In a momentous occasion for one of Ireland’s smallest, and most popular distilleries, Killowen Distillery’s first spirit casks have officially become “whiskey“.
As you likely know, whiskey spirit laid down in Ireland cannot be legally called whiskey until it reaches the age of three years old. This poignant anniversary was celebrated at the distillery by the ownership and management team of Brendan Carty (Founder & Head Distiller), Liam Brogan, Shane McCarthy, and Killowen staff. On the 26th of April 2022, they opened the first ever cask of Killowen own distilled ‘whiskey’.
The whiskey in question was a Non-GI, Mixed Mashbill whiskey, aged in a PX Sherry Cask. The Mashbill was comprised of 50% Killowen Smoked malted barley and adjunct grains in descending order of unmalted barley, oats, rye and malted wheat.
The new whiskey spirit was also enjoyed by an unexpected cohort of Irish whiskey enthusiasts and professionals who were visiting Liam and Shane’s other venture, Two Stacks Whiskey facility nearby, which Brendan notes made the occasion more enjoyable and memorable.
Brendan noted “This cask of whiskey marks a watershed moment for Irish whiskey, a culmination of many things; hard work and drive borrowing from great historical minds such as Fionnán O’Connor, a growing interest in local produce and a self determination in Irish whiskey after many misguided decades. The unorthodox methods of a long drawn out production has really paid off and acknowledge our Irish Whiskey past in an adventurous and contemporary manner.”
He added his tasting notes of this first cask “A full bodied heavy PX sherry bomb, with a distillate that stands up against the rich cask and still shines through, offering generous notes of maple syrup, thick Canadian bacon, clove, butter, cream and Christmas cake.”
Author and Phd. Candidate, Fionnán O’Connor, who was in attendance noted while sampling the first whiskey spirit of Killowen “Today is a great day for raw barley ferns. An achievement for maple syrup. A diplomatic event for resinous Scots pine, gristling Canadian bacon, and old Spanish barrel must. Among those who hop round distilleries, ageing Killowen spirit has been one of the sincerely thrilling secrets of the Irish distilling landscape for years and it’s almost a relief to see that trade love affair become public at last.”
Cask Number 001 from Killowen is set to be released before July of this year, by online ballot system. Brendan notes that “We understand that upon its release, cask 001 may be difficult to acquire due to demand. That said, other interesting casks will be released going forward that will become more accessible, as such, we graciously ask for your patience and understanding.”
There is no indicative guideline on the pricing of the impending first release.