Clonakilty Launches Galley Head Single Malt Irish Whiskey

By Gary Carter / November 15, 2021

Irish whiskey brand Clonakilty recently launched their new single malt Galley Head, an expression they say represents a departure for the brand looking to create a whiskey accessible in terms of price but with the quality and finish consumers expect.

Matured and finished at their Atlantic Ocean warehouse, the Galley Head Single Malt is a marriage of a re-shaved, re-toasted wine cask and Bordeaux red wine casks. Clonakilty distillers say the casks impart aromas of cocoa and rich fruits with the flavors of dark chocolate, red berries and licorice with a long finish of oak spices.

Clonakilty looks to this new release to provide a foundation to grow their brand, in addition to attracting a range of new customers seeking to broaden their whiskey horizons.

Galley Head Single Malt

Galley Head Single Malt (image via Clonakilty)

A recent report published by the Irish Whiskey Association showed that 96 percent of Irish whiskey sales in recent history have been to markets outside of Ireland, and, pre-pandemic, exports were worth an estimated €890m across both the Republic and Northern Ireland.

The IWA report also stated 2020 sales for whiskey still exceeded expectations but suffered a decline largely due to a collapse of Irish whiskey sales in global travel retail as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With international travel markets slowly reopening, it’s expected that both sales and demand will return to pre-2020 levels.

Paul Corbett, head distiller at Clonakilty Distillery, said in a prepared statement they decided on single malt to produce a full-flavored, barley-forward whiskey. “We finished this single malt in two cask types, a re-shaved, re-toasted wine cask and a freshly disgorged Bordeaux red wine casks. The rejuvenated wood imparts a caramel sweetness and complex spice to the whiskey while the fresh wine casks add a fruitiness that complements the cereal character of the malt.”

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The whiskey gets its name from the Galley Head Lighthouse, which stands guard over the barley fields at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse, built in 1875, rises 53 meters above the crashing waves of the Atlantic, just outside of Clonakilty town.

The lighthouse is situated across the bay and can be seen from the warehouse where Galley Head whiskey is matured, finished, and bottled.

Clonakilty’s Galley Head expression is available in Ireland for €39.50. Clocking in at 80 proof, the 700ml bottle can also be purchased online at www.clonakiltydistillery.ie.