POWERSCOURT A NEW ADVENTURE IN IRISH WHISKEY
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.
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