As the name suggests, Knappogue Castle is named after a castle. Located in County Clare and built in the 1400s, the castle was bought in 1966 by Mark Edwin Andrews, a retired U.S. Naval officer and Oil tycoon, who began an extensive renovation project which finished in 1969. Andrews along with his wife, were know for their love of whiskey and while living in Ireland they collected a massive amount of whiskey within the castle cellars. Mark Andrews died in 1992 and in 1998 his son, Mark Edwin Andrews III formed Great Spirits, a company that was used to make the amassed whiskey available for the ordinary punter. Among this whiskey was the absolute gem that is Knappogue Castle 1951. A pot still whiskey from the legendary B.Daly Distillery (old Tullamore distillery), aged for 36 years and bottled in 1987, this is one of the finest whiskeys I have ever tried. It a must try for the serious whiskey connoisseur.
From there Great Spirits became Castle Brands in 2003 and in 2010 they released the Knappogue Castle 12 year old. Before we knew it we also had a 14 and a 16 year old along with a few limited releases along the way. The 21 year old, is one such limited release.
The 21 year old is a marriage of two Single Malt whiskeys, one 23 years old and one 21 years old. Obviously enough the age statement can only refer to the youngest whiskey in the bottle. It’s bottled at the magic 46%, it’s non-chill filtered and with only 1,200 bottles released the RRP is €190. The vast majority of this was released to Duty Free but Celtic Whiskey Shop did receive a certain allocation.
Nose – Loads going on here. Some spice, maybe cinnamon with a touch of clove. Loads of oak and green apples. A bourbon finished beast.
Palate – Nice decent hit of malt followed by oceans of oak that cascade from start right into finish.
Finish – Medium to long finish that just remains softly in your mouth with a very slight prickle.
Overall – A powerfully complex whiskey that really shows off what can be achieved by “just” a bourbon aging. Shortly after doing a review of this for the Irish Whiskey Magazine, I rushed out to buy one. Its one of those whiskeys, a must have once you’ve tried it. Its simply a dram good whiskey…….