Killowen Distillery, Ireland’s smallest whiskey distillery, have lauchned their third expression of the their “Experimental Bonded Series”, a 10 year-old blended whiskey finished in Mexican Tequila casks. This is the latest expression in a series of experimental whiskeys that Killowen are set to release over the next two years.
Brendan Carty, founder and distiller of Killownen Distillery, tells us that “From the outset, the challenge was to push the boundaries of cask finishing as far as possible before the whiskey is overdone. All too often are Irish whiskeys following the same hymn sheet of rich fruity aromas, which we wanted to acknowledge in a different way. Killowen have pushed the relationship of wood and spirit to create a more balanced flavor profile where ripe fruits meet nuts, herbs and earthiness with a tiny kiss of smoke.”
With transparency at its core, the packaging of this new expression reveals that the ratio of malt to grain in this new blend is 20% malt which distilled in N. Ireland in 2008, 5% malt whiskey distilled in the Rep. of Ireland in 2008 and 75% grain whiskey distilled in Ireland in 2009. The component whiskeys were individually matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 10 years, before being blended and transferred into a hand picked, Mexican Tequila cask, where the blend was left to finish for an additional 10 months.
Killowen, already known for their flame fired pot still poitín & gin, as well as the first two releases from this series, the 10 year old rum cask and Acacia cask finishes, hope to push the boundaries of cask finishing to bring new emphasis to the flavours associated with Irish whiskey. Brendan has been travelling the world to find interesting and exotic casks that would best essentuate the nature of the whiskey within. he Mexican Tequila Cask was specifically chosen for its old wood and potency, creating a unique small-batch spirit with a full-bodied experience.
As always, the Killowen bottlings are bottled at cask strength, 55.4% ABV, and unapologetically unfiltered which leads to several bottles containing cask char, which Brendan quips that you can thank him for later.
Only 388 500ml bottles will be released of this single cask expression and they can be found directly through Irish Malts here. RRP: €89.95 or £79.95.
Killowen Official Tasting Notes
Nose: A balanced strong arrival on the nose, with slight notes of white fruits, like ripe pear and fig with a subtle herbal tone and earthiness
Palate: A mixture of almonds, apple wild herbs and tobacco on one hand with dark chocolate and walnut on the other, married together with consistent wood spice.
Finish: A long wood-spice finish with subtle smokiness along with fig and ripe apple reoccurring afterwards
Serving Suggestion: While tasting, some might want add half teaspoon of un-chilled water.
Note: Continuing with the discipline of this series, all bottles are at cask strength, there has been no chilled filtration or added colouring. The spirit has come straight from cask to bottle, is full of flavour and high in alcohol content. The Tequila Cask is chosen from a most reputable tequila company, the cask has been heavily charred in a previous life, due to Killowen’s non-filter policy you may be lucky enough to have char in your bottle.
Killowen Distillery believe a whiskey should be enjoyed at cask strength then diluted by the consumer for a more intimate and educative drinking experience.
The consumer will notice the flavour profile of the spirit change as it breathes. Different fruit and spice notes become apparent as the spirit is carefully diluted and begins to open up.