Glendalough is a Unique Pot Still Irish Whiskey Finished in Irish Oak from the Wicklow Mountains
Glendalough Pot Still is technically a Single Pot Still finished for roughly a year in the rarest of all casks, virgin Irish oak. This is a single cask whiskey that lets everyone enjoy the flavours of Irish oak at a reasonable price. Each bottle is numbered and traceable to each cask and even to the tree from whence it came. This is a milestone for Irish whiskey and takes courage for the team at Glendalough to release as inevitably the liquid will be compared to traditional Single Pot Still whiskey that is produced at Midleton Distillery. I’d encourage you not to do this and judge this Pot Still release on it’s own merits.
Yes it has it flaws and some purists will turn their nose up as this is of course a sourced whiskey. I have it on good authority this “Single Pot Still” whiskey was contract distilled at West Cork Distillers to the exact specifications of the Glendalough Distillery team. So this spirit is indeed a Single Pot Still whiskey as the distillate comes from a single distillery. Ahead of the launch, co-founder, Kevin Keenan, informed Matt Healy that this Pot Still whiskey was designed to be as authentically Irish as possible.
“Glendalough’s Pot Still release intentionally does not have the word “single” before it as the distillery team are intent on creating modern Ireland’s first blended/vatted pot still whiskey, once the distillate from their own distillery comes of age. The distillery team will begin blending the sourced spirit with their own in progressively larger quantities as they come of age, progressing this whiskey from a Single Pot Still, to a blended Pot Still and eventually as the Glendalough spirit comes through in sufficient quantities it may return back to a Single Pot Still, except this time, entirely comprised of Glendalough Distillery distillate.”Matt Healy, Owner & Content Creator of Potstilled.com
The team at Glendalough handpick sustainably forested Wicklow Oak trees that are 140 year-old. The trees are felled from the ancient oak forests in the mountains around the distillery. This is a year long process that ends with an Irish oak hogshead. These special casks are filled with the most quintessentially Irish of whiskeys – pot still. The higher levels of toasted oak and vanilla flavours that Irish oak brings to the liquid complement and balance the classic pot still spices.
Glendalough Pot Still Irish Whiskey Information:
Distiller: West Cork Distillers
Mashbill: Malted Barley 33% & Un-Malted Barley 67%
Cask: Bourbon & Virgin Irish Oak Casks
ABV: 43% – 86% Proof
Tasting notes for Glendalough Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Try to taste this whiskey with no expectations and an open mind. Don’t open the bottle expecting a Midleton release, you are not going to get that. Instead you are going to get a liquid that will challenge the flavour profile of the Pot Still Irish whiskey category that has been dominated by the Midleton Distillery. Expect a young liquid, full wood flavours, pot still spice and umami. The mash consisted of 67% unmalted barley and 33% malted barley. The copper pot stills in West Cork Distillers were intentionally half filled to take advantage of the effects of increased levels of re-flux. The whiskey has spent 3 years maturing in first fill bourbon casks, meaning that it was the first time they were used after making bourbon in the US. This unique Irish whiskey is then finished in Irish Oak, that the distillery team felled and had coopered for them specifically.
This is an earthy whiskey, the young malt is abundant on the nose but it isn’t floral as you’d expect but more reminiscent of the forest floor. This gives a fungal quality to this cereal driven dram and a sense of umami that is unusual in the Irish whiskey world. But there are familar flavours here too. Melted butter, sugar and vanilla custard give it a cake like aroma, but it’s not too sweet with a hint of hidden clove. The wood notes are quite strong, charred oak mingle with damp green tea leaves. I’ll look forward to tasting an age statement release of this whisky in a few years, I’m sure time will allow these flavours to grow and develop.
I’m used to Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and the spice that comes from a mash bill including green (raw) malt. But the spice on the palate will be challenge for new comers to the category. It adds a level of intensity that I really enjoyed, it grows on you after a couple of glasses. It has an oily mouthfeel with a spicy meld of ginger, cinnamon, pepper and dark oak tannin’s. The hidden note of clove on the nose shows up again… like clove rock candy that increases with a drop of water.
The finish is quite long, lingering spice and herbal notes like green tea are balanced out with a spicy heat. Try a drop of water in really small amounts, use a dropper and play with the flavours. This is one to watch.
Where to buy: Glendalough Pot Still Irish Whiskey
If you are in the UK Master of Malt has a good choice of the Glendalough range. If you want to pick up a bottle in Irish try L.Mulligan’s or Celtic Whiskey Shop. Check out our review of their Double Oak release and one of my favorite Irish Whiskeys Glendalough 13 Year Old Mizunara Single Malt.
Every Whiskey Tells a Story, What Will Yours Be?Sláinte from The Whiskey Trail
#EatDrinkExplore – By Paul Kavanagh