The Whisky Tasting Club

Blow your Cooley

Fancy an Irish whiskey green tea finish?  One matured in Belgian Trappist ale casks? Or finished in Cognac and wine?

Whether any of these will ever see the light of day remains to be seen, but Irish distiller Cooley is experimenting with whiskey styles at its Locke’s Distillery at Kilbeggan.

The distillery was sold to distilling giant Beam Global late last year, but according to Cooley’s Stephen Teeling it’s business as usual at the company, at least for the time being.

“We had the Beam marketing guys here yesterday and they were very impressive,” he says. “But they loved Kilbeggan and bought in to it. I think that just as with Laphroaig and Maker’s Mark they see us as custodians of the whiskey and will give us leeway to continue to what we are doing. That means for the time being we’re carrying on as we were.”

The next limited release is Connemara Bog Oak, a limited edition
of 1000 bottles, which will be released in February. the peated whiskey is
matured in casks which have heads made of 5,000 year old oak retried from Irish peat bogs. A small sample of the bog oak will be included in each presentation box.

But perhaps the most exciting developments are the discovery of old recipes for some special bottlings of Locke’s. they include a highly spiced rye recipe, and a pot still receipt comprised of 35 per cent unmalted barley, malted barley, and a proportion of pinhead oats. Cooley has not launched a pot
still whiskey before now.

“There were real issues with working with a mix of peated and unpaged barley at the Cooley plant,” says Telling. “It causes problems in the machinery because the mix goes like a thick porridge. But they have got it to work at Kilbeggan through trial and error and the oats help with

“It’s very young as yet but we were tasting it with the American guys yesterday and you can definitely taste the influence of the oats.”

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