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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Clontarf - Knappogue

Irish Whiskey Review

Principle Bottlings By Castle Brands

Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey

Clontarf Irish Whiskey Classic Blend

Clontarf Single Malt  Irish Whiskey

Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old  Irish Whiskey

Knappogue 17 Year Old Sherry Finish Malt  Irish Whiskey

1951 Knappogue Castle®  Irish Whiskey

Knappogue Castle® Vintages  1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

Knappogue Castle®  12 year old

Knappogue Castle®  Twin Wood

Knappogue Castle®  Master Distillers private selection


Knappogue  is named after the 15th century castle in County Clare, Ireland bought by Mark Edwin Andrews who restored the castle in the 1960s.  He amassed an impressive and rare collection of pure pot still whiskey  produced at the B. Daly Distillery. When the whiskey reached its peak age, it would be bottled and  named after his beloved Knappogue.


The last of Mr. Andrews' whiskey, Knappogue Castle 1951, is the  oldest and rarest Irish whiskey in the world. It is still available for purchase by special order.


Many years  later, Mark Andrews' son would bring Knappogue 1951 and his father's legacy to the market. From his  father’s passion for pot still whiskey and his mother's commitment to restoring the castle, Mark Andrews III has built Knappogue into a global brand.


Other vintage-dated Knappogue Castle whiskies include  1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995. In 2010 the first Knappogue bottling of the Master Distiller’s  Private Selection 1994 was offered to consumers


Mark Andrews Chairman of the Board


Mark founded Castle Brands in 1998.   In 1980, Mark founded American Exploration Company, an oil and gas exploration company.  He oversaw that company becoming publicly traded in 1983 and served as its chairman and CEO until its merger with Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas Corp. in 1997.


"Since 1998, we have invested over $60 million to develop our operating platform, acquire and grow our portfolio of distinctive premium spirits brands, and build strong US and international routes to market.  We expect to capitalize on this investment in the years ahead."


John Glover Chief Operating Officer


"Castle Brands is committed to developing unique premium brands in growing categories. We have restructured our company to provide an effective platform to deliver this objective."


John Glover was formerly Senior Vice President of Commercial Management at Remy Cointreau USA. Prior to that he was chief marketing officer at Bols and held several senior level positions at International Distillers and Vintners.


Tasting Notes of Dr Barry Walsh Consultant Whiskey Blender

Supplied by Castle Brands


Clontarf Irish Whiskey Classic Blend : Tasting Note


Colour :  Medium gold


Aroma  :   Light and refreshing, honeyed, toasted oak wood, vanilla, pleasing  background maltiness


Taste    :   Mellow and smooth, sweetish/toffee notes, really nice oaky vanilla and malty flavours, a delicate complexity.


Comment :  This mild refreshing blend, with its vanilla/oaky notes and attractive sweetness, is eminently suited for drinking ‘on the rocks’ - poured neat over chunks of ice in a tall glass. Or simply as an anytime drink, neat or with a dash of water or favourite mixer.


Clontarf Single Malt  Irish Whiskey : Tasting Note


Colour :  Pale gold, from maturing in oak wood


Aroma  :   Intense fresh maltiness, lovely complex oaky vanilla notes, toffee/honey, spice and oils


Taste    :   Rich and distinguished  maltiness, full and smooth, complex flavours of  vanilla/toasted wood and honey; fruity, spicy, floral, a slight      interesting dry grassiness.


Comment :  An interesting malt of medium weight, very well aged with resultant rich and complex flavour notes, very smooth and mellow.


(Would be in the Speyside medium weight taste category with reference to Scotch malts)


Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old  Irish Whiskey : Tasting Note


Very good age complexity, good luxurious depth of flavour.


Colour :  Pale gold, no caramel added.


Aroma  :  Medium intensity, round, deep, good age complexity. Toasted wood, vanilla. Citrus and floral notes, honey, some spiciness.Touch of dusty cocoa, dark chocolate.


Taste  :    Malty, fruity, clean, really mellow. Toffee sweetness, dusty dark chocolate some citrus and spice. Toasted wood, vanilla, slight nuttiness, nice perfumey oils. Very good age complexity, good luxurious depth of flavour.      


Finish :  Malty, sweetness, pleasant dark chocolate notes lingering.


Comment :  This 12 Year Old expression of Knappogue Single Malt is closely related to the Knappogue 1995 but is another interesting step forward in the history of this unique Irish malt whiskey. It shares the same Knappogue 1995 characteristics of  lovely clean mellow maltiness aged for many long years in fresh bourbon barrels – but even more so this time, since this most recent vatting is selected from casks aged between 12 and 15 years and is thus even older than heretofore. This extra ageing leads to a greater complexity of flavour and serves to intensify the luxurious taste of this Knappogue single malt in a very pleasing manner.


Knappogue 17 Year Old Sherry Finish Malt  Irish Whiskey


Colour : Medium deep reddish gold


Aroma :  Rich fruity, nutty, malty. Mellow woodiness, slightly peppery, good age complexity. Overall quite intense sherried fruity maltiness.


Taste :  Powerful and complex, round and  mellow sherried fruity maltiness. Dusty dark chocolate and woody vanilla notes, slight peppery     background, some sweetness. Lovely balance of deep aged malty oils and fruity sherry flavours.


Finish :  Sherried fruity maltiness, dusty dark chocolate, some sweetness lingering.


Comment :  After the first sip of the Knappogue 17 y.o. Sherry Finish Malt at full  strength, I felt a bit like a character from Alice’s Wonderland who is confronted with a bottle labelled ‘DRINK ME’ – I was only too happy to oblige! This is a lovely old malt with just the right amount of sweetish sherry flavour complementing the overall stronger whiskey flavours.  


1951 Knappogue Castle®  Irish Whiskey


Brand Credentials: Oldest and rarest Irish whiskey in the world.

Pure pot still whiskey distilled at the B. Daly Distillery in Tullamore in 1951.


Aged for 36 years in sherry casks and bottled in 1987.

Named after the 15th century castle in Western Ireland owned by Mark Edwin Andrews who developed the brand.


Big Booming start rich with notes of soft honey, ripe greengages, clean barley and oats. Sweet, coppery texture in the middle, often attuned to Jamaican pot still. The finish is long and hard, chewy with licorice and hint of chicory.


Serving Suggestions: Best appreciated neat or on the rocks.

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Sizes: 750ml bottle encased in an exquisite wooden chest

Castle Brands Inc.

 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 4700

New York, NY 10168

(800) 882-8140

Castle Brands Whiskey Bottlings



12 Year Old Malt

16 Year Old Malt

17 Year Old Malt

1951 Vintage

1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 vinatges

1994 Master Distillers Ed



Classic Blend

Single Malt


Whiskey Liqueurs

Celtic Honey

Brady’s Irish Cream


Jefferson’s Presidential Collection


Jefferson’s Reserve

Jefferson’s Presidential Select


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