Situated on the banks of the River Brosna in County Westmeath, Ireland, Kilbeggan Distillery dates back to 1757 and is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. Now owned by Beam Suntory, the small pot still distillery was originally constructed for its access to grain, peat and the waters of the river, which it still uses today as its water source. Kilbeggan is named after St Bécán, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland who founded a monastery in the area in the 6th century.
Under various owners the distillery remained functional until 19 March 1954, when production sadly ceased and the site was closed completely in 1957. It took twenty five years for activity to return the building, when the community of Kilbeggan restored the distillery through a labour of love which saved the site of disrepair. They preserved almost all of the old distillery equipment and maintained the distilling license, and soon Kilbeggan Distillery was able to be opened to the public as a whiskey distillery museum.
Whiskey production finally returned to the site in 2007, the year in which the distillery celebrated its 250th Anniversary, when Cooley Distillery bought the license, took over the museum and opened a new working distillery. A copper pot still made in the early 1800 was lovingly refurbished and put back to use on 19th March 2007, 54 years to the day when distilling had last taken place in Kilbeggan, making it the oldest working pot still producing whiskey in the world today.
Nose: Smooth and gentle with nut oils, hazelnut and barley, cereal sweetness and a little peat.
Palate: The palate is of good body with honeyed sweetness and malt.
Finish: The finish is short with oaked dryness.