Core to what we are all about is innovation and pushing the boundaries of what people expect from Irish whiskey. Over recent years we have become known for our maturation experimentation through the use of marrying techniques to using unique barrels (Calvados, Sauternes, Carcavelos White Port etc) never used before for Irish whiskey. However we have had to wait until we are back in production to really be able to try new and unique distilling techniques out. Now we have our distillery in Newmarket working well and we have laid down significant quantities of new make Pot Still, Single Malt and Peated Single Malt we are now able to focus on further innovations.
Our maturation warehouse – a large part of our innovation to date.
There has been plenty of recent talk about the impact different strains of barley may have on the resulting spirit produced but something which has been neglected in our opinion has been the impact of different malting techniques to produce a different raw material to make our whiskey from.
Alex Chasko, Master Distiller.
Our interest has led to a new distilling programme for the next few months based around experimental mash bills with barley that has been malted in various different ways. The first one up is Crystal Malt.
So what is Crystal Malt and why are we using it?
“Crystal Malt” was given the name because of the small crystals that form inside the barleys husk during the malting process. The difference to normal Malted Barley is that at the end of the malting process the barley is basically stewed in hot water causing the sugars to form a rock hard crystal. These crystals are packed full of rich fruity toffee aromas because they are basically “rock candies” as Alex our Master Distiller would say.
Given these sugars are non-fermentable (i.e. we can’t get alcohol out of them) and are used mainly to added extra flavour we are using only a percentage of them in our new Crystal Malt mash bill but it has really changed the smell around Newmarket to a rich notes of toffee and caramel along with a much darker wash being created.
We have just distilled our first batch of Crystal Malt Spirit and we are excited by the difference properties coming through with a much more green skin fruit nearly melon like taste profile backed up with rich toffee like sweetness. This spirit is ear marked to be fully matured in some new PX Sherry casks we have taken delivery of so we will be watching with interest how this unique spirit matures over the next few years.
Watch this space as we will be focusing more on what we are doing and in particular doing different in our distillery over the next few months.