Clonakilty. A bustling market town in West Cork. A relaxed town that’s popular with tourists, stags, hens and locals. Home of De Barra’s pub, a fantastic music venue with a great atmosphere. And now, as of this year, also home to the Clonakilty Distillery. The founders of Clonakilty Distillery, the Scully family, have farmed the same coastal land in West Cork for eight successive generations. The first Scully to settle on the farm in Dunowen was Rick Scully a solider who came there in 1647. He’s son Padraig Scully then took over the 72 acre farmer which is still the nucleus of the farm today. Another notable character is Sean Mor, Padraig’s son, he lived to be a 115 years old. Now the family are branching out in the world of distilling, using what they say, is the best that the land can offer in barley, water and climate to develop a range of whiskeys and an award winning Minke Irish Gin.
As you may have seen here last week, irishmalts.com launched a Clonakilty Single Grain Whiskey which sold out in record time for them. 180 bottles gone in four hours! I was one of the lucky ones to get a bottle on pre release from the lads in Irish Malts and I must admit, I’m halfway through the bottle already. While it’s fair to say that this bottling resembles the Clonakilty Distillery Reserve, including the same ABV, the Irish Malts bottling is a single cask and so will have slightly different tasting notes. I’ve tried the distillery bottling but I don’t have notes done out for it so I will try to do a side by side in the near future.
So onto the whiskey. It is bottled at 56.1% and was de-gorged from the cask in June 2019. The wine cask itself was a Bordeaux Merlot cask, 200 litres in size and made from European Oak. Initial maturation was in ex bourbon second and third fill casks. And now, my notes;
Nose – Very fragrant and from first nose, I think I can guess where it comes from! Heavy note of honey and toffee with a slight kick of coffee. Vanilla, spice and even some freshly cut grass also in there.
Palate – Light mouth feel that still has a slight creamy feel. Sweetness in abundance as you’d expect from the grain. Honey note continues through from the nose. Slightly tannic with a cinnamon spice.
Finish – Medium to long finish with a wee peppery prickle in the mouth. When I leave it linger I get the faintest pineapple note right at the very end. 20 mins after I’ve finished the dram I’ve had to come back to it. I have a lovely pear drop note on my tongue. Same note you’d get after the boiled sweet is gone! Most unusual as I didn’t get that during the tasting and as I said, it’s medium finish!!
Overall – A great dram. We don’t have that many single grain whiskeys on the market. Kilbeggan, Teeling, Glendalough and Method and Madness to name just 4. When I try the likes of this it makes me wonder why more aren’t producing it and releasing it as a single grain rather than using it for blending. It’s my first try of Clonakilty and I doubt it will be my last! O and my guess as to where the grain comes from?? East Cork…….
For those that don’t know Irish Malts, their prices are very very competitive (in fact, almost unbeatable in some cases), very quick turn around and they arrive extremely well packaged. They come highly recommended by me for their great service and prices. O and they are from Cork……but don’t hold that against them. It’s not like they could have picked to be from Kerry!!
This sample was provided free of charge to the author. No monetary reward was received for the review. The review, as with all our reviews, was written subjectively and not influenced in anyway.