Sit­u­ated against the back­drop of the ma­jes­tic Su­gar­loaf Moun­tain, and nestling in the beau­ti­ful grounds of the world-fa­mous Powerscourt Es­tate, the brand new Powerscourt Dis­tillery is mak­ing pow­er­ful waves on the Ir­ish Whiskey scene.

Hot Press - - SPONSORED CONTENT - By Peter McNally

MAKE NO MIS­TAKE, Powerscourt Dis­tillery has some­thing spe­cial to of­fer. What im­me­di­ately sets it apart from the many new dis­til­leries open­ing on the is­land is the in­flu­ence of Noel Sweeney. He is, af­ter all, one of only two Ir­ish­men ever to have been in­ducted into the World Whiskey Hall Of Fame.

Be­fore join­ing Powerscourt, Noel spent nearly 30 years as the mas­ter blender and chief dis­tiller at the Coo­ley Dis­tillery. There, he helped to spear­head the global re­vival of Ir­ish whiskey, over­see­ing such suc­cesses as the award-win­ning Kil­beg­gan 15 Year Old, The Con­nemara Peated Sin­gle Malt and the Greenore 15 Year Old.

“It’s al­ways nice to get recog­ni­tion, that’s for sure,” Noel says of his in­duc­tion into the Hall of Fame. “How­ever, hav­ing built a rep­u­ta­tion, now I have to stand by it!”

And right now, that in­volves work­ing flat out to make the Powerscourt Whiskey dream come true. Af­ter a num­ber of years of hard work by the Powerscourt Dis­tillery team, the plant was comis­sioned and dis­till­ing be­gan in June of this year.

The new dis­tillery is set in the faith­fully re­stored Old Mill House, which dates back to the 1730s.

“It’s an ab­so­lutely gor­geous place to work,” Noel says. “When I turn off the M50 in the morn­ing I’m greeted by this beau­ti­ful tree lined av­enue, then you see the wide open es­tate and the golf course ex­tend­ing into the dis­tance as you come past the house to the dis­tillery. Amaz­ing.”

In ad­di­tion to be­ing a pic­turesque place to ply one’s trade, the es­tate of­fers all of the nat­u­ral re­sources nec­es­sary for the pro­duc­tion of whiskey.

“We’re very for­tu­nate to have a great sup­ply of nat­u­ral spring wa­ter from an aquifer lake un­der the Powerscourt es­tate which em­anates from the Powerscourt wa­ter­fall,” Noel mar­vels. “We’re also grow­ing our own bar­ley, so in a mat­ter of years we’ll be largely self-con­tained.”

There is a con­stant buzz of ac­tiv­ity around the dis­tillery now, as work con­tin­ues on the brand new vis­i­tor cen­tre, sched­uled to open early next year.

“Our lo­ca­tion is unique,” Alex Peirce, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Powerscourt Dis­tillery ob­serves. “That is an in­spi­ra­tion in it­self. The lo­cal his­tory, her­itage and nat­u­ral beauty of Powerscourt are all im­por­tant el­e­ments in pro­vid­ing the per­fect plat­form for Noel’s work. And they will also make the vis­i­tor’s cen­tre very spe­cial.”

Noel says that the beauty of the place will lead to fur­ther brand ex­pres­sions.

“I’d love to cre­ate a brand in­spired by the gar­dens,” he ru­mi­nates. “We have ev­ery­thing from re­nais­sance art, stat­ues and foun­tains, to plants and trees, on the es­tate. It is ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

(From the top) The gor­geous am­ber liq­uid; Ir­ish grain is the best; Noel Sweeney tests the bou­quet; Powerscourt… among the fields of bar­ley

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