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Knappogue Single Malt

Knappogue Castle
Single Malt 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. They're accessible, highly aromatic, and loaded with palate pleasing flavors. In addition, years of steadily increasing popularity have not significantly driven up their price, thus keeping them relative bargains. Among the brands fanning the category's popularity is the 1995 vintage of Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

Produced at the famed Bushmills Distillery in the heart of County Antrim, the Knappogue Castle Single Malt is triple-distilled in small batches using both malted and unmalted barley. The malt used in the distillation is dried in closed kilns, rather than over peat fires as is the traditional practice in Scotland. The malt whiskies selected for this prestigious bottling are aged in white oak ex-bourbon barrels until the master distiller has determined they have reached their fullest potential.

The '95 vintage of the Knappogue (pronounced nah-POGE) Castle is an exceptional single malt whiskey, which deserves the many accolades it has received. Unlike many Scotch malts, this eminently drinkable whiskey isn't dominated by a smoky, peaty character. It has an alluring bouquet with fresh notes of grain and herbs. On the palate, the lightweight, silky textured whiskey delivers a skillfully balanced offering of delightfully sweet cocoa, spice, and caramel flavors. The finish is long and relaxed with a slightly sweet flavor.

Knappogue Castle is an affordable slice of luxury, a noble malt whiskey equally at home served neat in a snifter or mixed in a cocktail. The 1996 vintage promises to be as good if not better.