IWSA Powerscourt Distillery Cask
The Irish Whiskey Society America acquired its first IWSA cask from the Powerscourt Distillery in County Wicklow. The ex-Bourbon cask was filled with triple distilled single malt on January 16, 2019 at 64.1% abv. It was the first cask filled in 2019 as part of the distillery's Cask Membership Programme. Having aged for greater than three years at this point, it is officially whiskey; however, it must be aged for a minimum ten years as part of the cask program. If bottled at 10 years at 46% abv it should yield ~300 bottles.
The Powerscourt Distillery opened in 2018 on the Powerscourt Estate. Located approximately 30 minutes south of Dublin city, the estate has a long history and is one of the top tourist attractions in Ireland. The Powerscourt Gardens were voted the 3rd best in the world by National Geographic and span 47 acres. The estate also houses a luxurious hotel and golf course.
The distillery officially opened in December 2018. Built in a pre-existing building that formerly housed a saw mill, the build-out and renovations took a year and produced a beautiful facility. Well water from the estate grounds is used for distilling the spirit and cutting the whiskey. An on-site warehouse adjacent to the distillery ages all of the newly filled casks as well as those purchased from Cooley. We were on-site during the construction phase and initial promoters of the fledging distillery.
Noel Sweeney, Master Distiller, created the spirit currently aging in the IWSA cask. Noel has the distinction of being one of only two Irish distillers inducted into Whisky Magazine's Hall of Fame. Noel has over thirty years industry experience and been named distiller of the year several times. He was the original distiller at Cooley Distillery before its sale to Beam in 2011.
During 2019-2022, Powerscourt Distillery has released a core range of Irish whiskies under the Fercullen brand name. Fercullen is Gaelic for "Men of the Hills" and named in reference to the distillery's location at the foothold of the Wicklow Mountains. The Fercullen range consists of a non-age statement premium blend (~8yrs), a 10 year single grain, and a 14 year single malt. All of these expressions were sourced from Cooley Distillery and produced by Noel Sweeney during his tenure. Additional bottlings of 18 year and 20 year single malts have also been released under Noel's supervision. Starting September 2022, the distillery will release Fercullen Falls, their first bottling using whiskey distilled at Powerscourt. The name refers to the Powerscourt waterfall, the second highest in all of Ireland.
IWSA members can avail themselves of all that the Powerscourt Estate offers while they wait for the cask to be bottled. Members are encouraged to visit and see the cask while touring the distillery. IWSA member group trips will be made in the coming years to further enjoy the cask programme experience. As we get closer to 2029, more information on plans and IWSA member bottle availability will be provided.