Showing posts with label Wayward Irish Spirits.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wayward Irish Spirits.. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Wayward Irish Spirits Proudly Unveils the Coming of Age Release of the Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey

Wayward Irish Spirits Proudly Unveils the Coming of Age Release of the Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey

Wayward Irish Spirits are proud to release the Lakeview Single Estate Irish Whiskey. This first Single Pot Still Whiskey from the Lakeview Estate Barley showcases the special maturation conditions on their Estate and captures the spirit of the land, their family home of 900 years. The Coming of Age Release is limited to just 300 numbered bottles.

Made from barley harvested from the Estate’s Hilly Field in 2018, this was small-batch malted in Naas and distilled in March 2019 by Great Northern Distillery into Pot Still spirit (to their 50% malted / 50% unmalted barley mash bill and specification). It then returned to the Estate’s 300 year old stone bonded Storehouse, ‘The House of Contentment’.

Matured initially in ex-Bourbon casks for 3 months, then a further 40 months in ex-Premier Cru Bordeaux NEOC barrels with 10% finished in ex-peated casks for 3 months. The Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey was gently cut (borrowing from Cognac traditions) over 6 months to ensure integration and smoothness, with no colour added and minimally filtered (no chill filter).

Tasting notes: Expect cherries on the nose, a rich honeyed taste with a hint of smoke and a long finish.

Maurice O’Connell, Founder of Wayward Irish Spirits, says:
“Rapid maturation is a sort of Holy Grail for Whiskey makers. In Killarney we say we have 4 seasons in an hour – resulting in lots of daily variations in temperature, causing the Whiskey to move in and out of the wood, the basis of maturation. We’ve been measuring temperature and humidity in our Storehouse for the last 4 years and this has shown we have a longer ‘maturation season’ (>7C, where the Whiskey interacts with the cask) of 101⁄2 months a year, compared to the East coast where most Irish Whiskey is matured. Speyside, for comparison, has 6 months.”

“We have long believed that our microclimate should enhance maturation and we now have liquid proof of this with a Whiskey which many are saying tastes well beyond its 31⁄2 year age. We’re calling this effect ‘Maturation Terroir’ and we hope our Coming of Age Release will start a conversation on the importance of where a spirit is stored to its maturation. We think this is a specific regional effect and we look forward to seeing whether our local peers in Killarney get similar results.”

Maurice continues: “It’s been really important to us to use our own barley – as well as showcasing this land we love, this provenance gives us an undeniable authenticity. We’re one of very few Single Estate Whiskeys in Ireland, where the barley is grown and the Whiskey matured in the one place. Pot Still is Ireland’s heritage Whiskey style so it feels right to be producing it from our heritage estate here in Killarney.”

The design for the bottle draws inspiration from a family treasure, a large bottle of D’Orsay perfume that was a wedding gift to Maurice’s grandmother in 1921. The bottle became a much talked about family challenge and thwarted numerous attempts to be opened over the last 100 years.

Blended and bottled on the Estate at 46% ABV, just 300 numbered bottles of the Lakeview Single Estate Irish Whiskey Coming of Age Release are available from Celtic Whiskey Dublin, James Fox Dublin, Carry Out Killarney and Irish Malts. RRP is €195 with a 40ml miniature bottle included.


Wayward Irish Spirits is a family-owned Irish Whiskey company based at the stunning Lakeview Estate, Killarney, County Kerry. It reconnects the founder, Maurice O’Connell, with his family’s roots of supplying spirits to the gentry of Kerry. As early as 1450 the O’Connells were based at Ballycarbery Castle near Caherciveen, importing wines and brandies from Spain. The imposition of excise duty in 1661 rendered this business taxable but didn’t stop them and they moved up the coast to Derrynane and grew the business there. By 1820, Maurice ‘Hunting Cap’ O’Connell had a fleet of 8 ships smuggling luxury items in and shipping out salt, hides and young men seeking to escape the oppression of Catholics in their homeland.

The name Wayward derives from the insult levelled at Daniel O’Connell by the British Prime Minister, Robert Peel, who called him ‘that wayward Irishman’ (Dan meanwhile referred to him as ‘orange Peel’ so maybe it was deserved). The family own the insult with pride. Maurice adds “My forebear Daniel O’Connell’s independent spirit and sometimes wayward approach inspires our determination to craft our Whiskey our way.”

For their Liberator range of Whiskeys, they commission young spirit from the best Irish distilleries to add to a growing library of flavours and styles. They mature the spirit further then finish, blend and bottle on the Estate in their 300-year-old stone Bonded Storehouse, ‘The House of Contentment’. 

The influence on maturation of the famously changeable Kerry lakeside micro-climate, their selection of the finest and freshest casks for finishing (each connecting with a part of their long family history) and skilled blending all contribute to the flavour, complexity and originality they bring to their Whiskey making. 

Maurice comments “With much of the Whiskey world historically fixated on Single Malts, we are determined to showcase through The Liberator range the benefits of blending from a range of exciting new Irish distilleries. It’s like comparing a single finely tuned instrument and an orchestra – different but both can be wonderful”.

The Liberator Irish Whiskey celebrates the legacy of Maurice’s forbear, Daniel O’Connell, born in Kerry in 1775. The original campaigner for civil rights, heedless of race, gender or creed and often hailed as the greatest ever Irishman. With powerful oratory and insistence on peaceful protest only he mobilised millions to ensure Irish voices were heard for the first time.

Alongside their Liberator range, since 2018 they’ve been growing barley for their Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey which returns to the Estate for maturation. It’s very rare in Irish Whiskey for growing and maturation to take place together but the company believes that this is the only way to showcase the effects of their special terroir – the spirit of their land.

See more about their story on


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Wayward Irish Spirits Content On Shores Of Lough Leane. Cheers To The Liberator

Wayward Irish Spirits Content On Shores Of Lough Leane.

Cheers To The Liberator

We enter a locked door to a group of old farm buildings. Chinese characters over the door catch my eye. Maurice O’Connell, my host, tells me it means “House of Contentment”. But it is something of a joke played by one of his ancestors on his less travelled relations as House of Contentment is a euphemism for a brothel. Yet, as the visit continues I consider contentment as a pretty good word to sum up Maurice’s pursuits here. He is a whisky bonder and these old buildings are the bond with rows of maturing casks awaiting their freedom and their drinkers’ contentment.

Daniel O'Connell

And freedom too is associated so much with his family. Daniel O’Connell (1775 – 1847), The Liberator, is one of his ancestors. Daniel fought, with non-violent methods, for Catholic Emancipation. In the early 19th century he became such a thorn in the side of the ruling British that the then PM, Sir Robert Peel, described him as ‘that wayward Irishman’. Maurice decided to take ownership of the insult and so his whiskey company is called Wayward Irish Spirits and their first series is named The Liberator. 

The Liberator whiskeys are finished off here in this 300 year shed, so far in Port pipes, appropriate too in that Maurice’s wife, Francesca is Portuguese. He is very, and rightly, proud of these new releases but the jewel in the crown (if we can use that term in a place that gave the crown so much worry) is yet to come. His plan to have the Lakeview Estate Single Estate Pot Still is well under way. They grow their own barley on the Estate – laying down their first Single Estate Pot Still spirit in early 2019 and then start grain-to-glass distilling on the Estate in 2024. And we were shown some of the casks that have been quietly maturing for over 18 months.

Not always quietly. The lake and mountain setting gives the estate a special microclimate: the famously changeable weather provides lots of variation in barometric pressure, even on an hourly basis - that contributes to cask maturation which depends on these changes. Sometimes, you can feel the pressure if you put a hand on top of a cask. Perhaps the angels are impatient for their share.

They craft their whiskey at the family’s historic Lakeview Estate on the shores of Lough Leane, the largest of the Killarney lakes. The O’Connells, then rising in the political world and easing out of the smuggling, moved to this house in 1820. For centuries before it had been owned by the McCarthys (ancestors of Maurice on his maternal side).

Maurice and his 18-month Pot Still

Before that the O’Connell’s base was in Derrynane, a beautiful natural harbour, difficult to find from the sea and surrounded by mountains. This was an idyllic private kingdom at the edge of Europe, ruled by the O’Connells (from the late 17th century). This they used to advantage and built up a fleet of ships importing wines, spirits and fine silks from France and the Iberian peninsula. The Revenue could never quite penetrate that remote area to get their share. 

The tales still echo. When Maurice approached the Revenue about the new whiskey business and declared who he was, the officer, an amateur historian who knew all about the history of the O’Connells, laughed heartily at the irony of one of the famous family approaching the Revenue in a such an open way.

Maurice did everything right but no one could have foreseen that Covid19 would strike with devastating effect just weeks after the Liberator was launched. “With pubs and bars closed, it’s been a challenge for people to taste and get to know our Whiskeys so we’ll be releasing miniature versions and have also started a partnering program with hotels”.

The micro-distillery scheduled to
be in operation  here in 2024. The
Hilly Field, where the barley grows,
is in the background.


I was lucky enough to taste four samples from Killarney and have included Maurice's tasting commentary.

The Liberator Irish Malt Whiskey in Tawny Port Cask Finish, Batch 2, 45%

"The inaugural release was in March and is now almost sold out. This Batch 2 is now available and is another vatting of 2 Single Malts - 22% of 2006 Cooley Single Malt, matured in Bourbon casks. The rest is 2015 GND Single Malt, firstly in Bourbon and then finished in really fresh Tawny Port cask. To explain that this is pure Malt Whiskey and not a blend, some have called it a Double Malt - twice as good." Just 1,000 bottles, RRP €65.00, 46% abv.

The Liberator Irish Whiskey, Small Batch, Double Port Finish.

"This is a delicious light blended whiskey with a high (42%) Malt content, comprising some 2006 Cooley Single Malt and 2015/16 Double and Triple Distilled GND Single Malt, initially in Bourbon but finished in a range of Tawny and Ruby Port Casks. The Grain is mostly 2015 GND but with some 2010 Cooley, all in Bourbon with some finished in Ruby Port. You'll find on the shelves this autumn. ABV is 45%, RRP €49.00."

 The Liberator Small Batch: Double Port Finish, Cask Strength

"We offered this Cask Strength version of our Small Batch in a recent online tasting and we were blown away by the response so decided to offer it as a small "Storehouse Special" release direct from our website - with some available in specialist Whiskey shops. The initial release is 140 numbered half bottles (350ml), 62.1% abv, RRP €55.00." Available September.

Lakeview Estate Hilly Field Pot Still Strength, Cask 5003 

"This is a work-in-progress from our 2018 Hilly Field barley crop. Harvested in August, small batch malted in Naas, then distilled to our 50/50 mashbill and specification by GND in March 2019. This spent 3 months in Bourbon before transferring to NEOC casks for the last 12 months. (NEOC are First Growth Bordeaux casks, hand shaved with the grain and retoasted). Casked at 62%, this sample was cut to 46% abv for tasting." Not available for sale. Patience!

Whiskey bonding? Maurice explains: Before the days of big brands, merchants and inn keepers would buy spirit from their local distillery and mature it in their own barrels to produce Whiskeys unique to their establishment. This was called Whiskey Bonding and we're at the forefront of the movement to restart this traditional business. 

One of the buildings on site has been earmarked to house their micro-distillery and then we’ll have something special from the fields of the estate, “grain to glass” as Maurice says, with huge anticipation and enthusiasm. Having returned here two years back after a long spell in the UK he is contented: “Never had so much fun.” 


Wayward Irish Spirits, Lakeview, Fossa, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 F7Y5, Ireland.


+353 89 422 8836 or +44 7956 317030

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Wayward Spirits Announce Release of Batch 2 of ‘The Liberator Malt Whiskey in Tawny Port Finish’

Batch 2 of ‘The Liberator Malt Whiskey in Tawny Port Finish’ is now released.

‘The Liberator Small Batch: Double Port Finish’ Blend to be released this Autumn.
The ‘Lakeview Estate Single Estate Pot Still’ celebrates it’s 18 month birthday.

Wayward Irish Spirits is pleased to release Batch 2 of their Irish Malt Whiskey in Tawny Port Finish from The Liberator range of Bonded Whiskeys.  Matured initially in first fill American ex-Bourbon casks and then finished for 9-12 months in fresh ex Tawny Port casks, the Tawny Port finish contributes intensity, richness and complexity to the whiskey: figs, apple and pear on the nose, a rich taste of cocoa, clove and blackcurrant, and a warming long finish. 

Founder Maurice O’Connell says: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19, we’re thrilled with the response to the Inaugural Release earlier this year which is now almost sold out and are now releasing Batch 2. This is a limited release of 1,000 numbered bottles. Batch 2 has everything the Inaugural Release had but those extra 5 months have added to the roundness and balance. It is a vatting of single malts sourced from different distilleries: 22% is 2006 Cooley Single Malt, the balance is mostly 5 years with some 4 year Great Northern Distillery Single Malt. Bottled at 46% ABV, gently cut over 5-6 weeks, natural colour and not chill filtered, the RRP is €65”.  

The Liberator Small Batch: Double Port Finish will be released this Autumn. Maurice explains “We have been working during the lockdown on a blended Whiskey. Our first release has an unusually high malt content (42%), has been finished in Tawny and Ruby port casks and is a light and approachable but characterful Whiskey with a likely RRP of €49. There will also be a small Cask Strength release in half bottles in response to enthusiastic demand from the Whiskey community”. 

He adds “With pubs and bars closed, it’s been a challenge for people to taste and get to know our Whiskeys so we’ll be releasing miniature versions and have also started a partnering program with hotels”.

The Liberator Irish Whiskey celebrates the legacy of Daniel O’Connell, born in Kerry in 1775. The original campaigner for civil rights, heedless of race, gender or creed and often hailed as the greatest ever Irishman. Maurice adds “My forebear Daniel O’Connell’s independent spirit and sometimes wayward approach inspires how we craft whiskey at our family’s historic Lakeview Estate on the shores of Lough Leane in Killarney.”  

Alongside The Liberator (bonded Whiskey), the Lakeview Estate grows its own barley and laid down its first casks in early 2019. Maurice explains “We are proud to be celebrating the 18 month birthday of our Single Estate Pot Still spirit and are working towards grain-to-glass distilling here in 2024”. 

Just 1,000 numbered bottles of the Batch 2 of The Liberator Irish Whiskey Malt in Tawny Port Finish are available from 21st August from leading suppliers including The Celtic Whiskey Shop and James Fox in Dublin, Fine Wines in Limerick, Carryout in Killarney and online through Suggested retail price €65. Barry & Fitzwilliam have The Liberator for wider release in Ireland. 

Press release