Amber Beverage Group’s (ABG) whisky division, Walsh Whiskey, has released a preview of The Irishman® – Legacy, a historic expression commemorating the 700th anniversary of the world’s first written account of the distillation of aqua vitae (an early term for whiskey). The Irishman – Legacy, is a single malt expression, initially matured in bourbon and sherry casks before being finished for 15 months in Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine casks from the renowned winemaker – Château La Nerthe.
The casks were hand-picked in April 2022 at the Château by Walsh Whiskey Founder and Managing Director, Bernard Walsh, and members of The Kilkenny Whiskey Guild. The Irishman - Legacy is non-chill filtered and bottled at an ABV of 46%. Retailing at €75, the preview release of The Irishman – Legacy is currently exclusively available through the 10 member establishments of The Kilkenny Whiskey Guild and The Loop at Dublin Airport. A wider international release will take place in 2024, the 700th anniversary of The Red Book of Ossory, which contains the world’s first written account of the distillation of aqua vitae, which became known as whiskey.
The preview release of The Irishman – Legacy was launched on the 28th November, at a special commemorative event for 150 special guests from the Irish whiskey sector and representatives from the greater Carlow/Kilkenny community in St. Canice’s Cathedral, where The Red Book of Ossory will be located for the 2024 anniversary. The gathering was addressed by Bernard Walsh, Eddie Langton from the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild, and the historian Turtle Bunbury.
Speaking at the launch, Bernard Walsh, the Founder and Managing Director of Walsh Whiskey, said: “We are very proud to partner with the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild to launch this exquisite, limited edition from The Irishman in honour of 700 years of whiskey distilling history. Our ethos for The Irishman is ‘Learn from the past. Create the future’, so we have created this Legacy edition as both a celebration of how far our industry has come and our excitement for our future within it. As the home of The Red Book of Ossory, with Walsh Whiskey as creators of The Irishman located nearby, it is only right that we share this first with the people of Kilkenny before sharing it with the world through our global release in 2024.”
Co-Chairperson of the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild, Eddie Langton, said: “We are delighted to have worked on the development of The Irishman – Legacy with Bernard and all at Walsh Whiskey from the start. This included visiting Chateau La Nerthe in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and sampling the whiskey as it aged through the finishing process.”
His colleague and Co-Chairperson, Jim Rafferty, said: “The Irishman – Legacy honours Kilkenny’s wonderful 700-year history with distillation and our commitment to excellence in helping visitors to our city explore what Irish whiskey has to offer. Fittingly, until it is released globally, the only places this unique whiskey will be poured for the public is in the 10 establishments of the Guild.”
Both Kilkenny and Châteauneuf-du-Pape have historic ties to Avignon in France, which replaced Rome as the home to Catholic Popes in the 1300s. This led to the naming of the nearby town as ‘Châteauneuf-du-Pape’, or The Pope’s new castle. Each Pope assigned bishops to different dioceses across the Catholic world, including the assignment of Richard Ledred to the diocese of Ossory in Kilkenny in 1317.
The Irishman – Legacy honours the 700th anniversary of The Red Book of Ossory, which was written mainly by Bishop Ledred near the home of The Irishman. The first written account of the distillation of aqua vitae (‘the water of life’ or whiskey) is detailed across three and a half pages of handwritten Latin text.
Nose – A luscious bouquet of red and black fruits. All cherry and blackberry. Hints of oak and leather too. Subtle but making themselves known among the fruitiness.
Taste – An earthiness that invites exploration. Elegant Peach sweetness on the palette. Hints of chocolate, creamy mouth feel, a twist of bay leaf.
Finish – Like a warm Provence sunset. One to savour.