First Ballykeefe Single Malt Whiskey from Ballykeefe Distillery
First Ballykeefe Single Malt – Casks 53, 54 and 55
For the first time in 200 years, Kilkenny has its own Kilkenny distilled Single Malt Irish Whiskey. Ballykeefe Distillery revived a centuries lost tradition of family farm distilling, where every drop of whiskey in a Ballykeefe bottle is Triple Distilled in Italian hand-crafted copper pot stills from malted barley, sown, grown and harvested on Morgan Ging’s beef and tillage farm, a 15 minute drive from Kilkenny city. With sustainability and protection of the rural environment central to his planning, spent grains and pot ale are recycled as food for the farm’s cattle herd. Fertiliser from the cattle feeds the barley fields. It’s not just grain to glass or farm to glass, but farm to glass to farm.
Ballykeefe Distillery began whiskey production in mid 2017 and is now releasing just three casks from its first ever malt whiskey distillations. Just like their first Ballykeefe Single Pot Still Release earlier this year, each cask of Ballykeefe Single Malt is being individually or Single Cask bottled for a total of 300 Cask Strength bottles and 408 bottles at 46% ABV for the Christmas market. This exciting new initial Distillery release of Single Malt Irish Whiskey is available directly from the Ballykeefe Distillery Online Shop and from selected off licences in Ireland.
Each bottle is hand engraved by Kilkenny Crystal and mounted in an impressive presentation box with a certificate of authenticity. There is also a sixteen-page colour brochure on the distillery included with every bottle. The cask strength bottles are presented with two hand cut crystal glass tumblers, uniquely designed by Ireland’s oldest family-owned crystal studio workshop, Kilkenny Crystal. Morgan expressed his delight about working with Richard Clancy and his team at Kilkenny Crystal,
“They are exceptionally talented craftsmen among a very few, who are hand cutting crystal in Ireland”
Morgan is particularly proud of the role that the distillery plays in diversification of his farm.
“We took a lot of risks with the investment to ensure our eco-friendly credentials of zero off farm waste, low carbon footprint and a fully sustainable production cycle that sees the by-products of brewing and distillation recycled as nutritious animal feed for the beef cattle on the farm”
Ballykeefe Distillery is a multiple award winner for sustainability and a flagship member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green program.
Morgan is also delighted with the quality of the spirit emerging from the casks, which he stored in a part of the distillery warehouse where there was a lot of variety in temperature. Commenting on this, Morgan says:
“Yes, we lost more to the angels share through evaporation, but we gained so much in flavours and maturity, it more than compensated for that loss in volume. I am delighted with the spirit’s gentle nose, intense surge of fruit and long finish. Whiskey takes patience to make, but now, we have finally arrived at the time to enjoy this wonderful malt whiskey”
Ballykeefe Single Malt Tasting Notes.
Morgan kindly sent me some tasting samples a few weeks ago from Casks 53,54 and 55 at both 46% ABV and Cask Strength.
Ballykeefe Single Malt Irish Whiskey – 46% ABV
Nose: A Gentle nose with notes of Toasted Oak, Citrus and Coconut resolving to Apple Sponge.
Taste: At first Malt and Fruit dominate at first with Mango and a hint of ripe Banana. Then Toffee Apple fading to Crème Brulé .
Finish: Long finish with notes of Apple Custard and a hint of Cloves
Ballykeefe Single Malt Irish Whiskey – Cask Strength
Nose: A Gentle Nose for a Cask Strength Whiskey with notes of Toasted Oak, Vanilla Custard and Apple Sponge.
Taste: An Intense surge of Fruit, Sweet Liquorice and Malt with Apple dominating supported by Tropical Fruits. Then intense cooked Apple and Tarte Tatin, Marzipan and Cloves. The normal alcohol burn of a Cask strength Whiskey is made very enjoyable by the intense flavour surge. Definitely a Cask Strength Whiskey to be sipped neat at first to experience this wonderful flavour bomb.
Finish: A Long intense Finish of Baked Apple and Cloves.
For more information on Ballykeefe Single Malt and Distillery see BallykeefeDistillery.ie
You can also check out my Whiskey Blogger Youtube Channel for a series of three videos I made earlier this year about Ballykeefe Distillery, their first Single pot Still release and How Irish Whiskey is Made at Ballykeefe Distillery.