The history behind Irish whiskey is rather interesting, add to it the argument that the Irish introduced whiskey to the scots and it takes another turn..
Tracing its heritage way back Irish whiskey was once a major contributor to the infrastructure and backbone of the Irish economy. Dating back to somewhere in the early part of the 1400s, it wasn’t until around the 1600s that Irish whiskey became an industry rather than an illicit, underground income. With the oldest licensed distillery in the world ( Bushmills ) Ireland can and should be proud of the fact they in theory were the original producers of whiskey as we know it! Records show that it was in fact some 90 years or so earlier than Scotland for the production but as we know records can be lost !
So why is Irish whiskey lagging behind the rest of the world in the whiskey / whisky economy ? Well in theory it is actually the fastest growing market these days but it is still a long way behind its rivals . the fact that Irish whisky can still be split down into three categories, Single Pot still whiskey, Single malt Irish whiskey and Grain whiskey still causes a little confusion.
Pot still whiskey is where people seem to get confused, this is though a rather simple sideward step to the single malt whisky we all know, the only real difference is the use of both malted and unmalted Barley. The use of unmalted Barley came into use when the distillers became a little disgruntled to the taxes added to malted Barley in the late 1700s early 1800s.
What is interesting though is the fact Grain whisky / whiskey which was thought up in Ireland but dismissed vigorously, forced over to Scotland where it was embraced, is today becoming a big part of the whisky industry in general.. The introduction of the coffey still around 1830 by Aeneas Coffey changed the way whiskey / whisky could be produced with its continuous production instead of the batch style of production with typical pot stills.
Single Grain Irish Whiskey
Although there is not a lot of information about the Clonakilty distillery I do know it was founded and run by the Scully Family, on the South coast of Ireland, County Cork and of course it is set up to use their home grown heritage barley.
A farming family who can trace the heritage back over eight generations now use that knowledge in the production of Irish whiskey with both Pure pot still and Single grain Irish whiskey being produced..
A set of three pot stills which of course means triple distilled adorn a large glass frontage to the distillery and within the complex you will also find a visitor centre and restaurant.
Age.. 9 years
Cask.. Bourbon cask before a 6 month finish in Bordeaux cask
Nose.. Summer fruits mingle with light honey notes, soft fruits and scented blossom aromas, add a little fudge note and you just have a rather inviting set of aromas..
Palate.. Soft spices greet you before those soft fruits and fudge sweetness takes over.
Finish.. Soft but memorable.
Thoughts.. This is a very soft offering and although its obviously grain whisky and comes in at 56.1% it is in no way inferior to any other style of whisky out there ! The softness is again this whiskies strength for me, the fruity flavours and soft floral notes work so well together, add to that the softness in the sweet side and this becomes a mouth watering liquid..
When anyone mentions grain whisky having an abundance of flavour we instantly think of the well aged expressions doing the rounds, but when distilleries start to take a little more care with this softer spirit, use good casks and nurture the liquid you end up with something worth shouting about..
That seems to be the case with this Clonakilty Single grain ! Care has been taken to produce a grain whisky that can stand alone at a tender age, and it shows…
I have to thank Omar over at THAT’S DRAM GOOD who very kindly provided this sample and who has constantly reminded me just how good Irish whiskey can be !! If you want to know something about Irish whiskey then check out his blog, its rather good !
After writing this review up I had a wee gander at his write up which can be found HERE. He mentions a pear drop note appearing later on, I certainly didn’t pick it up initially but when I returned, ITS THERE !! Power of suggestion or just a slow to turn up note ? who knows…
This single grain although showing the Clonakilty name is sourced from one of the leading Irish distilleries..
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