Tag Archives: Kilbeggan Distillery

Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, Then & Now, Blend, 40%

A wonderful photograph courtesy of @irelandincolour featuring Kilbeggan Distillery  in 1937 prompted me to do a comparison review of Kilbeggan Whiskey.

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Kilbeggan Distillery 1937

The old gold label bottle has been superseded by a fresher & more vibrant green & white design. It still retains hallmarks from the previous incarnation – but with additional features included.

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Then & Now c/othewhiskeynut

Both offerings are presented at 40% with added caramel – a common feature throughout the range – which results in a shared golden hue.

A gentle honeyed aroma is enjoyed.

This follows through on the palate offering sweet biscuity malt – before a hint of spice on the finish just adds a spot of character to the proceedings.

A very pleasant, nice & easy blend.

In an ever changing world – it’s often a welcome to greet a familiar friend.

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The back story c/othewhiskeynut

Just as Kilbeggan Distillery retains the characteristics of the 1937 photo today – there were only cosmetic differences in the 2 whiskeys.

I’ll be looking forward to a return visit to the distillery after the COVID pandemic is over.

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Kilbeggan Distillery 2019 c/othewhiskeynut

Stay safe.

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Original 1937 photo courtesy the Breslin Archive.

Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey, 42.5% & Straight Rye, 47%

You never know what you might find at Whiskey Live Dublin.

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I had intended to try some Scotch – but an amadán had decided to vape in the toilets & set off the fire alarms.

No joy there.

I missed out on Japanese too

Beam Suntory’s Toki offering had vanished – but I did try their soon to be released Kilbeggan Single Pot Still with 3% oats in the mix. Creamy & spicy all at the same time. Although I did struggle to fully appreciate what the oats brought to the whiskey in such a brief encounter.

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McConnells of Belfast c/othewhiskeynut

The parent company behind Belfast’s McConnell’s release had an interesting trio of American Whiskeys however. Attractively presented & branded as Clyde May’s the Alabama Style Whiskey caught my eye.

What is Alabama Style?

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Alabama Style Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Turns out something to do with adding dried apples to the barrel. A look online provided a better insight here. I did get a fresh fruitiness on the nose.

Offered at 42.5% this was a decent full bodied whiskey I’d like to enjoy more off.

The Straight Rye also pleased me. A good balance of dry peppery spice with a wholesome body to boot.

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Clyde May’s Straight Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Both are sourced from Kentucky – but brand owners Conecuh are building a distillery of their own in Alabama.

Now that is a joy!

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Tyrconnell Single Malts, 40% & 43%

Whiskey is constantly changing & evolving.

It might just be the labels.

It could be the distillery owners.

Or perhaps even the recipe.

Well the Tyrconnell Single Malt has definitely experienced the first two items – has the third one altered?

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Old versus New Tyrconnell c/othewhiskeynut

I tried out a couple of miniatures to find out.

The old one came first.

Quite spirity, but the warming vanilla & caramel notes are reassuring.

Mellow to begin with, a decent fruitiness develops, lovely soft spices open up at the end leaving a satisfyingly long warm finish.

A good runner.

Onto the new one.

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More info, more taste? c/othewhiskeynut

I must say the new label is cleaner & fresher.

There is additional information too. ‘Double Distilled’ appears – as well as ‘Mit Farbstoff’  – (added caramel) – and the distillery of origin – Cooley.

Not that any of it altered the flavour – as I could find no discernible difference to the enjoyment of this malt.

There might have been a slight enhancement of the taste – but whether this was due to my knowledge there’s an extra boost of ABV to 43% is debatable.

This is still a nice clean & easy fruity single malt.

Hopefully it will be running for a long time yet – especially as the new horse is heading the opposite way to the original!

Sláinte

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Glastry Farm Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey Ice Cream, 3.32%

A visit to a whiskey distillery is always an exciting experience.

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Kilbeggan on a wet day c/othewhiskeynut

There is the history, the heritage, the gleaming copper pot stills, the subtle smells of malted barley along with gentle woody notes of maturing casks.

There are the characters that make the whiskey too – and all that before actually tasting the whiskey!

But there is also the unexpected.

Like Glastry Farm Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey infused ice cream!

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Mmmmmm! Nice c/othewhiskeynut

I couldn’t resist.

Soft, creamy, indulgent, with a mention of malt in the background. This ice cream makes a gorgeous dessert on it’s own – let alone served with strawberries and a dash of Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye perhaps?

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Go on,dig in! c/othewhiskeynut

Little touches like this provide the icing on the cake.

It’s more than the whiskey.

It’s immersing yourself in the experience.

When will you visit Kilbeggan Distillery?

Slàinte

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Inishowen Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

Woops!

Fresh from the Garavan’s Single Cask Powers release in Galway – I couldn’t resist a nightcap in the wonderful An Pucan bar – which handily happened to be across the road from my digs for the night.

Browsing the extensive Whiskey Menu I chanced upon an old flame – Inishowen Irish Whiskey.

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Inishowen, peated Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

It’s a simple, uncomplicated, no nonsense blend that possesses a rare flavour profile in Irish Whiskey – peat.

Not a lot of it.

Just enough for the dry smokiness to compliment the sweet grain.

Just enough of it for me to enjoy,

And just enough of it left in the bottle for a last serving.

As that seems to be the end of Inishowen in An Pucan.

Woops!

Unless they have more stock of this discontinued beauty!

Sláinte

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Slieve Foy 8 Year Old Single Malt, 40%

Supermarket Single Malts come in many varieties.

There can be the bargain basement headline grabbing Glen Marnochs & Ben Brackens.

There can be the annually anticipated Lidl/Aldi Xmas Specials which can be of high age statement, low cost and surprisingly great quality to boot.

And then there is Marks & Spencer’s Single Malt.

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M&S Supermarket Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

M&S always go the extra mile.

To begin with they name the distillery that produced the malt – Cooley – even although it’s not a legal requirement. They also inform the discerning drinker caramel colouring is added – also not a legal requirement. And they package the liquid in a very attractive bottle providing a piece of prose about the rich folk lore contained within the local area the whiskey is from – as well as a clever back label that evokes the mountainous landscape of the region.

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Slieve Foy & Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

And what a stunning region it is too.

Slieve Foy Whiskey is named after the majestic mountain of the same name that dominates the landscape of the Carlingford Peninsular. Despite Cooley Distillery not having a visitors centre – that is the role of the pretty Kilbeggan Distillery of the Beam/Suntory group that owns both facilities – a trip to this fabulous part of the country is highly recommended.

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Looking down on Carlingford Lough & Northern Ireland from Slieve Foy’s slopes c/othewhiskeynut

A hearty arduous ascent of Slieve Foy itself is rewarded by jaw dropping views of the clear blue waters of Carlingford Lough below – as well as the rounded tops of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland in the distance.

You can replenish your energy afterwards by dining out in one of Carlingford towns many bars – not forgetting a drop of the hard stuff!

So what is the whiskey like?

Well – unlike the rugged countryside – Slieve Foy exhibits a soft, sweet malty nose.

A gentle introduction to a very easy approachable – slips down smoothly – bourbon cask matured single malt.

It’s well balanced – the added caramel doesn’t dominate like other offerings – and there are no rough edges to this very pleasant malt.

The whiskey leaves a warm glow at the end – along with a soft spice – much like the open fire in a suitable Carlingford town bar after a strenuous day on the hills.

Cooley built it’s reputation and business producing 3rd party bottlings. Slieve Foy 8 Year Old is a fine representation of that business.

I look forward to many more representations emanating from the Great Northern Distillery – the successor to Cooley after the sale to Beam – as well as West Cork Distillers – who are both in the business of supplying the supermarkets with malt for the masses.

Long may it last.

Sláinte.

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Locke’s Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

This delightfully enjoyable blend almost passed me by.

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Locke’s Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Released under John Teeling’s tenure at Kilbeggan Distillery – it now seems to have slipped from the current line up of new owners Beam/Suntory.

For the greater part of it’s history the distillery at Kilbeggan went by various names. Originally called Brusna Distillery in 1757 – after the river the waterwheel still turns from to this day – then Locke’s Distillery – after the Locke family who effectively ran the operation from 1843 until closure in 1958.

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Brusna, Locke’s, Kilbeggan entrance c/othewhiskeynut

The distillery licence never expired during the following years. In turn this was acquired by John Teeling’s Cooley Distillery which opened in 1987 and resurrected the Locke’s brand – along with a few others.

Locke’s Distillery only ever produced pot still whiskey – which is perhaps one of many reasons for it’s demise – so ironically this miniature is a blended whiskey – using both grain & malt whiskeys combined together.

The Irish Whiskey Industry were rather late in embracing blended whiskey – over 130 years later than their Scottish counterparts – which also partly explains it’s collapse by the 1960’s.

So in it’s own way – Locke’s Blended Irish Whiskey was part of the revival. I’m glad to have stumbled on this miniature at The Old Stand in Mullingar.

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Locke’s in a Túath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

The colour is light straw – but added caramel cannot be ruled out for this entry level blend.

A lovely soft malt greeted me on nosing. Sweet with just a little hint of turf.

The palate was soft, sweet & very smooth. Eminently approachable. Yet there is a slight suggestion of peat at the end to give it a bit of bite & character.

A decent afterglow wrapped up this extremely enjoyable drinking experience.

Well worth getting hold of if you come across a bottle.

Liquid history.

Sláinte.

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Westmeath Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

If you’re looking for some novelty whiskey then the Celtic Whiskey Shop is the place to go.

They have a range of miniature bottles labelled up in county colours covering the entire Island of Ireland.

Meanwhile, I happened to be in Mullingar recently & picked up their Westmeath Irish Whiskey in the surprisingly well stocked off-licence of The Old Stand on Dominick Street – just round the corner from the railway station.

Not being one to leave a bottle unopened – I poured a glass.

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Westmeath Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

There is no indication as to the source of the whiskey. Kilbeggan Distillery does produce malt in the county of Westmeath – mainly for inclusion in blends – but it didn’t strike me as one of theirs -although this young lad is definitely from Mullingar.

The colour was reassuringly straw like – even if added caramel is predominant in entry level blends.

The nose was rather spirity at first – but calmed down on subsequent tastings to reveal some standard vanilla & caramel notes.

A mild tasting with subtle fruits & more of that bourbon cask influence made it’s presence felt after a rather alcohol forward mouthfeel.

There was a bit of a burn at the end – but nothing too unpleasant. Just a straight forward no-nonsense entry level whiskey.

More novelty than nuanced.

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My thanks to TOMODERA for posting his thoughts on other county whiskeys here.

 

 

Irish Whiskey Is Booming

The Irish Whiskey industry is experiencing an unprecedented rise in sales.

Irish Whiskey is the fastest growing spirits sector in the World  – prompting a rush of new entrants, new distilleries, new players and above all else – new Irish Whiskey bottles & brands to sample.

Things have never been so good.

Yet reading an article entitled ‘The Trouble With Irish Whiskey’ here – it would seem the author is in a parallel universe.

Within the first few paragraphs he suggests Irish Whiskey adopt wholesale Scotch Whiskey Rules.

ARE YOU COMPLETELY BONKERS!!!!!!!!!!!

The whole point of Irish Whiskey is that it is NOT SCOTCH!

But no – this writer would throw away the rich creamy delights of single pot still Irish Whiskey with it’s delightful spicy notes as in the marvelous Dingle Single Pot Still.

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Dingle Single Pot Still c/o@whiskeytalk2U

Down the drain would go the earthy savouriness & rich history of poitins such as Galway’s Micil Poitin.

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Micil Poitin c/othewhiskeynut

 

And the wonderful reintroduction of Irish Rye as experienced by lucky drinkers at the vibrant Whiskey Live Dublin who managed to sample the stunning single cask 6 year old rye pot still that Kilbeggan Distillery happened to have ‘under the counter’ would never see the light of day.

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When will this stunner be released? c/othewhiskeynut

Because all these superb whiskeys are not allowed under Scotch rules!

The joy of whiskey – for me at least – is experiencing new tastes, new flavours and new styles. I’d also suggest a growing number of consumers deliberately seek out Irish Whiskey for that same reason – because it is NOT SCOTCH.

But the biggest clanger of the whole article is down to one statement.

accurately and clearly naming the distillery on bottles of Irish Single Malt Whiskey. Like they have to in Scotland.

Now for a piece that has headlines stating;

Creating an honest sector‘ and ‘Misinformation and inaccuracies

this is simply breath taking.

THERE IS NO SUCH RULE!!!!!!

Section 9 of the Scottish Whiskey Rules here deals with ‘Names of distilleries and distillers etc.’

I must have read it a dozen times looking for the ‘you must name the distillery’ rule – but to no avail.

I wrote to the Scottish Whiskey Association on the subject and got the following reply.

‘ Scotch Whisky Rules do not require the distillery name to be stated on labelling.’

Oh dear!

Lecturing the Irish Whiskey industry on it’s misdemeanors based on a lie – or rather ‘Misinformation and inaccuracies‘ isn’t exactly a great start now is it?

There is an Irish word for such occasions which my father in law often used.

Omadhaun.

Look it up.

Because when you are experiencing the biggest boom Irish whiskey has witnessed for decades, creating an exhilarating buzz AND producing absolutely stunning new whiskey releases – the trouble with Irish Whiskey is letting such omadhauns have a platform in the first place.

Sláinte.

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Whiskey Live Dublin, 2017

Whiskey Live Dublin continues to grow every year. Not only in numbers attending this marvelous showcase of Irish Whiskey – but also the amount of exhibitors on display.

There are masterclasses held throughout the course of the day which provide access to the distillers, whiskey ambassadors, blenders & bottlers who are driving the current growth in Irish Whiskey. It was to one of those classes that I started my visit to this years show.

Alex Chasko – master distiller with Teeling Whiskey Co. – regaled us with the story behind the current Brabazon series of whiskeys – as well as introducing us to some choice single cask samples.

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Brabazon tasting time c/othewhiskeynut

I was particularly taken by the 2001 Port Single Cask – especially in the newly released Tuath Irish Whiskey glass which was provided to visitors at the event.

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Teeling & Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

After this highly enjoyable introduction – I joined the crowds in the main hall as I tried to sample my ‘hit list’ of whiskeys I’d either missed out on during the year – or were new releases appearing at the show for the first time.

The Glengarriff series from West Cork Distillers were on my list.

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Glorious Glengarrif whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

I was highly impressed by the Peat Charred Cask single malt. The influence of the peat was clearly evident on both the nose and taste – yet there was a lovely earthy savouriness element to the expression too. Beautiful!

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Dunvilles Three Crowns Peated c/othewhiskeynut

Talking about peat – Echlinville had their Three Crowns Peated on display – very appealing to my tastes. But what surprised me was their yet to be released peated poitin – Bán Barreled & Buried at 47.2% – now that’s a tasty innovation.

Now I’d heard Kilbeggan were showcasing some of their ‘experimental’ casks – as well as the current range of freshly re-branded (and even re-recipied in some cases) favourites too – so naturally I was excited by a 6 year old Rye Pot Still!

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When will this stunner be released? c/othewhiskeynut

Rich rye on the nose & taste followed with some creamy smoothness. Stunning!

Peter Mulryan’s Blackwater Distillery – which is currently under construction in Co. Waterford – chose to reveal their Retronaut 17 year old single malt at the show – a must try.

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Retronaut Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

I can confirm the whiskey is every bit as bold & brassy as the elegantly designed label on the very attractive bottle.

At this stage in the proceedings – with a few samples onboard – chatting away with fellow attendees & stall holders began to divert me away from my ‘hit list’ as I was tempted into trying some surprising expressions.

Cork Whiskey Society had assembled a fine display of whiskeys from times gone by.

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A bevy of beauties! c/othewhiskeynut

The Bushmills 5 year old single malt took my fancy and a sample was procured. Was it just me or did this bottle taste more bold & robust in flavour than some current releases?

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A tasty blend c/othewhiskeynut

The Irish Whiskey Society’s excellent private bottling range continued to impress with a delightful blended offering sourced from the Teeling Whiskey Company.

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A Single Cask Powers c/othewhiskeynut

The Powers range of single cask releases surprised me with the fine creamy single pot still character on this Celtic Whiskey Shop‘s 16 year old exclusive. I did miss the signature spice kick though.

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Powerful bourbon c/othewhiskeynut

I also couldn’t resist a powerful Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel Bourbon at 65.4% – my sole American sample at the show.

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Campbeltown’s Longrow Peated c/othewhiskeynut

Longrow‘s  Peated Single Malt didn’t disappoint either – being my only Scottish dram on the day.

Apologies to all those I didn’t get round to sample, visit or even chat to – there is simply too much to cover in one session – which is part of the fun.

There were a few that got away – but the one I missed the most was the return of the indulgent donuts on the Dublin Liberties Whiskey stall!

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Donuts! c/o@AlanWhiskey

Sláinte.

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