Glendalough is an idyllic little town in eastern Ireland. Gaelic for "valley of two lakes," it was said to have been founded by a man named Saint Cóemgen — also known as Saint Kevin. The Glendalough Distillery, Ireland’s first new craft distillery, was set up by five friends from Wicklow and Dublin with a deep passion for reviving the heritage of craft distilling in Ireland.
The 18th & 19th centuries there were the glory days of the Irish whiskey industry, with over 200 licensed distilleries in all of Ireland. There were also countless unlicensed distilleries at the time, producing diverse styles of poitín, whiskey, gin and even absinthe. But through a series of unfortunate events, the Irish Whiskey Industry dried to a trickle in the 1970’s.
Glendalough Distillery is part of a revival of this Irish heritage. Their philosophy is "to make innovative spirits while staying true to the tradition and heritage of our ancestors." Glendalough started out making poitín — the traditional Irish distillate made in small pot stills. From there they seamlessly transitioned to whiskey production, and most recently, seasonal, wild botanical gins. All of their production is handmade.
This unique single grain, is a light and floral whiskey distilled in a Coffey still from a mash bill of Irish malted barley and corn. "It spends three and a half years in American oak first-fill Bourbon barrels before being finished for six months in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. The Bourbon barrels impart deep, robust chocolate and caramel notes, while the Oloroso casks lighten the palate with fruitier notes and touches of nutty tones. With both barrels being oak, you get that beautiful vanilla thread you’d expect to run through an Irish whiskey. Both barrels are porous too, allowing Ireland’s temperate, maritime air through to make its impression" (producer).
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The nose is slight but undoubtedly rich with dark fruit; cherry, raisin, fig (with Christmas pudding notes on the nose for those lucky enough to know what that is) along with floral lemongrass and a touch of nutmeg. Sweet and creamy on the palate, with butterscotch, honey and peppercorn bringing along sweet Bourbon Cask notes with dried fruit returning through notes of maraschino cherries and a pinch of brown sugar. The finish has lingering notes of ginger spices with a faint glimmer of almond to end a complex Irish Whiskey from start to finish.