Ireland’s Boann Distillery Revives Decades Old Whiskey Recipes For New Cask Series

By Robert Ham / March 3, 2021

Ireland’s Boann Distillery and Irish whiskey historian Fionnán O’Connor recently teamed up to revive some vintage Irish whiskey recipes, some of which are as old as 300 years.

As part of his PhD thesis “The History and Culinary Potential of Lost Irish Mash Bills,” O’Connor unearthed a collection of mashbills in archives found in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The mashbills are now being recreated by Boann, with each one being distilled separately; casked in either bourbon, rum, sherry, or ex-red wine barrels (otherwise known as NEOC); and aged for five years. The distillery will only be producing 144 casks for public consumption.

Boann distillery vintage

Irish whiskey historian Fionnán O’Connor amongst the Boann vintage barrels (image via Boann)

“The bulk of these mashbills haven’t been tasted in over 70 years and the earliest ones I’ve found come from the early 1800s,” O’Connor said in a prepared statement. “It would be a shame if all that history and those flavours were lost. This project has been about making up for lost time.”

The project will soon include a tasting of the various mashbills by representatives from the Irish whiskey industry, including some researchers from Scotland chosen in association with the brewing and distilling program at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. From there, Boann will offer up samples for consumers to taste in hopes of inspiring them to purchase their own Vintage Mash Bill cask.

Boann seemingly found the perfect partner for this project. In addition to his research work, O’Connor has become a renowned expert on pot still whiskey. His 2015 book A Glass Apart has been deemed the definitive guide to Irish pot still whiskey, and he works frequently with other distilleries on historic mashbills.