Love whiskey? Of course you do, that’s why you’re here. If you do, and Irish whiskey is your tipple of choice, we can wholeheartedly recommend a trip to Northern Ireland.
Home to numerous distilleries, Northern Ireland is really embracing the amazing dram that we all know and love, and is making it their own. Okay, Ireland may not have its whisky distilling origins as deeply rooted in its history as Scotland, but nevertheless, the drink is an important part of their heritage.
If ever you find yourself Newtownards, we strongly recommend you pay the Echlinville distillery a visit. Ireland’s first farm distillery, they craft award-winning gin, whiskey, and poitin and offer a wide range of tours and experiences for guests that will leave you entertained for hours.
Here’s a look at the distillery in more detail and why we here at Great Drams can’t get enough of the place.
Echlinville Distillery Story
In the heart of stunning County Down, among the rolling hills, weathered mountainscapes, and lush green pastures and farmland, you’ll find the Echlinville Distillery – Ireland’s first farm distillery.
The distillery itself may be relatively new (they crafted their first spirits back in 2013) but the farm and the estate in which the distilling takes place has been in the family since the 1600s.
In 2013, after being granted their spirit licence, they immediately got to work. One of the goals of businessman, entrepreneur, and whisky afficionado Shane Braniff, was to reinstate the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whisky brand and once again make it one of the world’s most popular Irish whiskies.
On August the 5th, 2013, a truly monumental thing takes place. The Echlinville Distillery fills their first whiskey casks. Then the waiting begins…
Three years later, and distilled from barley grown, harvested, and malted on their very own farm, the whiskey awakens from its slumber. Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, Echlinville Whisky is born, and what a dram she is!
2019 saw the release of their Dunville’s limited-edition single cask series. This was the first in a series of single casks showcasing the best casks from the Dunville’s warehouse. It proved to be a huge hit. In 2021 another Irish favourite returned to its roots in County Down – Old Comber Irish Pot Still Whiskey.
With plans for expansion and investment on the horizon, and with the farm and distillery proving to be hugely popular amongst locals and tourists alike, Echlinville Distillery looks set for big things in the near future, and we here at Great Drams couldn’t be more excited for them!
The Home of Irish Whiskey
As we’re looking at Irish Whiskey today, it’s only right that we look at the distilling process employed at the Echlinville Distillery in more detail, before looking at the great drams on offer.
As you know, we here at Great Drams love locally produced whiskey with heart, soul, and character. The whiskey produced here most certainly has that, and has that in spades.
Thanks to the unique microclimate on the Ards Peninsula, along with the rich soil, the weather conditions, the barley crops are plentiful, and packed full of flavour. Many industry experts consider it to be one of the best grain growing regions in all of Ireland, and we can see why.
The whiskey, and indeed the gin and poitin (Irish Moonshine) produced here is distilled the old-fashioned way. The barley is malted on the distillery’s malting floor and is turned, dampened, and dried by hand and shovel, just as it would’ve been done centuries ago. It’s these touches, we believe, that help make the whiskey and spirits so delicious and moreish.
Feckin’ Irish Whiskey
We like to think we know a thing or two about whiskey, and despite Scotch being our forte, we’re still very clued up when it comes to Irish whiskey.
Notoriously rich, smooth, and dangerously moreish, Irish whiskey is growing in popularity across Europe with each passing year. It may already have conquered the States, and Europe looks set to be next.
So, which drams offered by the Echlinville Distillery do we recommend? Well, for starters, we have to go with the brainchild of Shane Braniff, which is none other than Feckin Irish Whiskey.
Yes, we love the name too, and we can’t help but think of Father Ted, or rather, Father Jack, who almost surely would’ve loved this dram. Well, considering he was partial to the occasional bottle of Toilet Duck, that’s not saying much, but nevertheless, this is a truly remarkable dram.
At 40% ABV it’s fantastic for those of you who like your whiskey smooth and silky. The natural pale straw colour almost looks like a pinot grigio in the bottle, and yet despite its pale golden hue, this is a dram that’s loaded full of flavour.
On the nose, you should immediately pick up oak with a sprinkling of woodsmoke for good measure. Get your nose in there again and toffee, caramel, and sweet apple pie and cinnamon should shine through.
Take that first sip and you should immediately get warm buttery popcorn, golden heather honey, and warm butterscotch pudding. Once these fade away you should pick up plenty of winter spices, with cloves and cinnamon in particular shining through, accompanied by sweet vanilla and marmalade.
The finish is one to be savoured and is so, so smooth. You should again pick up notes of vanilla and honey, with a touch of oak smoke and lemon zest to finish.
This is a dram that can be enjoyed neat, over ice, or as a mixer. It pairs very well with coke and lemonade in particular.
If you’re looking for a selection of rare, award-winning, limited-edition, and delicious whiskies just like the ones listed above, be sure to head on over to the Greatdrams.com website and check out the selection of amazing drams we have available.
Here you’ll find all manner of different whiskies, primarily Scotch, to suit all palates, budgets, and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a smooth and creamy finish reminiscent of the blended Irish whiskey covered above, harsh and smoky notes, tart and fruity aromas, or anything in between, here at Great Drams, we’ve got what you need, and plenty more besides.