Irish By Tish Lester / February 19, 2015 It is well known that Ireland has a longstanding whisky tradition. In fact, it is no surprise that Dublin is currently hosting an Irish Whiskey Fest in a weeklong celebration of this cornerstone of Irish culture. What is also common knowledge, though, is that to the rest of the world Irish whiskey offerings can be counted on one hand – and be counted on to be the same, decade after decade. While steady and respectable, there is hardly any room for surprise. Enter Glendalough, who bills it itself as Ireland’s first craft distillery.Founded in 2011 by five friends from Dublin, their mission is no less than to reclaim Ireland’s great distilling heritage, while expanding this island nation’s influence in the worldwide craft distilling revolution. And what an entrance they have made.Being released in timing with the festival, which runs through February 21, is Glendalough’s Single Grain Double Barrel whiskey. Drawing from a fine mash of Irish malted barley and corn, and distilled with mineral-rich mountain spring water, this single grain whiskey was laid in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels for three and a half years. Some distillers would have stopped there, declaring good is good enough. Not Glendalough. The now nicely nosed spirit was then transferred to Oloroso casks for six months to acquire the deep, sweet flavors for which ex-sherry oak is famous.Now, a double barrel treatment has been used by distillers before (Balvenie’s Doublewood offering comes to mind), but it is a rare move, and one unheard of in Irish whiskey tradition. Adding American and Spanish nuances to a Celtic whiskey catapults Glendalough’s new offering straight into the intriguing category. Yes, the Single Grain Double Barrel is a bottling ripe in tradition, and brimming with the promise of future innovations – a decidedly international spirit in an unmistakably Irish whiskey. And all for the very drinkable price of a little over $30 USD. We’ve also been told by a distillery representative it should be available here in the States.Here are some tasting notes for this interesting release courtesy of Glendalough:Nose: slight but undoubtedly rich with dark fruit –cherry, raisin, fig (with Christmas pudding notes on the nose for those lucky enough to know what that is) along with floral lemongrass and a touch of nutmeg.Taste: sweet and creamy on the palate to the front, with butterscotch, honey and peppercorn bring along the sweet bourbon cask notes, after which dried fruit returning maraschino cherries and a pinch of brown sugar.Finish: lingering notes of ginger spices with a faint glimmer of almond to end a complex Irish whiskey from start to finish.