Three innovative whiskeys from Crossgar’s Shortcross

Rademon Estate Distillery in Crossgar, a Food NI member,  has launched three new Irish whiskeys ahead of Whiskey Live in Dublin this weekend.

The new whiskeys were distilled, matured and bottled at the company, which was founded by husband and wife team David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, the first new distillery in Northern Ireland in over 100 years to release its own whiskey.

The first new expression is the Shortcross 7-year-old Cognac and Orange Liqueur Cask Single Malt Irish Whiskey, a whiskey whose journey began in early 2016 when the distillery secured its first batch of peated malted barley. This malted barley was then mashed, brewed and double distilled on the distillery’s copper pot stills.

Rademon is the first distillery in Northern Ireland to produce peated Irish whiskey in over two generations. Director of Distilling and Blending David Boyd-Armstrong describes the journey to get to that point as an adventure.

“When we first approached our malt suppliers with a request for peated malt they each in turn told us that we were crazy, that’s not what you want to be doing, and that no one wants peated or smoky Irish whiskey. Of course, the irony now is that peated or smoky Irish whiskey is one of the hottest areas of the category,” he says.

Distilling the peated malted barley was one thing but then David wanted to use a cask no one had used before in the Irish Whiskey industry

“Speaking to several of the cooperages that we use we told them that we were seeking a cask type that would be distinctive and unique, and while they suggested several different types I noticed something that they hadn’t suggested which was an ex-Cognac & Orange Liqueur Cask. Instinctively, I knew this could work really well, and in my mind, I had this concept of a smoky chocolate orange style whiskey.”

As an industry and category first this truly unique expression is described as having tasting notes of orange blossom, fresh mint and tropical fruits while walking through a summer garden. The palate leads with orange notes, as the malt makes an appearance. Milk chocolate combines with orange and mint, as the smoke shines. Sweet smoke and chocolate orange combine, giving a long rich and oily finish with hints leather coming through.

Limited to less than 1,000 bottles annually this expression is bottled at 70cl / 46%abv. RRP £65.00GBP / €75.00

Launching alongside the above whiskey is a second new expression. The second new Shortcross 5-year-old Distiller’s Duo Irish Whiskey, blends Shortcross Single Malt and Shortcross Single Pot Still Irish whiskey’s together to create a blend that show cases the distillery’s character. The new whiskey has been aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and virgin American Oak (Quercus Alba) casks.

David describes the journey to create this expression “Crafting the Distiller’s Duo has been a real testament to the quality of the Irish Whiskey we produce here at Rademon Estate Distillery.

“We always look to see how we can take our Irish Whiskey and create something truly unique, and by combining our Single Malt and Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey’s together we are able to amplify the favours and aromas of the malt and combine the with the spice and lush mouthfeel of the pot still to create a whiskey that we believe showcases our distillery character in the finest way possible.

“Uniquely this is also the first time that this blend has been created where both whiskey’s have been distilled and matured at the same distillery.”

The Shortcross 5-year-old Distiller’s Duo Irish whiskey tasting notes are described as: “A rich and fruit nose that is reminiscent of caramelised toffee apples, the palate leads with milk chocolate and sweet cereal notes from the malt. Over time these open up to reveal fresh hints of green apple and cola cubes, with a decadent and mouth coating finish with chewy pot still spices and lingering notes of red fruits, linseed and tobacco leaf.

This one is bottled at 70cl / 46%abv. RRP £55.00GBP / €55.00