Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey (2020)
Irish pot still whiskey is slowly returning to prominence thanks to the renaissance of distilleries in Ireland. For years it was pretty much Redbreast and nothing else. But now distilleries all over Ireland are returning to the roots of their country’s whiskey history. Teeling has already released their version of single pot still whiskey, as has Dingle Distillery. But today I’ll focus on The Shed Distillery and their Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.
The Shed Distillery is so named because that’s what the distillery team took to calling it when construction on the ramshackle building begin. The distillery was founded by entrepreneur and drinks veteran PJ Rigney. Ever since the distillery was finished in 2014, the name isn’t quite as suitable anymore. The Shed Distillery is now a flawless, modern operation with five pot stills, three column stills and six washbacks.
Named after the town where the distillery is located, the Drumshanbo Inaugural Release was launched in 2019. The following year they presented their current ongoing release, which is the Drumshanbo Single Pot Still I’m reviewing today. It’s made from malted and unmalted barley, as well as oats—which is in standing with Irish single pot still tradition. The whiskey matured in a mixture of first-fill ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks.
Drumshanbo Single Pot Still (43%, OB, 2020)
Nose: The vanilla is fairly prevalent. Custardy stuff at first, quickly followed by peaches and apricot marmelade, as well as bananas. There’s a thin veneer of creamy porridge, full fat milk and a sliver of orange peel. At times it feels closed.
Taste: A creamy arrival with some fresh citrus notes, quickly followed by red fruits, vanilla pods and caramel. Quite a bit of spices like pepper and ginger, but also charred oak. In the end it’s the sweeter notes that prevail.
Finish: Cherries and plums with a sugary sweetness with a touch of menthol. Medium in length.
It’s decent whiskey, yes. But it’s not as outspoken as I maybe would’ve liked. There are elements of Irish pot still whiskey to be found in Drumshanbo’s first ongoing release, but the casks have had a big say as well. Enjoyable, but not an undivided succes as of yet. I wonder what older releases will be like in the future.
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.