Back in May I received an invite to the launch of Grace O Malley Whiskey. I had honestly not heard much about the brand. Unfortunately, I was unable to go to the event. My wife tells me that work and family life sometimes have to take priority! Whats that about eh!
So what is Grace O Malley Whiskey all about? It’s the latest Irish whiskey named after the famous Irish pirate queen known as Grainuaile (*Graun ya wail). Initially launching with some serious contenders in their Captains Range of Connoisseur Irish Whiskeys comprising of 18 year old Single Malts with three casks finishes, Amarone, Cognac and Port along with a first fill bourbon cask. They openly state on their website that the spirit for this comes from Cooley distillery. It’s a welcome transparency, but we will chat more about that in a second.
Grace O Malley have also now launched a very reasonably priced blend which we hope to cover shortly which is their Crew Range (along with gin and rum). Can you see the nautical theme emerging in the range names?? With all their stock sourced, Grace O Malley whiskey do not have a distillery. The company and brand is the brain child of Mayo native Stephen Cope who, 10 years ago along with his friend Jeff Burns, received finance from a German company, Private Pier Industries, which has strong Irish connections to build the brand and launch this year.
So while we have transparency on one hand with them openly saying that their stock comes, in part, from Cooley, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention their Twitter account. The account, as seen below, stated that it is “distilled and matured on the Irish West Coast”. It’s not. At all. In anyway. But, this was pointed out by Peter Mulryan during the week on Twitter and has now, to their credit, been changed. It is genuinely great to see people being called out on marketing ploys and mistakes. There is NO need to try make links when there are none. Suppliers and distilleries should stand proud with the true story of their whiskey. Lets make sure Ireland remains transparent and unquestionable on the international market!
So who was Grace O Malley?? If you come from outside of Ireland there is very little chance you’ve heard of her! But here in Ireland she is a very famous historical figure who has been introduced to every school going child for decades. In the 16th century Grace O Malley succeeded her father on his death who was a local Irish lord in Mayo. After Grace O Malley took over and married, she built up incredible wealth and influence over the local area. Such was her influence that the Governor of Connacht said she was “nurse to all rebellions in the province for this forty years”. When her two sons and half brother were captured by said Governor, Grace herself sailed defiantly to England where she met with Queen Elizabeth 1 to petition their release. Unable to speak English, the Irish speaking Grace conversed with the Queen in Latin to secure their release. Upon their release, Grace continued to support the Irish Rebels in the nine year war.
So with the history lesson complete, it’s time to look at some whiskey. This particular whiskey was kindly sent to me by Grace O Malley Irish Whiskey when I couldn’t attend the launch. Personalised with my name and signed by Stephen himself, I loved that it was unsealed. Means you got to drink it and it can’t be flipped! This isn’t part of their core range but after trying it, I couldn’t but review it! Bottled at 59.5%, 10 year old grain was full of flavours. Here are my tasting notes;
Nose – Green apples in abundance with honey and a slight buttery note.
Palate – Big hit from the ABV but as would be expected from a grain, i’ts still very delicate. Vanilla with a slight biscuit note. Cut grass and an almond note in there.
Finish – Long and lingering. A few drops of water brings out some excellent floral and oak spice notes with a woodiness akin to a top quality bourbon.
Overall – A very pleasant no frills grain whiskey and, by no frills, I mean no cask finish to mask anything. It allows you to really experience the whiskey which is, of ridiculously good quality! The cask strength allows you to have massive fun and leeway to find the sweet spot which, for me, was around 50% ABV. This is my first experience with Grace O Malley whiskey and it won’t be my last. Give us more of this quality grain whiskey and release it as a standard bottling please!
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.