As we celebrated the centenary of the events of Easter Sunday this year a new enterprise was born at Royal Oak in County Carlow with the commissioning of the first new whiskey distillery in over 200 years.
The Walsh Whiskey distillery is in a perfect and picturesque location with ingredients in plentiful supply, drawing water from a natural underground reservoir 70 meters below the distillery and barley from the surrounding farms. Here a team of twelve local distillers will work on the recreation of old whiskey recipes and the creation of new expressions using pot stills handcrafted by Scottish copper smiths Forsyths, known for producing some of the finest stills in the world
These giant pot stills, weighing between four and five tonnes each, together with one twin column ‘coffey’ still will allow Walsh to produce a wide variety of whiskey expressions. It also means they can lay claim to being the only independent Irish distillery producing all three styles of Irish whiskey (pot still, malt and grain).
With the opening of their new distiller the Walsh family are positioned to play a key role in the new wave of Irish Whiskey. However, the road to commissioning their distillery was not a short one. The Walsh family’s involvement in the spirits industry started in 1999 when Rosemary ran a ski chalet in France and developed the Hot Irishman liqueur in order to efficiently and consistently serve great Irish coffees to 20 to 30 guests each evening. From there they created and developed the Irishman and Writers Tears expressions under a long-term supply agreement with Irish Distillers to produce the whiskeys to their specifications.
You will find three of those expressions from the Walsh family on offer this month in our Irish Whiskey Sale.
The Irishman Single Malt, aged in a combination of bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, has ripe tropical fruit and a touch of vanilla fudge on the nose which turns nuttier on the palate with sweet oak in the finish.
The Irishman 12 year old is a single malt matured solely in ex-bourbon casks which becomes evident on the nose with sweet vanilla and cinnamon spice over crisp apple and pear fruit. The fruit becomes more evident on the palate with riper citrus notes all on a soft smooth body.
The multi-award winning Writers Tears is an expression harking back to 19th century styles of distillation, marrying single malt and single pot still resulting in soft honey and citrus aromas which develop complexity on the palate.