Earlier this week, I flew to Ireland to discover the secrets behind a brand new Irish Whiskey range: Lambay Whiskey.
If like me you had never heard about “Lambay” before reading this, bare with me because this tiny part of the world is already a real little paradise for nature lovers and is soon to also be famous amongst whisk(e)y enthusiasts as well!
Still a private island, located a small boat drive away from Irish mainland and acquired by the Baring family early 1900, the island is a real hidden gem where cows, sheeps, puffins and… wallabies live in harmony! Erm… wallabies?! Yes, you read that right! While I haven’t had the chance to spot one of them (little nocturnal creatures…), the island is said to be populated by a troupe of wallabies introduced by the Dublin zoo in the 1980s. You’d think the Irish climate would be too harsh for those Australian migrants? Apparently not, they have managed to survive and actually thrive thanks to the island’s unique maritime microclimate and thick vegetation.
But the jewels of Lambay island don’t stop there: the historical Lambay Castle was rebuilt between 1910 and 1911 in the Arts & Crafts style by world-famous Anglo-Irish architect Edwin Lutyens and is still home to the Baring family today who do everything in their power to keep it in a pristine state.
Lambay Whiskey is then born from this desire to grow a sustainable business for the island and is part of a long-term conservation strategy. So what best than asking another family sharing a love for nature, entrepreneurship, a rich heritage, the same values and an expertise of spirits to help you create a unique product with a strong sense of place?
That’s why the House of Camus, famous family-owned Cognac producer, revering terroir was just the ideal partner to join the Baring family in a new exciting partnership!
The two families have then teamed up to bring to the world a brand new Irish whiskey range comprising a small batch triple-distilled blended whiskey and a single malt finished… You guessed it…. In Camus Cognac casks, then reduced using Lambay island’s unique water (oh yes, forgot to mention Lambay was a volcanic territory) and stored in a tiny warehouse on the island where the coastal air will definitely have an interesting influence on the maturation.
As we speak, the two families, and especially Camus cellar master, are still experimenting with maturation on the island, so the products I had the chance to taste may not be exactly the same you’ll find later this year when Lambay Whiskey will be officially released in selected markets and through travel retail.
I know what you’re telling yourself now – “what about the price?! Seriously, yet another Irish Whiskey, yet another NAS priced 148979€!” – I was gladly surprised to find out that the blend will be around 25/30 euros, while the single malt would be approx. 45/50 euros.
And to answer your other burning question: sorry, the distillery is obviously undisclosed, you know how that works don’t you? Yes, me too, I’m sad not knowing, but get over it!
So you may think we’re drowning under a sea of new Irish whiskey releases this year… But hey, we should be grateful the category is thriving, allowing us to taste so many different products, fighting against the cliché that “Irish whiskey is this mellow and smooth beverage with less character than Scotch” – New whiskeys on the market can only confirm the dynamism of the category, especially when big firms start investing huge money in it (Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Brown-Forman… and now Camus).
You know me, I’m all for spreading the whisk(e)y love, so I’m more than delighted to see brands shaking the Irish whiskey landscape, offering consumers diversity and new alternatives while staying true to themselves.
So without further ado, let’s have a look at this new Lambay Whiskey and the pictures I took during my Irish visit on Lambay island – I feel very privileged to have been able to step foot on this protected island so again, a huge thanks to the Baring family for their quintessential Irish hospitality and to the Camus team, dedicated to their craft and probably some of the sweetest French people I’ve met in the industry 😉 #BigUpAll