Kilbeggan Distillery Introduces An Irish Whiskey Containing Rye - The Whiskey Wash

Kilbeggan Distillery Introduces An Irish Whiskey Containing Rye

The Kilbeggan distillery, owned by spirits giant Beam Suntory, is said to be Ireland’s oldest licensed distillery. Founded in 1757, whiskey making here went through many twists and turns over the ensuing centuries, ultimately seeing long term closure in 1953. Work by the community brought distilling back in 2007, and further restoration in 2010 made Kilbeggan once again a fully working distillery. Now a new whiskey influenced by rye grain has emerged here, being a noteworthy expression for a few reasons.

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, as this new Irish whiskey is known as, represents the first whiskey 100% distilled and matured at the distillery since its full restoration was completed. It features a mash of malt, barley and approximately 30% rye, bringing it in line with an Irish whiskey style from the late 1800s that made use of rye in the mash bill. This style is said to have pretty much disappeared from the regional category by the time of Prohibition and the Irish War of Independence.

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye (image via Beam Suntory)

“Following the restoration of the Kilbeggan Distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland, our team was inspired to create this remarkable whiskey rooted in Irish distilling heritage,” said John Cashman, Beam Suntory Global Brand Ambassador, Irish Whiskey, in a prepared statement. “It is a truly unique spirit, featuring a rare mash that has produced a flavor unlike anything available today.”

This new rye style whiskey is double distilled to 86 proof in Kilbeggan’s copper pot stills, one of which is said to be the oldest working whiskey pot still in the world today. It is set be released as a limited edition offering that prices around $35 for a 750 ml bottle. You’ll find some official tasting notes for it below from Beam Suntory for your consideration.

  • Aroma: Soft green fruits combine with a rich creamy aroma and give way to white pepper, citrus, and soft ginger spices.
  • Taste: Beautiful warming mouthfeel of textured vanilla cream, floral spice, clove, and forest sorrel, building to a crescendo of warm spice and biscuit dryness.
  • Finish: Immensely long and nuanced, thick buttery coating with a return to the vanilla and a spicy, oily coating that remains long after the finish.
About the author

Nino Marchetti

Nino Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.