Glendalough unveils 17yo finished in mizunara casks

Ireland’s Glendalough Distillery has launched three new whiskeys in the US, including a 17-year-old single malt finished in Japanese mizunara oak casks.

Glendalough has released a pot still whiskey aged in Bourbon and finished in virgin Irish oak, a 17-year-old single malt aged in Bourbon casks and mizunara oak and a 25-year-old single malt aged in Bourbon and oloroso Sherry barrels. The Glendalough 17 Year Old has spent twice as long in the Japanese mizunara oak cask as its 13-year-old predecessor. After 15 years in a first-fill Bourbon cask, the whiskey is said to have “vibrant, citrus notes” over “long, sweet honey and vanilla”. The initial ageing provides the expression with hints of “wood spices, incenses and earthiness”. Glendalough Distillery said it was risky to finish the liquid in “notoriously leaky and expensive” Japanese oak, but the extra two years “were worth it”. Limited to 6,000 bottles, with the US receiving 3,000 of these, Glendalough 17 Year Old is priced at US$299. The Glendalough Pot Still is the distillery’s first pot still whiskey. It was first matured in ex-Bourbon casks for three years before being transferred into virgin Irish oak casks for a year. These casks were made from trees that Glendalough sustainably harvested in the mountains surrounding the County Wicklow-based distillery. Glendalough Distillery plants seven oak saplings for every tree that falls in Wicklow’s native oak forests. Kevin Keenan, Glendalough’s co-founder and creative director, chose to use the Irish oak because of its “unique flavour profile”. To honour the 130-year-old trees used to make the casks, Glendalough Distillery has numbered each bottle, informing consumers of the batch, cask, and right back to the tree it was made from. A neck tag on each bottle directs consumers to www.glendaloughdistillery.com/irishoak to see a short film of the specific tree being felled and the cask being coopered. Glendalough Pot Still Irish Whiskey is priced at US$54.99. World first Meanwhile, the 25-year-old whiskey is thought to be the world’s first Irish single malt to be aged in Irish oak casks. They were the first casks made from the first trees felled by Glendalough in the woods surrounding its distillery. Glendalough said “there is very little whiskey of this age in Ireland”. Describing the whiskey, Glendalough said: "The luxurious sweetness of the heavily charred American oak Bourbon cask is followed by the bold, round flavours of toasted Spanish oak, oloroso casks, while the lively last word is left to the virgin Irish oak spices. This is all clearly discernible in chronological order through an exquisite smoothness.” Five casks of the 25-year-old single malt yielded 1,700 bottles. Two casks (752 bottles) will be sold in the US with an RRP of US$499. In December 2019, Dublin-based drinks distribution group Mark Anthony Brands International (MABI) acquired the remaining 60% stake in Ireland’s Glendalough Distillery for an undisclosed sum.