Knappogue Castle whiskey was the brainchild of Mark Erwin, an Irish American returning to the land of his ancestors who set up home at Knappogue Castle, Co. Clare. A lover of Irish whiskey, he managed to secure the final casks of the Tullamore Distillery when it closed in 1954. Waiting in cask for 36 years, this stock was released in 1987 and became on the rarest and most-sought after Irish whiskeys.
Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible described it thusly:
“Very rich from the off: attractively oily and mouthwatering, immediately showing an unmalted pedigree to the clean barley and perhaps a hint of oats. However, to the middle, there is a sweet, coppery, estery texture more attuned to Jamaican pot still.
Finish: Long, quite hard and brittle—as one would hope from a whiskey of this genre—and some of the deeper vanillas one might expect to find in an old bourbon. Chewy, with licorice and a hint of chicory. It is that estery, vaguely honeyed, oily copper pot rum that hangs on the longest. A highly individualistic whiskey that refuses to take prisoners. Another year in the cask might have tipped this over the top. We are talking brinkmanship here, with a truly awesome display of flavor profiles ranging from traditional Irish pot still to bourbon via old Jamaican pot still rum. A whiskey of mind-boggling duplicity, tricking the taste buds into reading one thing after another and then moving off on a different tangent altogether. About as complex and beguiling as straight Irish whiskey ever gets. Astonishing and truly a thing of beauty.”