Ireland's Blackwater Distillery has launched its inaugural whisky range: Dirtgrain Irish Whiskey.
The distillery in County Waterford opened in 2018 and has garnered a cult following for its whisky-making approach, particularly its use of heritage mash bills. It was founded by Peter Mulryan, an outspoken whisky aficionado, author and distiller who has pushed for greater transparency in the Irish whiskey industry.
The first Dirtgrain release, titled Manifesto, comprises four whiskeys which Blackwater says are "inspired by how Irish whiskey used to taste". The Manifesto Release comes as a set of four 200ml bottles, presented in a numbered box and accompanied by 64-page hardback companion book by Mulryan providing context and tasting notes for the expressions. Only 1,000 boxes will be available in the initial release.
Inspired by mash bills from 1838, 1893, 1908 and 1915, the Manifesto Release whiskeys are said by the distillery to be a "statement of intent" to define the category of pot still Irish whiskey. Regulations to legally define "pot still Irish whiskey", which first came into force in 2014, are currently under review after criticism of their parameters from some in the industry, including Mulryan.
Mulryan said: "100 years ago Irish whisky was made from a mixed mash bill of oats, barley, wheat and rye. The grains were the thing; they made a whisky so full of flavour, it didn’t need years in casks to taste of something. Using mash bills from the heyday of Irish whisky, and 100 per cent Irish-grown and malted grain, we have recreated four whiskies that otherwise would be lost to time. So why not try a 19th-century whisky made just four years ago?”
The Manifesto Release comprises:
- Dirtgrain Irish Whisky, Mash Bill #38 (47.1% ABV) – 40 per cent Laureate barley, 40 per cent Costello wheat, 20 per cent Gangway and Laureate, aged in apple brandy cask.
- Dirtgrain Irish Whisky, Mash Bill #93 (43.1% ABV) – 46 per cent Laureate barley, 35 per cent Gangway and Laureate, 15 per cent Husky oat, 4 per cent peated Laurate malt, aged in sherry cask.
- Dirtgrain Irish Whisky, Mash Bill #08 (45.3% ABV) – 50 per cent Gangway and Laureate malt, 35 per cent Laureate barley, 15 per cent Husky oat, aged in bourbon cask.
- Dirtgrain Irish Whisky, Mash Bill #15 (44.2% ABV) – 40 per cent Laureate barley, 30 per cent Gangway and Laureate, 15 per cent Husky oat, 12 per cent Costello wheat, 3 per cent Performer rye, aged in rye cask.
Dirtgrain Irish Whiskey – The Manifesto Release is available via ballot at www.blackwaterdistillery.ie
and from Irish and international trade partners, priced at €250. Dalcassian Wines & Spirits will be the main distributor for Dirtgrain Irish Whisky in the Irish market.