by a rich fruity sweetness from the Italian Amarone cask finish.
The palate followed through with darker vanilla & hints of woodiness interplaying over summer fruits.
A nice nuttiness appeared on the finish which dried out leaving a long & pleasant prickliness dancing away.
Clan Colla 20 Year Old PX, 46%
I was greeted by a lovely malty nose augmented by a dark nuttiness.
The palate displayed more warm autumnal stone fruits rather than the lighter summer feel of the Amarone.
Again a drying finish rounded the whiskey off but with a juicier appeal.
For my tastes the 20yo PX brought a darker warmth to the proceeding which suited me better.
Both are lovely whiskeys which hopefully showcase future releases from Ahascragh Distillery’s own spirit – when ready.
The evening was a welcome return to live tastings with congenial company in the hospitable venue of Brewery Lane.
I wasn’t going to add to my growing whiskey bottles – but as a percentage of sales were being donated to the UNHCR relief fund for Ukraine – herself got the Xin Gin & in-keeping with my spending limit I went home with the UAIS whiskey.
Many thanks to the warm welcome of Ahascragh Distillery & all the team.