Knappogue Castle 1994 ‘Ex Libris’ (Kirsch Import)

Knappogue Castle 1994 ‘Ex Libris’ (Kirsch Import)

Knappogue Castle is a brand of Irish whiskey with a long history. Originally a series of unicorn casks matured in the cellar of a castle with the same name (some from lost distilleries and dating back to the 1950s), the brand was developed into a commercial project in the past decade and recently acquired by Irish Distillers / Pernod Ricard.

On our desk today is a bottling with the same name, albeit with a very different branding. It is part of an Ex Libris series from La Maison du Whisky (each named after a short story), in this case bottled exclusively for Kirsch Import.

This is a 27 year-old Irish single malt, a 1994 vintage from what is probably the oldest distillery in the country. In France there appears to be a sister cask #888139, as well as a 1995 and 1996 in the same series.


Knappogue Castle 27 yo 1994 ‘The Selfish Giant’ (51,1%, LMdW ‘Ex Libris’ for Kirsch Import 2021, bourbon cask #888142, 196 btl.)

Nose: vibrant, with some fruity notes of ripe apple, gooseberries, oranges and light whiffs of candy floss. Dusted grains as well (a pot still fingerprint), with light herbaceous notes and liquorice. Hints of fresh oak shavings and vanilla.

Mouth: still fruity, with more apples as well as some (modest) tropical notes now. Pink grapefruit, some yellow ones after a while, then lime and banana. Hints of mirabelles too. Later hay and a greener, herbal touch, with light coconut flakes and ginger.

Finish: quite long, with sweet malt, lingering citrus, oak spice and toffee sweetness.

Good Irish whiskey, with a generous fruity side as well as the typical pot still spice and some bourbon wood influence. Compared to the best similarly aged (third-party) Teeling casks though, this is far less exuberant in style. Still available in a few German stores, priced around € 500.