$$ — 40% ABV — 12 years
A connoisseur of the best Irish distillates Knappogue Castle is known to bring to market vintage bottlings of both Bushmills and Cooley distilleries, while often ensuring they can slap "Single Malt" on the front of their bottles. Knappogue is a Scotch-killer.
But just a sip shows clearly what a difference the North Channel makes. Knappogue is likely one of the nuttiest of whiskies available at market. Oven-dried (that is, not in the slightest smoked) and triple-distilled, this is a spirit that has lots of light and lovely flavors that go easy with lemon or apricot or a little sugar. It's no wonder then that Knappogue has found favor in New York and Boston, not unlike many Irish peoples before it.
Being a producer, not a distiller, Knappogue Castle's brands are changing often — if slightly. Their 14-year whisky is noticeably stronger at 46% and non chill filtered. But older expressions at 16 years and higher are as mellow as their 12.
The Irish distilling trade continues to slowly rebuild itself, welcome news for Knappogue, even as there will be more competition. It's a rising tide that will float all boats — and Knappogue's commitment to the pillars of good whiskey will keep them among the highest.