Roe & Co
The Roe & Co distillery was founded in 2019 and is located in the Dublin Liberties. The district used to be dominated by poverty and crime, but now many distilleries and breweries have settled here. The blend ’Roe & Co’ already existed before the founding of the Single Malt distillery. Since 2017 it has been made from a selected combination of Irish malt and grain whiskeys. Now Diageo has decided to produce the single malt part of the blend itself in the future.
|Information about the Distillery|
1 x 14,000 l
1 x 7,000 l
1 x 4,000 l
6 x 0 l
The Roe & Co distillery is located in the heart of Dublin in the Liberties. The creative district is on the rise and at the beginning of the 2000s many new distilleries settled there.
Roe & Co is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys, the latter adding its sweetness and notes of garden fruit. The maturation in American white oak casks also makes the whiskey slightly spicy. The aim when blending Roe & Co is to produce an uncomplicated Irish whiskey that can be enjoyed both mixed, on ice or pure. It should not be as intense as a Bushmills and not as neutral as Jameson, but somewhere in between. The distillery in Dublin produces 100% malt whiskey. The Grain part for the Roe & Co Blend is purchased.
The label of the bottle shows the St. Patricks Tower. The tower belonged to the windmill of the original distillery ‘George Roe & Co’, which had to close its gates at the beginning of the 20th century. The bottle shape and the turquoise label are also based on the St. Patricks Tower and its copper roof. Another symbol for the distillery is the pear tree, which is indicated on the labels, as well. It has existed since the times of the old distillery and still bears fruit.
The water for the Roe & Co Malt comes from the Wicklow Mountains near Dublin. It is the same water used for the production of Guinness Stout. About 500,000 litres of pure alcohol can be produced annually in the distillery. There are three pot stills in operation, which are shaped very differently.
The Pot Stills
Roe & Co Whiskey ist distilled on a 14,000 litre Wash Still and two Spirit Stills with capacities of 7,000 litres and 4,000 litres respectively. All three stills have long necks and reflux bowls. The middle still is a former Tanquary Gin still and has an unusual shape for a whiskey still, with a second reflux bowl at the top of the neck. After the still was no longer used for gin distillation, it was converted into a flowerpot in the meantime. Finally it was restored for Roe & Co and now whiskey is distilled in it. The third still has a very long neck. The characteristics of the stills, as well as the triple distillation, provide a lot of copper contact and reflux. This results in a particularly mild and soft spirit.
After the first distillation in the wash still 'Vision', the spirit is divided and transferred to the two spirit stills 'Vallah' and 'Virtue' (the former Gin still). This triple distillation as well as double distillation is possible, but for the beginning Roe & Co is triple distillation, as it is classic for Ireland. Once production has started in the first few months, double distillation is planned for the end of 2019.
Roe & Co’s spirit safe comes from the Scottish Highland distillery Teaninich, which is located directly opposite Master Distiller Lora Hemy's parents' house.
The malt for the production of Roe & Co is sourced from the large Irish malt house Minch in Athy in the Irish County of Kildare. The barley is not dried over peat fires, as peated malt is not compatible with triple distillation, according to the whiskey makers. High quality and a local character of the malt are important to the team, so only Irish malt of the Olympus variety is used.
The cast iron Mash Tun is called 'George'. It was named after the original founder and operator of the George Roe distillery.
After mashing, the six wooden wash backs are used. During the fermentation, the 'wort' reacts with the wood of the containers and thus gets more interesting aromas, which later also appear in the finished malt. More than 100 esters play a role in the whiskey fermentation process, contributing various flavours. The whiskey makers at Roe & Co use two different recipes to make their spirits, based on two different fermentation processes. Depending on which recipe is used, the fermentation time is 70 or even 120 hours.
After distillation, the batches from both recipes are blended in a large spirit vat containing 15,000 litres. Here, the aromas of both spirits are combined: one recipe results in a rather grassy, the other in a rather fruity aroma. This vatting brings out the fresh and fruity character of Roe & Co Whiskey.
The warehouses of Roe & Co are not located on the Liberties premises. The reason is the specifications of the Dublin authorities, as there have always been problems with whiskey warehouses in Dublin due to increased fire hazards in the big city. This is why the storage of whiskey barrels within the city area is now prohibited and the distilleries must allow their spirits to mature outside the city.
The transport conditions within Dublin are rather difficult due to the lack of space. Therefor, a spirit tanker truck was specially built for Roe & Co to pick up the spirit and take it to five different warehouses. The casks are stored all over Ireland and are mostly located inland.
Once there, the spirits mature for at least three years, but usually longer, in First Fill Bourbon casks. Master blender Caroline Martin waits until the moment, she likes the taste of the whiskey the best, before the whiskey is bottled.
The original distillery 'George Roe & Co' already existed in the beginning of the 20th century and had to close in 1926 due to the prohibition in America and cheaper competition from Scotland. About 90 years later Diageo decided to produce the single malt share for the Roe & Co Blend in a new distillery. It was built on the grounds of the ’National College of Art and Design’ in the former Guinness Power House. Distillation began in the beginning of June 2019.
For the planning of the new distillery, Diageo’s focus was on female power: Roe & Co is mainly run by women, including master blender Caroline Martin and master distiller Lora Hemy. Both had previously worked as perfumers, which is not unlike whiskey making. Over time, both found their way into the whiskey industry, both specializing in Scottish Single Malts before joining Roe & Co.
Different barkeepers were the test persons for the first attempts. With the help of their feedback and suggestions for improvement, the malt-grain ratio and alcohol strength were adjusted.
Roe & Co has a comprehensive Visitor Centre, which offers approximately 75-minute guided tours, seven days a week. The ticket for around 20 euros includes a guided tour of the distillery, a whiskey tasting, a cocktail course and a free drink in the Power House Bar.