By S.D. Peters
Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey, named after the castle in County Clare, Ireland, is a product from Castle Brands. The castle was once owned by Mark Edwin Andrews, a former Secretary of the U.S. Navy turned pure pot still whiskey collector. Purchasing Irish whiskey by the cask direct from its distillers, Andrews then bottled the aged product under the Knappogue Castle Brand.
The last of Andrews’ original bottlings, Knappogue Castle 1951, is actually still around, but being a whiskey distilled in 1951 and aged for 36 years, it’s very, very rare. More common is the current product that bears the Knappogue Castle name. The modern version of this single malt Irish Whiskey is distilled at the Bushmills Distillery, County Antrim, and bottled in 12, 14 and 16 year expressions.
The Knappogue Castle 12 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey, which is the standard expression of the brand, has a pale blonde glow in the glass — the classic color of Irish Whiskey — and 40% ABV (80 Proof). Redolent of malt and grain with a light sprinkle of white pepper and a dash of French vanilla, with a tang of honeydew melon and lemon zest that fades, slow and smooth, into oaken vanilla and lightly-sugared porridge.
A bottle of Knappogue Castle 12-Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey will run you between $35-$40 in the U.S.