The beautiful surroundings of Glendalough are the inspiration for this namesake whiskey. The Glen of the Two Lakes, formed in the ice age by an immense glacier, is one of Ireland’s foremost beauty spots. The heritage associated with its raw, remote beauty – what drew St Kevin to the area to practice in solitude – now attracts pilgrims from all over the world. It is the image of St Kevin you see on the label of all bottles from the Glendalough distillery, with the famed blackbird which, legend had it, made a nest and laid eggs in the saint’s hand which he held outstretched until they hatched.
But we’re here to talk about whiskey, and a fine one at that. Each dram of Glendalough’s single grain whiskey enjoys its first maturation in American bourbon barrels, lending fine caramel, vanilla and chocolate notes to the profile before a second casking three and a half years on. The hand-crafted Oloroso sherry casks are sourced by directly from the producers in Andalucia, Spain by the distillers, and the whisky spends a further six months maturing in them before bottling. This second casking imparts fruity, nuttier notes to the whiskey and creates a unique flavour profile that makes it wonderful to drink either neat or as a mixer. The whiskey is cut with natural Wicklow spring water to take it to 46% through non-chill filtration, maintaining its character throughout.
All the flavour notes you expect from a single grain malt are present, delicious dark fruits and almost Christmas pudding type raisin, nutmeg and cinnamon berries along with cherry and fig are an absolute treat on the nose. You could easily just enjoy this all night long, but I daresay you’d give in to the temptation of a taste! You wouldn’t be disappointed. It’s lighter than you would expect, rather smooth with the vanilla and honeyed notes the oak cask imparts along with some more fruity, peppercorn flavours hitting the palate towards the end, and a marzipan style finish that is well worth the wait.
Take a trip to the Emerald Isle with this beauty of an Irish single malt and enjoy straight, on the rocks or cocktail style, it’s that versatile.