Sliabh Liag Distillers releases first whiskey

Sliabh Liag Distillers releases first whiskey

The Kilcar Release, a peated single malt Irish whiskey, is the first legal whiskey released from Donegal in almost 200 years

News | 23 Aug 2023

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Irish whiskey maker Sliabh Liag Distillers has announced the release of its inaugural whiskey – the first whiskey to have been legally distilled in its home county of Donegal in more than 180 years.


Sliabh Liag – The Kilcar Release is a single malt Irish whiskey produced at the company's Ardara Distillery in southwest Donegal. The malt was kilned with Irish peat – harvested from the distillery's own bog – which the Sliabh Liag team says would have been traditional for whiskeys from the region in the 1800s. The spirit was matured in a first-fill ex-bourbon barrel for three years, with the first samples bottled in July 2023.


Sliabh Liag Distillers was founded by James Doherty and his wife Moira, and they began distilling spirit in 2020. It was the first legal distillery to have operated in Donegal since Burt Distillery ceased production in 1841, although illicit distillers continued to operate in the area – including James' grandfather, who produced a double-distilled peated whiskey in Kilcar.


James said: "Smoky Irish whiskey has a deep-rooted connection to Donegal and Sliabh Liag, our first single malt, is about reminding whiskey lovers – and the world – of that. The art of distillation, ageing, and blending has been refined over centuries, and the northwest region of Ireland has contributed its own distinct touch." 

Sliabh Liag – The Kilcar Release. Credit: Sliabh Liag Distillers

Moira added: "Donegal's landscape imparts a character that is distinctively its own. The rugged mountains, wild heather, and briny sea air infuse Donegal whiskey with an unparalleled sense of place. We worked hard in lockdown to commission the distillery and be the first distillery in Donegal to be granted geographical indication (GI) status."


Three of the earliest bottles of The Kilcar Release have been auctioned for charity, with the proceeds from two going to support the people of Creeslough at the Dublin Donegal Business Association Person of the Year evening, and one to the child loss charity Rosabel’s Rooms in Galway.


Only 100 bottles of Sliabh Liag – The Kilcar Release will be made available and will be allocated by ballot, priced at €300 per bottle. Each decanter comes with a commemorative Tuath glas and tasting sample. Email to enter the ballot.

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