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Killowen distillery has released the fifth in their 10-year-old Bonded Experimental Series, a rare ‘One Cask’ release with a Pinot Noir Burgundy cask finish and bottled at 56% ABV cask strength.

Official press release and tasting notes

Integrity Bottling no.5 – Pinot Noir Burgundy Cask finish, Small batch (388 bottles), cask strength, non-chill filtered, no colouring, 10-year-old blend with transparency at its core. Killowen Distillery is continuing to set the new standard for Irish Whiskey.

Killowen’s aim with this cask:

Remarkably Killowen hoped to release this as cask number 1 rather than number 5, unfortunately, last year, this cask was overpowered by the rich European Oak tannin and it’s inherent red wine berry notes. We spent the past year trying to rescue it, firstly by removing half its contents and adding in new whiskey of the same vintage and proportion, luckily the initial cask shock had already been absorbed into the whiskey and we spent the rest of the time letting the spirit become part of the cask once again. The biggest challenge with this range is maintaining the very high standard of previous releases while making a very different expression.

Thankfully the same successful and unique Killowen blend has been introduced to a very different cask and created another top-class expression.

The fifth part of the series:

From the outset, we at Killowen Distillery have been carefully sourcing whiskeys 12, 11 and 10 years old from different distilleries all across Ireland. We also hunted the globe for the finest casks to complement certain flavour notes in the blends, this time we have gone to the famous Burgundy region of France.

It has been Killowen’s prerogative that a consumer may enjoy an educational experience while drinking, consumption is then enhanced by extensive production transparency info on the bottle’s label. Unfortunately this time we have been prohibited from doing so, eventually under the GI via EU law. We won’t bore you with the details or paper trail, but basically, Killowen has been asked to remove the dates of the different blend components as they are deemed to be misleading for consumers. We thank you for your support regarding this issue and can only apologise for the vandalism to our back labels as a result. We all understand that misleading the consumer is not on Killowen’s agenda.

Killowen hopes to be an exemplar for industry progression, these integrity bottlings have quality, spirit and transparency as core values. We believe the packaging of a bottle should provide the consumer with all details regarding sourcing, blend ratio and finish.

The fact that it is not Killowen distilled spirit but rather, as the names suggest, a blended/ bonded spirit – is clearly set out. Providing the consumer with all of this information allows a deeper understanding of the flavour breakdown.

This whiskey is the fifth in a set of different whiskeys that will be released over a two year period. The creators have advised the whiskey can be slightly diluted to suit the consumer, as this is a wine cask, you are unlikely to find any char in your bottle, but we will make up for it in our next, penultimate release. Finishing only 387 no. 50cl bottles at cask strength 56%, this Pinot Noir Burgundy cask was specifically chosen for its freshness and vibrancy, creating a unique small-batch spirit with a full-bodied experience as follows:

Nose: Red apple and wild riverside mint, Honeysuckle and Nutmeg alongside freshly cut living wood with Leon peel towards the end.

Palate: A generous serve of blackberry conserve on top of creamy Lemon Cheese Cake with drying woodiness to balance it out the sweetness.

Finish: Broken Caramac bar at first, followed by a long freshly cut barnyard wood. A tiny kiss of pine needle amongst blackberries of varying ripeness found while blackberry picking in hedgerows.

Drinking suggestion: While tasting, do try with one then two teaspoons of un-chilled water.

Note: By continuing with the discipline of this series, all bottles are at cask strength, there has been zero filtration or added colouring. The spirit has come straight from cask to bottle, is full of flavour and high in alcohol content. This Pinot Noir Cask was chosen from a very respected French cask supplier so the wood and wine are of particularly high potency. The cask has been shaved to remove any residual sulphates and then very lightly toasted.

Killowen Distillery believes a whiskey should be enjoyed at cask strength then diluted by the consumer for a more intimate and educative drinking experience, so we encourage you to experiment with water.

The consumer will also notice the flavour profile of the spirit change as it breathes after opening, so please try it after a few minutes breathing in the glass also. Different complexities of fruit and spice become apparent as the spirit begins to open up.

Irish Whiskey Magazine

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