Updated: Sep 25
59.79%. Small Batch Irish Whiskey
(aged in ex-Tasmanian Pinot Noir & ex-Tasmanian ex-malt whiskey casks)
Killowen is a tiny distillery located less than 2km from the waters of Carlingford Lough off the East Coast of the Emerald Isle (that's Ireland in case the penny hadn't dropped) just on the North side of the border.
Belgrove Distillery is located off the south coast of Australia, roughly 21,000km to the right and down a bit (in Tasmania)
Founder and Master Distiller of Killowen Distillery, Brendan Carty, is turning small ripples into big waves with his focus on releasing Whiskey that pays homage to traditional methods but harnesses some modern techniques.
The Killowen Distillery is small but has big ideas. With his two beautiful copper pot stills named Broc (the spirit still), and Críostoir (the wash still), they are producing very unique & exciting spirit that’s being casked and about to be revealed around the globe.
Killowen’s 2 flame-fed copper stills, Broc and Críostoir, and are equipped with worm tub condensers that will definitely help build on the character of the house style base spirit (see the photo at the bottom of the page and tell me that they're not little beauties!)
Brendan has also uncovered some very old mashbill recipes that are so, so, unique and feature ingredients such as oats, wheat, and rye, that will potentially award a biscuity & cereal note to the base spirit.
For this review, we're looking at the 3 year-old Belgrove Oat whiskey.
The liquid, having started the first part of its life as Belgrove Tasmanian malt whisky, was then transferred into an ex-Tasmanian Pinot Noir cask. With the influence of both casks and the mash bill, this whiskey was then transferred to Killowen and was released and made available within Ireland. It's a fine example of collaboration.
Appearance: Golden amber. Long & speedy oily legs.
Nose: Dried cereal, butter & cream. Oaty biscuits a fistful of grist. It is a dried cereal delight. The spirit might be only 3 years young, but the oily and buttery sweetness jumps out of the glass and gives the nose a kiss. Held in the glass a little longer, and the air starts to bring out some softer caramel notes and plum sauce (like you'd have with oriental crispy duck)
Palate: Sweetness mingles with a lovely satisfying cereal-note. A touch of pepper prickles the tastebuds before allowing a hint of mint to appear. Another sip now reveals more of an earthy & gravelly note - like licking a shovel that's just been used to dig some fresh damp and mineral-heavy earth. The body is lovely and thick with an almost chewy complexity. Dried bulger wheat and grist that delivers a lovely creamy cereal-note with a sweet foundation dance around. Wood shavings appear at the end - like chewing the end of a pencil.
Finish: Medium-long with a sweet & buttery oiliness that coats the mouth. The chewed wooden pencil note mingled with a touch of tobacco leaf appears on the exhale. And then just to top it all off, a note of mint choc chip ice cream.
Conclusion: I LOVE this whiskey. It's young, exciting, and really interesting. Loads of different notes going on in the nose and mouth, playing around and settling down. Biscuits and cereal abound. The base distillate that forms the foundation of this whiskey is excellent and the ABV is also really well integrated with the flavours and doesn't dominate at all. Oatstanding.
Below you can see Broc & Críostoir sitting like a couple of copper models (Broc means Badger and Críostoir means Christopher)
As you can see from the information below, the recipe for this whiskey is oat-heavy, giving the drinker a huge delivery of cereal and biscuit.
Read more about the Killowen Distillery on their official website here