July 17, 2019 Comments (0) Views: 868 Good Drinks

Kinahans New Old Irish Whiskey

Lewis Johnstone tells Malcolm Jolley about the rebirth of Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey…

Lewis Johnstone was in town recently to shepherd the July 6th LCBO Vintages launch of Kinahan’s Small Batch Irish Whiskey (LCBO# 481259 – $59.95 750ml). Johnstone is a drinks business veteran and the title on his business card reads ‘The Supreme Commander for Foreign Markets’, which I take to mean as a colourful way of writing export manager. Or maybe just sales manager as Kinahan’s is an Irish whiskey that isn’t for sale in Ireland. That’s just one of the quirks of the fine whiskey producer that makes it a little different from most. Another is that it is both hundreds of years old, and one of Ireland’s oldest proper whiskey makers, founded in 1779, while also being one of Ireland’s newest whiskey makers, reborn just a few years ago, with a streamlined employee roster of exactly three. Other than Johnstone, Kinahan’s employees include its Master of Wood and Liquid Innovation, Quinzil du Plessis (who may also be a master blender) and its Custodian, Zak Oganian, who may also be the man who salvaged the brand, that had gone dormant in the 1980’s, and had the vision to make it once more a ‘Pioneer of Irish Whiskey’.

As you will see in the video interview below, Johnstone came GFR’s Summerhill campus with a few samples to taste. Naturally, we tried the Small Batch, which is a fruity and smooth sipper with a touch of honey on its long finish. It’s blended from whiskeys aged in Bourbon barrels for between 6-10 years. We also tried the 10 Year Old, which echoed the Small Batch but with a spicier edge. The uper weird and wonderful Kasc, which is made from a barrel assembled by their Portugese cooperage with varying staves of five different types of wood. And one of their Special Release Projects whiskeys, aged in an old Amarone barrel, which had a distinct cherry note. Johnstone hopes to bring some of these wilder whiskeys to Ontario soon…

Please note email versions of this post will not display the embedded video. Please click here to see it at GFR.

Kinnhan’s has an excellent website that goes into minute detail on how they make their innovative whiskeys, which I recommend if this has piqued your interest: kinnahans.com.

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