Glendalough

Glendalough means 'Valley of the Two Lakes' in Gaelic. The valley is also called the Garden of Ireland and is located in the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. It was here that five friends founded Ireland's first craft distillery. Glendalough is also known for its 6th century monastic settlement. This was founded by the legendary monk and hermit St Kevin, whose story also inspired the distillery founders and whose figure adorns the Glendalough bottles.

Information about the Distillery
15 Bottles
Ireland
-6.107415 53.084995
Active
2011
Barry Gallagher, Brian Fagan, Gary McLoughlin, Kevin Keenan, Donal O'Gallachoir
http://www.glendaloughdistillery.com/
Average tasting notes Tasting Notes
Calculated from 83 Tasting Notes
i
Nosing
Fruit:
Sweet:
Honey:
Vanilla:
Malt:
Sherry:
Caramel:
Apple:
Zitrus:
Herbs:
Oak:
Heather:
Berries:
Spices:
Grape:
Banana:
Tropical Fruit:
Pineapple:
Grass:
Peat Smoke:
Orange:
Raisin:
Wheat:
Grapefruit:
Alcohol:
Herb:
Dried Fruit:
Plum:
Dark Chocolate:
Barley:
Pepper:
Green Apple:
Melon:
Ginger:
Pear:
Cherry:
Peach:
Tasting
Sweet:
Fruit:
Honey:
Oak:
Sherry:
Malt:
Caramel:
Spices:
Vanilla:
Berries:
Apple:
Peach:
Herbs:
Nuts:
Grape:
Wheat:
Oil:
Zitrus:
Heather:
Cinnamon:
Dried Fruit:
Peat Smoke:
Plum:
Pepper:
Pear:
Grapefruit:
Alcohol:
Herb:
Pineapple:
Chocolate:
Grass:
Salt:
Orange:
Raisin:
Hay:
Leather:
Iodine:
Blackberry:
Coconut:
Lime:
Floral:
Seaweed:
Almonds:
Chili:
Tropical Fruit:
Cake:
Maritime Notes:
Black Currant:
Rye:
Finish
Sweet:
Fruit:
Spices:
Malt:
Oak:
Sherry:
Honey:
Nuts:
Vanilla:
Apple:
Wheat:
Peat Smoke:
Walnut:
Alcohol:
Chili:
Zitrus:
Berries:
Chocolate:
Grape:
Caramel:
Ginger:
Almonds:
Cinnamon:
Herbs:
Herb:
Dried Fruit:
Heather:
Dark Chocolate:
Barley:
Pepper:
Green Apple:
Floral:
Oil:
Seaweed:
Pear:
Peach:
Clove:
Maritime Notes:
Details about the Distillery

The Whiskey

The water used to produce Glendalough Whiskey is mountain spring water from the Wicklow Mountains. Both Single Malt and Single Grain Whiskeys are made with this. The Grain Whiskeys are mostly made from corn and a small part of barley. They are often bottled as single casks with special finishes such as Calvados or Madeira casks.

Glendalough Double Barrel is a Single Grain Whiskey distilled twice in the coffey still. It is matured in two different types of casks - American Oak Bourbon casks and Spanish Oak Oloroso casks - which allow different flavours to flow in. 

The pot still Whiskey from Glendalough is finished in first-fill Irish Oak casks from the Wicklow mountains. The importance of the wood is also reflected on the labels: each bottle is marked not only with the number of the cask from which it comes, but also with the number of the tree that was felled for its production.

One Whiskey that matures in special casks is the seven-year-old Single Malt Mizunara Cask. The wood of this coveted oak comes from the Japanese island of Hokkaido and takes three years to dry. 

Production

The Glendalough Whiskeys are generally produced in small batches. Great importance is attached to production with regional raw materials such as grain, water and also botanicals for the Gin. In addition to Whiskey and Gin, the Glendalough distillery also produces Poitín, a formerly moonshine spirit that is considered the 'father of Irish Whiskey'.

The Pot Stills

In the small craft distillery, there is a wash still with a volume of 250 litres and a constriction for the Single Malts and a spirit still with a reflux ball and ascending lyne arm. This results in a lot of copper contact and reflux, which separates the alcohol well and makes it milder. Since some Whiskeys are also to be triple distilled, as is customary in Ireland, Glendalough helps itself by simply filling the spirit still a second time with the already distilled alcohol and distilling it again.

For the Grain Whiskeys, a coffey still with continuous distillation is available. 

 The distilled new make spirit has an alcohol content of 62.5 % when put into the casks - mostly Bourbon - before the Whiskey is transferred to different casks for the respective finishing process.

Glendalough pot stills
Glendalough pot stills

Maturation

The primary maturation of Glendalough Whiskeys generally takes place in first fill Bourbon casks. The Grain and Malt Whiskeys are finished in a wide variety of casks, including Burgundy, Madeira, Sherry and Beer casks

In addition, Glendalough uses Irish oak casks, a rarity in Whiskey maturation. Great importance is attached to sustainable cutting and reforestation of the oak trees. For every tree felled, seven new ones are planted. The special feature: Irish oak grows faster than American or European oak due to the mild climate, which results in a stronger structure in the wood and larger cells with thinner cell walls. These provide richer oak notes, which pass more quickly into the Whiskey during cask maturation. The aim of the Whiskey makers is to capture the terroir of Ireland. Flavours that Irish oak gives to the Whiskey are sweet with chocolate, caramel and lots of vanilla, and spicy with toasted oak

Cask with Glendalough Whiskey
Cask with Glendalough Whiskey

The Gin

Not only regional but also seasonal herbs and fruits are gathered for Glendalough's Gin. Spring botanicals include the sweet and aniseed-like cicely, the also slightly sweet primrose, the minty-fresh water mint and spicy sorrel. Summer botanicals are sweet elderflowers, floral wild roses, fresh water mint, pea-like tasting clover blossoms, raspberries, blackberry leaves, tart pine needles and blossomy daisies and yarrows. Autumnal fruits and herbs used in Glendalough Gin comprise apples and rosehips, as well as black-, elder- and rowanberries, along with sweet-tart meadowsweet flowers. The Irish distillery's winter botanicals also include apples and rosehips, as well as tart-sweet hawthorn berries, sloes and fruity-resinous Douglas fir needles.

In keeping with each of the four seasons, the distillery releases a Seasonal Gin, which brings out the characteristics of each season. In addition, Glendalough has a Wild Botanical Gin, which contains around 36 ingredients designed to capture the full flavours of the four seasons and the aromas of the Wicklow Mountains.

Geraldine Kavanagh, the herbalist at Glendalough, harvests all herbs and botanicals fresh and sustainably. The ambition is to impact nature as little as possible and leave no trace so that the Wicklow Mountains remain as beautiful and wild as they have been.

Head Distiller Ciaran "Rowdy" Rooney distils the botanicals fresh with the spirit, without drying them first, as is often the case in other distilleries. The Gin still 'Kathleen' is used for this. The name is borrowed from the legend of St. Kevin, in which a woman of this name wanted to seduce the monk. However, the latter converted her, and she became Kathleen, the purest of spirits. The still has a capacity of 500 litres and is filled with 96.3% neutral alcohol, which is diluted down to 35%. The botanicals are then freshly added and steeped overnight.

A special and very personal Gin was created by Head Distiller Rooney in honour of his late mother Rose and on the occasion of his brother's wedding. For the Rose Gin, rose petals from the garden of his childhood home are used and hung in the aroma basket in the steam. This is where they can best develop their flavour.

Glendalough storage of botanicals
Glendalough storage of botanicals

The History

The Glendalough distillery was founded in 2011 by five friends from Dublin. Barry Gallagher and Brian Fagan, both from the drinks industry, Gary McLoughlin and Kevin Keenan, both previously in drinks advertising, and Donal O'Gallachoir, who joined as brand ambassador, gave up their regular jobs to fulfil their dream of distilling Whiskey. Until they could bottle their own matured spirit, they used new make spirit from the Cooley distillery, also from Ireland. In 2014, the well-known Irish rugby player Brian O'Driscoll invested 60,000 Euros in the friends' company. Due to ongoing difficulties in staying in the black, 40% of the company's shares were sold to Canadian spirits conglomerate Mark Anthony Brands International Group in 2016. In December 2019, the group also bought out the remaining 60% stake. However, Glendalough will continue as an independent company with the founders. 

Visitor information

Glendalough Distillery
Moneycarroll, Newtown Mount Kennedy
Co. Wicklow
A63 A439
Ireland
Email: info@remove-this.glendaloughdistillery.com 

Chronological rating history

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