Ireland is internationally famed for its extraordinary whiskeys. Whilst Irish whiskey production was at its peak during the 18th and 19th century, the country’s new wave of distillers continue to champion locally made spirits for the modern drinker. The Prince of Wales bar at Ashford Castle is just the place to sample the best and brightest bottles being made today.
Self-proclaimed as Ireland’s first craft distillery, Glendalough is a project of five friends. Inspired by the prolific number of Irish distillers in existence during the 18th and 19th, centuries, Glendalough aims to uphold this tradition whilst producing more innovative products. The distillery began by creating poitín, a traditional Irish spirit, and swiftly developed their own whiskey and botanical gins. Look out for their 7 and 13 year old single malts in the Prince of Wales bar. Drinkers of the 7-year single malt can expect spicy and sweet notes with a luxurious finish, whilst the 13-year-old bottle has a vanilla fudge taste with layers of malt and oak.
Teeling Whiskey Co.
Teeling Whiskey dates back to the late 18th century, when Walter Teeling set up his distillery in Dublin’s Liberties. However, despite enjoying a prestigious reputation, the original distillery ceased business in the 1970s, when the popularity of Irish whiskey fell into decline. Fortunately, Teeling reopened on its original site in 2015, with the aim of celebrating its heritage and also shaping the future of Irish whiskey. Sample the single malt and single grain varieties at Ashford Castle; the single grain has repeatedly won best in its class at the World Whiskies Awards and is matured in red wine barrels from California, which gives it a deliciously fruity, berry flavour.
Part of the storied Slane Castle Estate in County Meath, the Slane Distillery celebrates the whiskey making heritage of the Boyne valley. Its whiskey is aged in three casks, beginning with a virgin cask which imparts flavours of toasted oak and vanilla, then seasoned barrels of Tennessee whiskey and bourbon, followed by sherry casks sourced from Jerez – the sherry capital of Spain. The result is a wonderfully complex, smooth drinking whiskey.
A respected distillery during the 19th century, Tullamore D.E.W. resumed production in 2014 in its namesake town. Tullamore D.E.W. takes its name from the distillery’s original founder, Daniel E. Williams, who is credited with the creation of the company’s triple distilled, triple blend whiskey. Enjoy a snifter of the 12 Year Old Special Reserve, which has a complex character that combines nutty and spicy notes with chocolate.
Rademon Estate Distillery
Based in Northern Ireland, Rademon Estate Distillery launched its award-winning premium craft gin, Shortcross Gin in, 2014. The gin, which is inspired by the verdant woodland landscape that surrounds the Rademon Estate, has a pleasingly botanical taste and has received many rave reviews. Try it in the fabulous Shortcross Gin and Tonic at the Prince of Wales bar, where it’s garnished with orange and basil.
Roe & Co
Launched in 2017, Roe & Co is a blended Irish whiskey that combines single malt and grain varieties and is matured in bourbon casks. Named after famous Dublin whiskey maker, George Roe (a key figure in the heyday of Irish whiskey production during the 18th and 19th centuries), this is a creamy vanilla blend with a gentle spiciness. What’s more, the design of the bottle is inspired by St. Patrick’s Tower in Dublin, the windmill responsible for powering the famed Guinness Brewery, which sits beside the newly opened Roe & Co distillery.
Settle in to the cosy, wood panelled surroundings of The Prince of Wales bar at Ashford Castle, and work your way through the extensive whiskey menu.
Image Credits: Lead image courtesy of Teeling Whiskey. Prince of Wales Bar © Red Carnation Hotels. Teeling Whiskey distillery exterior © Teeling Whiskey. Tullamore D.E.W. Distillery © Tullamore D.E.W.