Windswept Lambay Island, located three miles from the coast of north County Dublin in Ireland, is the remote location where a quirky new Irish whiskey soon to be launched into duty-free, undergoes its final maturation.
The volcanic island is famous for being home to an eclectic menagerie of local and imported wildlife that includes wallabies, puffins, deer, seals and cattle. Lambay boasts a working airstrip, a disused golf course, a real tennis court and an enchanting medieval castle rebuilt in the Arts & Crafts style by the renowned Anglo-Irish architect Edwin Lutyens.
For more than a century the tiny private island has been owned and preserved by the Baring family, who once owned the bank of the same name. Alex Baring, the seventh Lord Revelstoke, has teamed up with Cyril Camus, president of family-owned Camus Cognac, to jointly launch a new Irish whiskey to help fund a long-term conservation strategy for the island.
Camus cellar master Patrick Léger sourced Irish whiskey from West Cork Distillery, transporting it by boat to Lambay to be finished in old Cognac casks, a first for Irish whiskey, in a dedicated warehouse close the sea.
Lambay boasts a working airstrip, a disused golf course, a real tennis court and an enchanting medieval castle rebuilt in the Arts & Crafts style by the renowned Anglo-Irish architect Edwin Lutyens.
The idea is that the island’s unique maritime climate leaves its imprint on the ageing whiskey, which is then reduced to bottling strength by volcanic island water. Although this is Camus’ first foray into Irish whiskey, the company does have considerable experience with maritime ageing, producing an unusual single-estate, fruity, spicy Cognac called Ile de Ré, which is produced on the Atlantic island of the same name in the most westerly Cognac appellation.
Quantities of Lambay Whiskey, when released into duty-free in October, will be limited as the initial production run was just five casks. Two 40% ABV expressions have been created: a four year-old Small Batch Irish Whiskey Blend and a seven year-old Single Malt, priced at about €25-30 (£23-£27.70) and €45-50 (£41.50-£46) respectively. The blue packaging and puffin logo will stand out on the Irish whiskey shelf, where greens and creams are traditionally chosen for packaging.
As for the liquids, the Lambay Small Batch Irish Whiskey Blend is floral with citrus notes on the nose and delivers cracked black pepper, almonds, floral and Cognac flavours on the palate.Lambay Single Malt has a fruity nose, of bananas and plums, while the palate offers coconut, malt and dried berries. The finish is long, sweet and fruity.
From Ireland we hop over the Irish Sea to Scotland where Highland distillery Glengoyne has finally released a travel-retail exclusive range and fans of sherry cask-matured whiskies are in for treat. Glengoyne have taken over a decade to put together the four new whiskies in the Glengoyne Spirit of Oak Collection and that care and patience when it comes to cask selection really does show in the finished whiskies.
It’s taken a long time for owner Ian Macleod Distillers to develop a travel-retail exclusive range, but it’s worth the wait
The new Spirit of Oak Collection is inspired by the Spanish sherry oak casks used by Glengoyne Distillery and their six-year journey from tree to whisky cask. That journey starts in either the Appalachian Mountains in the US or Northern Spain, before the oak is transported to a cooperage in Jerez, Southern Spain. Each casks holds sherry for three years before it is ready to mature whisky.
Glengoyne Cuartillo and Glengoyne Balbaína, take names from sherry-producing regions within Jerez. Glengoyne Cuartillo offers toffee, apricot and warming spice, and is matured in first-fill American Oak Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 40% ABV. The higher strength 43% ABV Glengoyne Balbaína is a richer dram, matured in first-fill European oak Oloroso sherry casks, and is all caramel, dried apple and spicy cloves.
The third expression, Glengoyne PX, is matured in a mix of European and American oak, and is finished in Ximenez sherry casks to create a rich, intense dram of caramalised sugar, warm spice and a long, lingering finish. It’s bottled at 46% ABV. Finally, the last expression is the wonderful Glengoyne 28 Years Old, an astonishing auburn red in colour. Matured in Oloroso sherry casks, this expression is complex and smooth despite the relatively high bottling strength of 46.8% ABV.
The Glengoyne Spirit of Oak Collection will get its launch at the TFWA World Exhibition in October in Cannes and will be on the duty-free shelves at major airports worldwide. It’s taken a long time for owner Ian Macleod Distillers to develop a travel-retail exclusive range, but it’s worth the wait, as I suspect this carefully curated collection will prove a big success. BEST BUY
Lovers of Islay whisky should seek out this new travel-retail exclusive, cask-strength release from Bunnahabhain. Bunnahabhain An Cladach takes its name from the Gaelic for ‘The Shore’, a reference to Islay’s Bunnahabhain Bay where the distillery is located and joins two existing Bunnahabhain travel exclusives: Eirigh Na Greine and Cruach-Mhòna.
Bottled at 50% ABV and presented in a 1-litre size, Bunnahabhain An Cladach has aromas of caramel and vanilla on the nose, and sweet sherry, spices, nuts and a salty sea spray undertone on the palate. The finish is long and fruity.RECOMMENED
Ballantine’s30 Years Old Cask Edition
Ballantine’s has always been popular in South Korea so it’s no surprise to see this handsome new 30 year-old, cask strength expression, a souped up version of the existing Ballantine’s 30 Years Old, released exclusively into South
Ballantine’s 30 Years Old Cask Edition is described by master blender Sandy Hyslop as delivering “intensified aromas of poached pears, creamy vanilla and heather honey” and a “velvety texture on the palate with sweet flavours of soft peach and fudge”.
Each bottle bears a batch and bottle number and comes packaged in a dark, wooden gift box with embossed detailing.Ballantine’s 30 Years Old Cask Edition will initially be available with Lotte and Shilla Duty Free, the main duty-free retailers at Seoul Incheon airport.
Bunnahabhain An Cladach
Ballantine's 30 Years Old Cask Edition