WhistlePig companions with Limavady to create Irish single barrel whiskey
WhistlePig Whiskey has never been shy about pushing boundaries. Since its inception in 2007, the Shoreham, Vermont-based maker has blended and refined a variety of American and Canadian whiskeys in casks from around the world: Spain, Portugal, France, Japan, Jamaica and more. Now the distillery is crossing the Atlantic again, this time not just for its own production, but to welcome the Irish whiskey from Limavady.
Resurrected by Darryl McNally, a longtime master distiller and descendant of the brand’s original owners in the 18th century, Limavady is focused on Irish single malt whiskey with the aim of becoming a leading single cask supplier. It has found an ideal partner in WhistlePig, as the rye brand’s single-cask expertise is considerable and a core part of its identity. The late master distiller Dave Pickerell started WhistlePig’s barrel range when he developed releases such as Old World, a 12-year-old blend of rye refined in portpipes, French oak barrels and Madeira barrels.
In the years since Pickerell’s untimely death, WhistlePig has continued the keg finishing program – currently overseen by lead distiller Emily Harrison and aptly named whiskey mixer Meghan Ireland – experimenting with anything they can get their hands on, from white burgundy through a variety of rums to non-oak woods such as Amburana and Brazilian teak. Many of these barrel finishes are offered to retailers and restaurants as private picks, but the taste results of each are recorded and remembered for future WhistlePig releases. Check out Boss Hog’s annual limited edition to discover some of the most successful and innovative finishes.
With the addition of Limavady to the portfolio, WhistlePig has the opportunity to apply its know-how to a new style of whiskey – Irish single malt – and at the same time to exchange insights with an established master distiller. McNally – who was born in a bar, certainly the best origin story for a distiller ever – has worked in the Irish whiskey business for decades, most recently as a master distiller for the Dublin Liberties Distillery. At the helm of Limavady, he plans to source single malt Irish whiskey to build on initial releases, with the potential to open a distillery in the future.
Joining WhistlePig not only enables Limavady to learn from the American manufacturer, but also enables the new brand to easily enter the US market through established sales channels. Luxury giant Moët Hennessy also owns a minority stake in WhistlePig – another boon for an emerging whiskey.
Limavady will launch its first expression in August, a single barrel single malt priced at $ 50. The brand is keeping an eye on what’s to come, although WhistlePig CEO Jeff Kozack confirms that barrel refining will be part of the mix. Could there be a Limavady refined with rye or a WhistlePig refined with Irish whiskey? “That would be almost too easy and to be expected,” says Kozack.
He made an enticing hint: “Can WhistlePig use Irish barley on its Vermont farm or develop its own single malted rye? We definitely hope so. “
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