Connacht Batch One represents the first expression bottled by The Connacht Distillery of their own stock of Irish Whiskey. Located along the River Moy in Ballina, County Mayo, the distillery opened in 2015. Built at the site of the old Duffey's Bakery, the distillery produces vodka, gin and whiskey. The distillery takes its name from the central western location in the province of Connacht.
The company's logo is represented by a sea serpent which symbolizes their "metaphorical exploration into unchartered waters". Connacht's range of products includes Straw Boys Vodka & Poitin, Conncullin Gin, & sourced whiskey under the Spade & Bushel and Ballyhoo brand names.
In 2021, Connacht released Batch One, the first whiskey distilled in County Mayo in over 150 years! Batch One packaging contains many significant features to commemorate this special release. The squat bottle contains the distillery's name and logo embossed in the glass. Design features include: natural textured paper label for the rocks and waves of their location, representing the topography of the Atlantic Ocean; Gold foil for the grain, copper stills, and barrel aging; and Kentucky "blue" color label for the bourbon sourced barrels.
This double distilled single malt was bottled at 47% abv after aging in ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry casks for 4 years. When I first tried this upon its release I was impressed with the quality of the spirit particularly given its youthfulness. I remember thinking the depth of flavors exceeded expectations making it one of my favorites of the initial releases from new Irish distilleries.
Trying it again about two years later did not disappoint. Honey and dried fruits on the nose followed by an almost syrupy mouthfeel that coats with vanilla and honey notes. The higher abv provides nice weight. There are no rough edges to this pour but it does have subtle spice in its medium finish. I like how it is very distillate forward allowing the true character to shine unlike other new Irish whiskeys that often mask youth with heavy sherry finishes. Conversely, this single malt does not let the wood cask influences overwhelm. While this release bodes very well for the future, it is ready to enjoy now and does not fall into the category of "give it more time" like some other first expressions.
The additional benefit to Batch One is its availability and affordability. Many new distillery first offerings come with exorbitant price tags and limited edition exclusivity to Ireland only. Connacht Batch One is available via a USA based online store to the vast majority of states. A bottle retails for $60 plus $20 shipping from Washington D.C. Take advantage here.