header home Backbar Bar Station Recipe Database Month's Feature "Drink-o-pedia" Mixology Contact

Clontarf Irish Whiskey

Clontarf Irish Whiskey


By Robert Plotkin

While bourbon and Scotch get more press, Irish whiskeys have quietly become the fastest growing, barrel-aged spirit in America. So what's the attraction? It may be no more complicated than Irish whiskeys are exceptionally easy to drink. They're accessible, highly aromatic and loaded with palate pleasing flavors. Equally tempting, years of steadily increasing popularity hasn't significantly driven up their price making them relative bargains. For a category long existing with nary a pulse, these are heady days.

The same can be said for Clontarf Irish Whiskey, a popular favorite among enthusiasts esteemed for delivering huge waves of flavor at a modest price. Produced in the northern county of Dundalk, Clontarf is an exclusive blend of whiskeys triple-distilled from premium grain and local spring water. After distillation, the spirits are mellowed through Irish oak charcoal obtained from the Southwest Atlantic coast before being aged in charred American white oak barrels. The blend is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

Why Clontarf engenders such steadfast loyalty is evident after a few moments alone with a wee dram. The golden/amber whiskey has a full, lushly textured body, and an enticing nose saturated with the aromas of toffee, honey and toasted oak. Its soft refined entry bathes the palate with an extravaganza of flavors, a delicious offering of spice, cocoa, vanilla, caramel and red fruit. The flavors are well balanced and linger throughout the long satisfying finish.

Clontarf is a lot of whiskey for the buck. It enjoys the unsurpassed mixability of bourbon and has the luxurious sipability of Scotch. The whiskey is tailor-made for Manhattans, Old Fashions, and just about any other whiskey-based assignments you can conjure up.

As for the brand name, the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 A.D. is one of the most celebrated events in Irish history. The first High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, saved the realm by defeating hoards of Viking invaders. Fast forward to this millennium. The whiskey commemorating his feat is worthy of its own celebrity status.