Tourmakeady’s premium craft vodka is just the spirit

Posted in Connect on February 14, 2019.


A GAELTACHT distillery has scored a historic first by being granted a licence to sell its product from its premises to the general public.
Lough Mask Distillery, based in Killateeaun in the Tourmakeady Gaeltacht, on the shores of Lough Mask, is the first whiskey distillery in Ireland to be granted a licence to sell its premium gin, vodka and whiskey under the Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Act 2018. The distillery began operations in July of last year and their speciality Loch Measc gin has proven highly popular. Now Drioglann Loch Measc (Lough Mask Distillery) is firmly established as a craft Irish whiskey and gin distillery, overlooking Mask from the foothills of the Partry Mountains.

Their main products are Loch Measc single malt whiskey, Loch Measc gin, and Loch Measc vodka.

Now the company is concentrating on promoting sales of their premium vodka.
London native Cory Martin, an employee of Drioglann Loch Measc, told me: “The gin has been highly successful and popular. It just walked out the door and we have had great support from the local people. People really want to support Mayo made.

“Now we are doing a big push on the vodka. Our vodka is very smooth. It is a premium vodka, as in the likes of Grey Goose. Our vodka is a Martini or cocktail vodka.
“We are selling the gin and vodka while we wait for the premium whiskey to mature, which will probably be 2022.

“The thing that makes the vodka unique is the size of the still. We use a 10-litre still. We call it ‘the baby’, compared to our biggest which holds 1,000 litres. The baby is the hardest worker in the distillery. She is in constant production. “The thing that makes it important as a still is the contact with the copper. The more contact with the copper the sweeter your spirit is. Because ours is so small we have to triple distil.” The company directors are Dominic Hannigan and Eoin Holmes. Eoin, who came to Ireland as an infant and now resides in Westport, explained: “We discovered the empty building a few years back and have restored it, making it ready to house our micro-distillery. Our production started early last year.”

Eoin, who has been fishing Lough Mask for decades, continued: “We craft tiny batches of wonderfully rich spirit by hand in our beautiful copper pot stills. These stills were made for us by traditional coppersmiths based on the ancient Alembic still design.”

Lough Measc single malt is made using only the finest malt barley and clear water from Lough Mask. Their twice distilled spirit is aged in American and European oak barrels.
The whiskey production style results in a rich, complex flavour with a hint of spiciness and a satisfying lingering aftertaste. They have peated and unpeated single malts.
They mature their brew for at least three years so their first whiskey will be available in 2021.

“Loch Measc gin is inspired by the wild juniper berries that grow around Lough Mask,” said Eoin. “A glorious abundance of botanicals thrive around our distillery. Ours is a confident, juniper-led gin that packs a flavoursome punch and leaves you with a taste of the wild Irish countryside. It makes an excellent G&T and is designed to work brilliantly in a classic Negroni.

“Loch Measc Vodca – yes, we spell it vodca; that’s the spelling for vodka as Gaeilge – is dedicated to those on a pilgrimage to find the holy grail of small batch vodka. We make ours from the finest grains and using the purest waters from Lough Mask. Our vodka is made in copper stills, imparting a smoothness and flavour that marks it out.”

Tours of the brewery take place every day. Booking is advisable. Check the website – www.loughmaskdistillery.com – or call (094) 9544701 for availability and to book a visit.

by Tom Gillespie, The Connaught Telegraph 13th February 2019

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