Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye 43%abv €55.00
The first product to be released from production at Kilbeggan Distillery since it ceased distilling in the early 1950’s. The mash-bill was taken from ledgers of Whiskeys which would have been produced in the mid 1800’s, containing 30% Rye, with a mixture of malted and un-malted barley. The whiskey was Double-distilled and matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks for approx 7-8 years. This style of whiskey would have disappeared in Ireland around the early 1900’s and certainly vanished post-prohibition. Referred to as Small Batch Rye, as they could not call it Pot Still.
- Nose: Herbaceous spice notes, menthol, green apples and pear. There’s also toasted wood smoke and vanilla.
- Palate: Baked apples and sweet pastry, the spice notes become more peppery, the Rye influence is clear. With aeration on the palate, pencil shavings and cinnamon jump from the bourbon casks, this is all balanced by constant orchard fruits.
- Finish/Conclusion: Finish is all about the mouth feel, it’s getting more citrusy as it opens up, giving it a sharp raspberry zing to finish, very well-developed array of flavours which are quite distinct, stands out well when compared to Pot Still.
For anyone familiar with Rye whiskeys from the USA or Canada they will not be surprised to see notes of ‘spices, pepper, menthol’, although the Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye couldn’t really be compared to Rye Whiskey in all honesty. There’s a delicacy that’s apparent probably derived from the unmalted barley’s natural velvety texture, mixed with the distinct orchard fruits notes from the Malt which ensures that it’s more refined that most Rye whiskeys.
Kilbeggan Single Pot Still 43%abv €54.00
Double distilled Pot Still whiskey made from a mash of malted and unmalted, barley with 2.5% oats, it was matured in ex-bourbon casks for approx. 8 years. It was inspired by recipes which were used in the distillery in the 1800’s, and was the first Double distilled Single Pot Still to be released in Ireland in the modern era and the first whiskey with significant maturation to be released with oats included in the mash bill.
- Nose: Distinct body initially, mint and a touch of liqourice. It’s got clear Pot Still spice which reminds me of hot copper for some reason. Touch of stewed fruits as well, very complex.
- Palate: It has immediate notes of lemon curd, shortbread, zingy lime, and distinct apricot as the pot still spices hit the back palate. The aromatics are fantastic on the palate, red grape skin, dashed with white pepper, and berry compote.
- Finish: Flamed orange zest with luscious demerara sugar-coated apples, ginger, and cinnamon snaps. This whiskey has incredible depth of flavour, body, and a unique character which makes it an absolute gem of the Pot Still.
This whiskey has incredible depth, flavour, balanced body, and a unique character that sets it apart from other Single Pot Still Whiskeys. The addition of oats has amplified the vibrant bready, biscuity, gingery notes throughout the palate of the whiskey, paired with the distinctive pot still spice notes, it fits into the category incredibly well.
Both whiskeys add incredible value to the Kilbeggan Range, the packaging is simple and effective, the recent rejuvenation of the Kilbeggan Distilling Co., Kilbeggan and Tyrconnell brands has been well received. They have modernised the brands while staying true to the heritage of both brands.
Both double-distilled distillates have served to extend the range and differ immensely from previously Malt releases from the Cooley Distillery. It’s great to see a Single Pot Still released outside of IDL that stands out for its quality and depth, while also showcasing the use of oats in the distillate.
Given that in the words of former Global Brand Ambassador, John Cashman, ‘the Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye could have easily been blended away into the regular Kilbeggan blend’ because it was intended to be released as a Pot Still. From a enthusiast perspective getting to taste this whiskey and see the benefits of Rye was a treat.