Featured at World Whisky Day 2014: This Irish distillery has an interesting story. The derelict castle was bought by Mark Edwin Andrews, former Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy, and his wife Lavonne in 1966 and a great deal of energy (and money) went into the restoration. However, it wasn’t until many years later that the whiskey collected from the B. Daly Distillery by Mr. Andrews was brought to market. While the castle was repurchased by Ireland in 1996, the castle’s namesake whiskey is still produced today using liquor from Bushmills by a company run by Andrews’ son. It’s one of the only independent bottlings of Irish whiskey available.
Distillery: Knappogue Castle
Age: 12 year
Location: Quin, County Clare
Maturation: Bourbon barrels
Nose: Green apple jolly rancher, bitterness, maple syrup
Palate: Buteric, grassy, corn chip, white grapefruit pith, nutmeg, coconut
Finish: Subtle, citrus, refreshing
Adam – I first bought this at a liquor sale. A single malt whiskey for under $30? I was suspicious but hopeful, and this gem did not disappoint. It is about as far away from the peaty depths of Islay as you can get, but it is light and engaging. It’s also remarkably balanced and avoids the rough edges many Irish whiskeys have. This is one of my go-to recommendations when I introduce people to Scotch and whiskey because it’s mild enough to not scare away anyone who’s a little leery. It presents a nice boutique of smells and flavors that invites you back for repeated tastings and further exploration. Sit back, relax and don’t be afraid to enjoy.
Kate – I know there’s been a rival between Scotch whiskey and Irish whiskey but I like them both for very different reasons. They’re just so different and unique in their own right. Having said that, Knappogue Castle is a really good Irish whiskey. The nose is citrusy, floral, with light hints of fauna as well and it is very hot on the nose (meaning it feels like it’s burning the inside of your nostrils if you take too deep a breath). The taste is sweet with notes of brine, fauna, and nutmeg. With water it is lighter with a hint of coconut buried in its layers. The finish is reasonable in length. It’s an all around good whiskey and a wonderful go-to in hotter weather if you don’t want a smoky or peaty whiskey.
Henry – This is, hands down, my current favorite Irish whiskey, mostly due to its Flora and Fauna nose and mid palate. Heather and grapefruit open with water, with only a whisper of the butyric that some other Irish peated whiskies can’t seem to avoid. This is a light, relatively inexpensive dram that can convince you summer is coming on the dreariest of March days.
Michael – A nice sour apple flavor, very refreshing