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Cognac Cask Finish with Irish Malts

Here at Clonakilty Distillery we are always looking to innovate on small batches of premium sensory whiskeys. This is why we were delighted when Irish Malts reached out once again to partner for an exclusive release — a Single Cask Cognac Finished Whiskey, bottled at Cask Strength.

As always we turned to our Head Distiller, Paul Corbett to give us an insight into this exciting new collaboration.

Q: Why did you decide to make this whiskey?

Paul: Irish Malts approached us to do a cask strength whiskey for them. Personally I think our cognac finish whiskey we have for our shop exclusive, is really impressive so I was happy to try and make a more intense ramped up version of a single cask strength for Irish Malts.

Q: How does having the whiskey matured at a maritime climate make a difference to the whiskey?

Paul: With our warehouse it has it’s own micro-climate out there, it’s very humid which means it’s got a very even slow maturation. So when the casks are breathing in and out it’s not rapid, it’s even-paced and also out there, there’s a real ocean wind blowing the whole time. Sometimes it can even be difficult to stand out there, you can even feel the salt on your face in the wind, which permeates through our warehouse.
We have a lot of ventilation in the warehouse to leave that sea air in, which lands on the casks. The casks are permeable so it soaks into the casks and gives the whiskey a slight ocean salinity taste.

Q: Does that make the whiskey saltier?

Paul: Very slightly, the influence will be greater over time, these casks were filled two years ago so the influence is there but it’s muted.

Q: How old are the barrels the whiskey is in?

Paul: The casks are 22 months old, but the whiskey is a 2010 grain and 2008 malt. It’s a non-age statement whiskey.
It is a 60% malt, which would be a high percentage of really good malt that we use. We decided to blend it because the 2010 grain we have is really nice and I think grain whiskey does leave the finish of a cognac shine through more, so it helps bring out the cognac flavours in the cask.

Q: Why wait until now to bottle the whiskey, why not wait longer?

Paul: When doing finishes I want the cognac to be the icing on the cake, I don’t want the cognac flavour to be overpowering I want the flavour to compliment the whiskey.
I personally think there is such a thing as over finishing a whiskey. I feel right at this moment now there is a perfect blend of cognac flavour to bring out the subtleties of the whiskey.

This cognac cask has a special place in my heart as it is the very first blend we did in our Atlantic Ocean warehouse. This cask would have been filled on the very first day of our warehouse being opened, so it has great memories of a very special day.

About the Whiskey

On Sale: www.irishMalts.com
Price: €89.00

Limited Release: 265 bottles in total.

Tasting notes:
Nose:
 Hot Chocolate, Nutella, coconut, and rich leather scent.
Palette: Chocolate, cherries, dried fruits, honey, leather.
Finish: Long and intense, leather, dried dark fruits, oak spice, chewy toffee, and caramel.

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This post originally appeared on Medium on 24/09/2020

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