Clonakilty distillery opened in March 2019, and I highly recommend a visit there. They have an excellent tour, and the distillery in itself is very nicely designed and well planned, and with lovely staff.
In the shop, you’ll find a whiskey barrel, from which you can bottle your own single cask whiskey. From what I’ve seen so far, it is a single grain whiskey finished in a Bourdeaux wine cask.
I love that this has become a trend in distilleries. You’ll find visitor centre casks and “fill your own bottle” services at Midleton distillery, Jameson Bow street (which isn’t even a distillery anymore!), Clonakilty, Teeling, Roe & Co and probably many more distilleries. It’s a nice way to taste a whiskey straight from the cask, get a cask strength whiskey from a company that doesn’t usually do whiskey releases at cask strength, get a feel for what the distillery wants to do even if the liquid inside the barrel is (so far) sourced whiskey. It’s also often a whiskey you can’t get anywhere else.
When I first became interested in whiskey, grain whiskeys didn’t appeal to me at all, but after tasting my first Irish grain whiskeys, I’ve totally changed idea. The grain whiskey I tasted from the cask at Chapel Gate blew me away. Method and Madness single grain, finished in Spanish virgin oak, is a fantastic whiskey, Teeling’s single grain is gorgeous, and Kilbeggan is another one that really surprised me.
The single grain whiskey from Clonakilty is a sourced whiskey, but it has spent some time in their own casks in the warehouse near Galley Head. It’s 9 years old and from the first in-store cask, 56,1 % ABV.
Almond, light wood, grass, something floral, and strawberry.
It’s very sweet and creamy. There’s some toffee, as well as vanilla and a floral touch. Drinking it neat, I find it a bit rough, but with a few drops added water, it becomes much nicer with more creaminess in texture, more toffee sweetness, and coconut.
I found this whiskey very strange, to begin with. It may have been the psychological effect of the weird colour – it’s kind of pink and looks like rosé wine. I didn’t know what to think of it at first! But I’ve come to appreciate it a lot more. Our bottle is nearly empty by now… but at least we live close enough to get another one!