Manage episode 352598279 series 2542864
We sit down with James Doherty, Founder of Sliabh Liag Distillers (pronounced “sleeve league”) to discuss their portfolio of Silkie Irish Whiskey which recently launched in the United States. We discuss the unique features of Irish Whiskey as well as the various offerings from Sliabh Liag. Find out what makes their whiskies stand out in a market that is seeing explosive growth for Irish Whiskey.
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About Sliabh Liag Distillers
Bringing the almost-forgotten smoky style of Irish whiskey back into the consciousness and repertoire of discerning premium spirits drinkers is the collection of Silkie whiskeys. Each blended to an exacting standard by Sliabh Liag Distillers founder, James Doherty, the core range of three whiskies – The Legendary Silkie, The Legendary Dark Silkie and Midnight Silkie – take drinkers on a journey through the rich, surprising rewards of whiskies with a varying degree of smoky character.
James’s childhood holidays in Donegal nurtured a love for the folk tales of the Sliabh Liag peninsula and more importantly a dream for the future possibilities of reclaiming Donegal’s distilling heritage; this is the driving passion behind James and Moira Doherty’s return to Donegal to establish Sliabh Liag Distillers. The Silkie range – named after the mermaids who would come ashore, shedding their seal- like coat to become beautiful dark haired maidens and steal the hearts of local fishermen – is the first product launched by the business.
Founder of Sliabh Liag Distillers, James Doherty, says the inspiration for the collection of Silkie whiskeys comes from memories of those early years in Donegal: “In the mornings, I would head down to the kitchen, where beside the stove, grandad’s pipe would be sitting from the night before. Grandad was a wonderful man, tall, strong, hard-working, and generous, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Eleven-year-old me would tug on his pipe and I can viscerally remember the sweet tobacco, smoky and ashy aroma. It seemed to compliment the smell of the stove, the peat and my gran’s baking. Although it’s a morning moment, the whiskey is the taste of the night before”.
Once he has this taste in his mind’s eye, the sense of place for James is richer than the lighter Irish whiskey style prevalent today. His aim is to create a style that harks back to a richer era in Irish whiskey, pre-prohibition, and for which Donegal’s distillers were famed.
James continued: “I look for balance in the structure of that taste in the whiskeys available to me. One building block of Dark Silkie is intense sweetness - Grain Whiskey virgin oak provides a rounded sweetness, caramel toffee; it feels rich, luxurious, generous, and safe, and captures the innocence of that version of me. It also brings a degree of tannin to the whiskey. Another is smoky, ashy; triple distilled peated malt provides the pipe aromas, an earthy smoky note that we can get to play off the sweetness of the grain. Accents include aromatic dryness. To balance the intense sweet grain I choose the aromatic freshness of a double distilled single malt in sherry, more estery and zesty to cut into the sweetness in the final blend, all of which creates a maritime herbal quality that is almost salty”.