By Kurt Maitland and Richard Thomas
As described by my colleague S.D. Peters, Knappogue Castle is a revival of a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy’s labor of love. Mark Edwin Andrews, who was a World War Two Navy officer and did his stint as Assistant Secretary under President Truman, enjoyed a lucrative post-naval career in the oil business.
That explains how Andrews was able to buy the very real Knappogue Castle, as well as become an enthusiastic collector of Irish pot still whiskeys. The Knappogue 14 Year Old Single Malt is from the modern line, a whiskey distilled in 1998, aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, and bottled at 46% abv in 2012. For that mix of two woods, the whiskey is subtitled “Twin Wood.”
Following a very Irish practice, the malted barley used was dried without burning peat, and the whiskey triple distilled. As with most premium whiskeys around the world these days, Knappogue 14 Year Old isn’t chill filtered and has no additives.
Color: Pale Ginger
Nose: Fresh Bread, Cinnamon and other spices
Taste: It is full of fruit and floral notes. I found that to be a bit of a surprise, as that was not what I was expecting in an Irish whiskey. That helped make it stand out for me when compared to other Irish Single malts. The mouthfeel in neither oily nor particularly dry, but very even.
Finish: Starts with a very light burn that develops into a numbing spice/ cinnamon burn not unlike Big Red gum (a stable of my youth).
The Knappogue “Twin Wood” is a surprising Irish single malt. It was far more complex than I expected it would be. I would imagine it’s the blend of the bourbon casks finish with the Oloroso, but I found it to be lighter on the sherry side than one would expect. In some ways t is reminiscent of some of my favorite Japanese whiskies, in its profile. Definitely something I would be happy to try again. I believe it’s a limited release so be sure to keep your eye out.
The Knappogue 14 Year Old has a recommended retail price of $60 Dollars.