Plenty of companies have tapped Cooley Distillery for whiskey they can label as their own. Inish Turk Beg could have done just that and left it there but, with admirable integrity, they put their own twist on the whiskey in various creative ways.

They ensured a good base to begin with: roughly 10-year old Cooley malt (very fine stuff indeed, in my opinion). They took thirteen expired ex-bourbon barrels, filled them with “poitín” for a year (Cooley new make spirit, I presume), emptied them and then left them to weather on the island (for how long, I don’t know). The Cooley malt was then finished in these seasoned barrels (again, I don’t know how long for).

Another touch was to use rainwater, fresh off the Atlantic, to water down the cask-strength spirit to bottling strength of 44%. The final presentation was also unusual: a spherical, tilted, hand-blown bottle. 2,888 of these one-litre bottles were produced.

I’ve been calling this “Inish Turk Beg” whiskey ever since it was released in late 2010 but I’ve just realised it’s actually called Maiden Voyage. The intention was to release a follow-up called Eternal Voyage but we haven’t seen that yet.

With the attractive presentation and the various unique touches it should fly off the shelves

 ABV: 40% | Price: €20

Nadim Sadek introduces music from Inish Turk Beg