THE WHISKY DIARIES: Slane Distillery
Making history at Slane Distillery.
Found 45 minutes north out of Dublin in Slane, Ireland, Slane Distillery is more than a traditional whisky house producing some of the finest liquor known on an international level. Sitting on an 1500 acre estate, Slane is described as a distillery, a castle and a haven for some of the most renowned artists topping the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame all mixed together to make a concoction of one of the world’s finest distilleries.
Residing in north of Ireland in County Meath, Slane Castle’s surrounding history dates back far beyond its establishment in 1780. The region itself has a broad collection of Neolithic monuments and burial sites that sit along lush paddocks and use the River Boyne as their backbone. Founders and Owners of both Slane Castle and Slane Castle Irish Whiskey, the Conyngham family, have operated the family business since its mere beginnings.
Nowadays, the Conynghams have formed a recent partnership with Brown-Forman who is considered a forefather or pioneer of the whiskey industry since 1870. Known widely for American whiskeys and other international favourites including Tequila Herradura, Finlandia Vodka,Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels to name a few.
Together the Conynghams and Brown-Forman launched Slane Irish Whiskey which later became acquired by Brown-Forman in 2016 to be known as Slane Castle Irish Whiskey Company. Despite the hand over, father and son duo, Henry and Alex Conyngham, still play major roles in the brand including working as day-to-day ambassadors.
Today, more than ever, Irish whiskey is one of the fastest growing and sought after liquors in the global whiskey sector. Of course, whiskey making like-mindedness, barrel expertise and an overall easy-to-drink experience are the forefront ingredients partnered for success.
Distinguishing Slane Irish Whiskeys from others on the market is rather easy after learning and tasting their charismatic product. Using a distinct Triple Casked process of maturation allows the whisky to almost ferment into a more complex, robust flavour with a warm and almost dried fruit after taste. Despite its deep spice enticed taste, Slane Irish Whiskey has a surprising smooth and relaxing feel to each sip – drinkers will be able to point out the various layers of caramel, vanilla and butterscotch on the palate.
Creating this flavourful Irish whiskey is accredited by its surrounding region, the finest produce and the inspiration from Slane’s showcase of historical architecture.
The whiskey makers are of course an important attribute in the process. Alex Conyngham works alongside Steve Hughes and Chris Morris who have a staggering 60 years of whiskey making expertise. Using quality aged Irish grain and malt whiskey from Irish producers, they are placed into three different cask types for maturation. Firstly, virgin American oak casks create a heavy toast and medium char. From there, a portion is placed into Oloroso sherry casks sourced from Spain and finally the remainder is matured in seasoned American whiskey barrels.
Slane’s art of barrel maturation creates the desired “proprietary” taste profile – a distinguished taste we all love.
Of course, Slane’s relationships with the Irish Whiskey Community, partnerships with local producers and Alex’s role as the Founding Member of the Irish Whiskey Association all play a part in distinguishing Slane Irish Whiskey from others.
In the future, Slane will be distilling their own recipe of grain and malted whiskey at the estate. Still using their special triple cask process, the result will continue to be an easy to drink, robust and immersive Irish whiskey.
Having hosted the likes of King George IV and various prominent historical guests, Slane Castle is also a haven for live music enthusiasts with an impressive lineup history including Queen, David Bowie, Guns n’ Roses, The Verve, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Madonna and even Eminem.
Slane Irish Whiskey pays homage to the village and its iconic name by saying, “the whiskey is a true testament to the people of Slane, to our vibrant and resilient community, and to all those who take pride in working together to build a progressive legacy.”
Colour – a warm, golden topaz with hues of rich toffee
Nose – radiant fruit with drizzles of caramel, butterscotch and vanilla. A prominent brown spice and toasted oak aroma.
Taste – Spicy on the palate at first but ends in a sweetened, rich caramel, vanilla and butterscotch after taste with a sensation of dried fruit.
Finish – lingering hints of dried fruit and caramelised sugar.