Connacht Irish Whiskey
Since 2016, we have been distilling and laying down our own double distilled single malt Irish whiskey that will reflect the unique terroir of unspoilt, rural western Ireland. Our master distiller, Robert Cassell, has selected a unique blend of the finest Irish grains which he has combined with water that is sourced from the nearby County Mayo lakes of Lough Conn and Lough Cullin. These two elements form the backbone of our whiskey. After our whiskey leaves our copper pot stills, we transfer it to American oak barrels that once held American bourbon. The choice of barrels is a nod to the Irish-American heritage of several of our founders. The whiskey laden barrels rest on-site in our distillery’s barrel room, where the whiskey slowly matures only metres from the River Moy and just a few kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean. This unique location will favourably impact the eventual flavour of Connacht’s whiskey. Once finally mature, we will hand bottle our whiskey at the distillery. After that, some of Connacht’s fine Irish whiskey will be enjoyed in Ireland, and some will cross the Atlantic to find a home in America, much like some of our ancestors. In 2017, we also started distilling and laying down our own triple distilled single malt Irish whiskey and transfer it to a variety of interesting barrels to begin it’s aging in our on-site barrel room.
Conncullin Irish Gin
Conncullin Irish Gin is an exquisitely crafted small batch premium Irish gin. A signature blend of juniper supported by hawthorn berry, elderberry and other botanicals marry to form a complex flavour profile. Conncullin has a beautiful berry nose but finishes big and bold with nice juniper notes and hints of citrus. It is pot distilled and hand bottled at full 94 proof (47% ABV) at the our distillery in County Mayo. Conncullin Irish Gin has already been awarded a Gold Medal and 92 points by the International Review of Spirits. Irish gin is a fairly new product as spirits go, so our gin’s name and image evoke the modern, clean nature of Irish gin. Conncullin is the merging of the names of two County Mayo lakes, Lough Conn and Lough Cullin, which are the source of the water used at our distillery. The lakes, which are connected to each other, are also linked to the Atlantic by the River Moy. Echoing the two connected lakes, our logo features two interconnected circles filled with water in a -green-blue hue.
Straw Boys Irish Poitin
Poitin, pronounced “put′ cheen” and sometimes spelled poteen, is unaged, white whiskey that has been made in small Irish villages for decades. It’s essentially what Americans call “moonshine.” While Dublin distillers benefited from economies of scale, rural distillers operating in western Ireland’s isolated townlands relied more on a keen eye for the excise man and their neighbours’ generosity to pitch in and pay the fine if they were caught. One of our founders had a great-great uncle, a John Mullarkey, who spent a few months in the Sligo Gaol for the crime of illicit distillation. Whereas John Mullarkey would have used a small, portable still up in the Ox Mountains, we use Connacht Distillery’s beautiful copper stills and a traditional malted barley base for the mash. Although poitin is oftentimes very high proof – as much as 120 proof, our poitin has a more restrained proof point of 90 (45% ABV). Straw Boys Irish Poitin was awarded a Double Gold and Best in Category by the American Distilling Institute. Only 9 brands out of 802 entered were given the Double Gold distinction. We were also awarded a Gold Medal at the 2017 Irish Whiskey Awards. The name “Straw Boys Poitin” celebrates the theme of family, friends, and neighbours which is inherent in the story of Irish poitin. Crashing parties, particularly weddings, is a long-standing tradition, and in the West of Ireland wedding crashers were known as “straw boys.” Straw boys would obscure their faces with large conical hats made of straw, pop into the reception, dance with the bride and groom, have a quick drink, and then be on their way. The appearance of straw boys was a sign of good luck to the wedding couple.
Straw Boys Irish Vodka
Because Americans often equate potatoes with Ireland, using potatoes to make Irish vodka makes some sense, at least at first blush. However, because the Connacht Distillery is located in western Ireland where potato farming is not particularly prevalent, we opted to base our vodka on grain. It is batch distilled in our copper pots stills and hand bottled at our distillery at 80 proof (40% ABV). Our vodka has a rich mouth feel that is luscious, silky, and semi-sweet. As we do for our poitin, we’re using the Straw Boys name and logo with our vodka. Like the wedding crashing straw boys of western Ireland, our vodka is fun and spirited. Straw Boys Irish Vodka was also awarded 94 points and a Gold Medal from the Tastings International Review of Spirits making it one of the highest rated vodkas in the world! It was given a gold medal and named best Irish vodka at the 2016 Irish Whiskey Awards and repeated with another gold medal at the 2017 awards.
Spade&Bushel Irish Whiskey
While we wait for Connacht Distillery’s own Irish whiskeys to mature, we are alert to opportunities to purchase whiskey from other distillers. Every once in a while, some great Irish whiskey is made available on the open market from distillers who are left with small amounts of whiskey or simply discover a “lost” barrel or two in a warehouse. A few barrels may be too little for a large distiller to bother with, but we are happy to work with smaller amounts if they are unique or exciting and then make them available to lovers of Irish whiskey. So as not to confuse the consumer or “dilute” the brand of Connacht Distillery’s own superb Irish whiskey, we have created our Spade&Bushel label that we will use when presenting these special offerings of sourced Irish whiskeys. Spade&Bushel Cask Strength 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Spade&Bushel 10 Year Old Cask Strength Irish Whiskey is a single malt Irish whiskey that has aged for at least 10 years in used oak barrels. We present this product at full cask strength of 115 proof (57.5% ABV), because our master distiller concluded that the full depth of flavour would be lost if the whiskey was diluted to a lower proof. We wanted our first Spade&Bushel offering to be memorable and think this 10 year old meets this criteria. Spade& Bushel was awarded a Gold Medal for cask strength Irish Whiskey at the 2016 Irish Whiskey Awards.
Brothership Blended Whiskey
Have we mentioned that some of our founders are Irish-Americans? Ours is a story of Atlantic crossings, of “goodbyes” and “welcome home,” of holding fast to heritage and building new traditions, but most of all it is a story of family, friends, and neighbours. To celebrate this history, our master distiller, Robert Cassell, has re-imagined a whiskey that creates something new and different. He combines the best of two traditions, the smooth warmth of Irish whiskey and the rich boldness of American whiskey, into one beautiful product that pays homage to the heritage of each component. We buy Irish malt whiskey that has aged 10 years as well as American whiskey that has also aged 10 years, Robert has skillfully blended the two whiskeys and bottled it at Connacht’s partner distillery New Liberty Distillery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our Brothership Blended Whiskey is available in both the US and Ireland and was recently awarded a Gold Medal and 92 points (Excellent, Highly Recommended) at the 2017 Ultimate Spirit Challenge. We can think of no better way to salute the very special relationship between Ireland and America, than to raise a glass of Brothership Blended Whiskey to the health of our families and friends on both sides of the Atlantic. Slainte!
Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey
We buy the very best four-year-old Irish grain whiskey, which has a mash bill of 93% corn and 7% malted barley and bring it to our distillery in County Mayo. We re-barrel it in once used port barrels for six months. It is not chill filtered, so we can preserve the smooth easy taste. The fresh grain whiskey slowly picks up the color and sweetness of the port, giving it a gentle but sweet nose with some appealing vanilla notes and floral bouquet. Finally, we hand bottle it on site at the distillery. Fun, bright and festive, Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey is made for celebrations. Ballyhoo is an exclamation of triumph over the rival team. A rallying cry between lifelong friends. A toast to a difficult journey or a hard-fought victory. A celebration of the now. Raise a glass of this Irish whiskey to exuberant moments that become enduring memories. Ballyhoo!