Clonakilty Distillery is unique in several ways. It was founded by the Scully family, who have been farming there for 320 years, and it uses barley grown on the family farm in the shadow of Galley Head lighthouse, as well as that of a few neighbours. “We have sourced a heritage barley not previously grown for 100 years and harvested 40 tonnes this year, and plan to have a signature whiskey exclusively from the family farm. We will have full control from barley to glass,” says Denis O’Flynn of Clonakilty.
The whiskeys are matured or finished in a warehouse on the family farm situated 200m above the Atlantic ocean. It is, they believe, the most southerly maturation warehouse in the country.
Sustainability is key to their philosophy. “We are one of the few distilleries to have Origin Green designation, and are part of CoolClon, the town’s plan to be the first sustainable town in the country.” They will eliminate all plastic this year, use all their own water, and supply all their own electricity.
Their signature will be a single pot still whiskey to be released in 2024. In the meantime, they have the award-winning Double Oak, which is “very much in the traditional Irish whiskey style, with vanilla, apple and warm spices,” says O’Flynn, and the Port Cask Finish with its Christmas fruits. Last year they released Galley Head, a marriage of two oak casks, shaved retoasted wine barrels and Bordeaux red wine barrels.
Clonakilty whiskeys, as well as their gin and vodka (both made from whey produced from their dairy herd), are available through SuperValu, O’Briens and Next Door. The visitor centre in Clonakilty will reopen in early February.