More Irish whiskey! Rude not to, I do live here after all. So, 2019 was drawing to a close and I was a mildly unimpressed consumer of this island’s offerings. I am not sorry to say that I found it all a bit samey, even a bit repetitive. Probably a weak palate, however maybe I also haven’t been trying the good stuff? Well, not any more. Having recently reviewed T.B.W.C’s Irish Single Malt and coming away with a renewed sense of positivity, I was then kindly afforded the opportunity to try Shed Distillery‘s long-awaited inaugural release: Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Whiskey.
“…The first Connacht Whiskey in 105 years…” proudly adorns each bottle, and it has been eagerly-awaited. Shed Distillery’s wildly popular Gunpowder Gin and Sausage Tree Vodka have already set the bar high, so there was a buzz leading up to the big unveiling in late 2019 of their inaugural whiskey.
A 2014 vintage, Drumshanbo Whiskey is a triple distilled Single Pot Still and has a mash bill of malted Irish barley, un-malted Irish barley, and Irish Barra oats. This release also contains whiskey from the first cask distilled at the Shed Distillery in Leitrim on 21st December 2014 and, fortunately for marketing, it coincided with one of the Earth’s poles reaching its maximum tilt away from the Sun:
This Winter Solstice, Sunday 21st December 2014, the tiny rural village of Drumshanbo in Co, Leitrim will witness the birth of a rustic new handcraft distillery – The Shed – by PJ Rigney.The Shed Distillery
The Winter Solstice launch will celebrate Connacht’s first distillation in over 101 years, when the first cask will be sealed at 12.23pm, the time of the solar transit.
‘The Shed’ marks a return to traditional distillation using medieval copper stills and is the first multi-purpose distillery of its kind in Ireland.
Shed have matured this spirit in a combination of Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks, and it’s aged for almost 5 years with a cordial 46% ABV. With an initial release of 12,000 bottles, this review is borne from a 50ml sample gratefully received from Whiskey Nut over on Twitter (he also writes the brilliant Westmeath Whiskey World site – take a look!), the dram was allowed to rest in glass for 10 minutes, and with no water added.
Colour: Pale straw
Nose: An immediate whiff of gingery spice has risen from the glass and it collaborates with the vanilla very well, before hints of a custard-like richness arrive. Sweet on the nose too, it sounds like it has the hallmarks of apple pie and custard, but it reminds me more of a sweet bowl of porridge. Go figure. 8.5/10
Palate: Very good. More fruit – plum and cherry – on the palate than the nose which goes hand in hand with the sweet and spicy notes I first picked up. I do pick up oak, but it’s not overwhelming and complements the dark fruits along with the sweet and spice. It is certainly a well-balanced whiskey. 8/10
Finish: A sweet, medium finish, and it’s very moreish – the spice has gone by now, and instead is replaced by a lovely and effortless silky mouthfeel. 8/10
Fortunately, a 50ml sample has left me a wee bit more to enjoy.
Total: Top Irish whiskey! I look forward to seeing what Shed release over the next wee while. 24.5/30
Thanks again to Whiskey Nut for his generous sample.