The Connacht Distillery has released Single Malt Batch 1, the first core expression of whiskey to be distilled at their own facility in Ballina. Following a €10 million investment from its founders, construction began on the site of the old Duffy’s bakery in 2015 to convert it into a state-of-the-art craft distillery and the team started laying down whiskey in 2016. A single inaugural cask of five year old Irish whiskey was released earlier this year as a celebration of the journey so far and sold out within weeks.
While they waited for their whiskey to mature, the Connacht Distillery team, led by Master Distiller Robert Cassell, kept busy by creating a range of other award winning spirits; namely Conncullin Irish Gin, StrawBoys vodka and poitín, and sourced whiskey brands Ballyhoo and Spade & Bushel.
Batch 1 of this Single Malt is made using 100% malted Irish barley, double distilled in bespoke copper pot stills designed and produced in Canada to Cassell’s particular specifications, then aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. With first aromas of raisin, a honey sweetness and hints of almond and star anise, it has a palate of vanilla, spices, dried fruit and malt, with a warming, full bodied finish.
Cassell said of his and Connacht’s approach, “what we’re trying to do in Irish whiskey is bring innovation that is both forward looking and a nod to the past, whether it’s different cask finishes or mash bills, the idea is to take a traditional element and put our own unique spin on it”.
After a four year wait, the time has finally come for the team to release the very first core expression of Connacht Irish Whiskey, the first whiskey from Mayo in over 150 years. In doing so, the distillery has become one of the few in Ireland to produce a Single Malt product made entirely of its own spirit.
“This really is the culmination of a decade long dream for us that has been fuelled by our connections to the West of Ireland as well as a strong desire to create a whiskey that is reflective of the unique characteristics of the region,” said Tom Jensen, Co-Founder & CEO of the Connacht Distillery. “It’s been a long road, one made even longer by us choosing to age our whiskey beyond the legal minimum of 3 years, but we couldn’t be happier to take our place in the dynamic Irish whiskey market.”
Bottled at 47% ABV and priced at €65 per 700ml bottle, Connacht Single Malt Irish Whiskey is available to purchase beginning August 16, 2021 at the distillery’s official website and select retailers across Ireland, with international distribution rolling out in the US, France, and Germany in the near future.