Why Lambay Island?
Lambay Island located just three miles from Dublin is the largest island off the East coast of Ireland. It is about 2.5 square kilometers in size. Its highest point rises to 127 meters and is a place of priceless beauty.
Lambay is a nature reserve home to a colony of redneck wallabies, a herd of deer, seagulls, grey seals and puffins, and natural flora and fauna that live together in perfect harmony. This private island paradise is owned by the Baring family since 1904.
There is a private harbour on the Western shore, and there are a small number of buildings nearby including a Bothy, coastguard cottages, and a real tennis court. Lambay has a natural water source – called Trinity well Water which offers the perfect maritime conditions for Lambay Whiskey cask maturation.
Lambay Island is perfectly located amidst the gulf stream flowing northwards along the eastern coast of Ireland and is scientifically known for its dense levels of naturally occurring sea-spray particles and sea salt in the air. These conditions - similar to our neighbours on Islay, inspire us to coax this evolution of taste in our casks as they lay exposed to the elements in our warehouse on Lambay.
Why the Camus connection?
The House of Camus has joined the Baring family in partnering on this exciting new venture. Moved by the island’s beautiful, pristine surroundings, the Camus and Baring families share a common bond for the love of nature, entrepreneurship and L’art de Vivre. Maison Camus having already experienced the effect of island maturation with their cognac Ile De Ré, bringing this ethos of island maturation into the Irish Whiskey category.
Combining the respected art of Irish whiskey making with the century-old blending and maturation skills of Camus, Lambay Whiskey has direct access to some of the finest cognac casks in the world while also benefiting from the mastery of Camus’s Maître De Chais (Master Blender) Patrick Léger. This partnership ensures a unique product that captures to perfection the nuances of this natural paradise where the idea is born.
It is a nature reserve and place of intrigue and has long had an air of inaccessible mystery. When WB Yeats visited the island in the 1880s, he compared the experience of landing on a remote South Seas island for the first time.
Where can I buy Lambay Whiskey?
Please refer to our online e-store – shop.lambaywhiskey.com. We have our stock listed on several online platforms in many different countries.
If you then need further help, we are happy to assist you. Email us: [email protected]
How do I get to Lambay Island?
While we are very welcoming and love to have visitors, please note Lambay is a privately-owned island and therefore not open to the general public. As it states on our bottle, access to us is by invitation only. However, we understand that whiskey tourism is a booming industry in Ireland yet we are not an official brand home experience, but rather a living & working homestead where the Baring family lives. Should you wish to visit each inquiry is managed on a case-by-case basis and subject to their availability and seasonal tides. Please contact us via [email protected] with your details.
Is there a distillery on Lambay?
We do not have a Lambay Whiskey distillery on Lambay island yet, planning permission has been granted as we seek green ways to create a powered micro-distillery on Lambay over the coming years.
Currently, we do have a bonded maturation warehouse. This warehouse is called the Sea Cask Room and exposes some of our prized single malt casks to the unique maritime environment on the island. This finishing period on the island is purely for our single malts, while the Lambay Small Batch Blend has a cognac-cask finish made at the partner distillery on the mainland.
Lambay Island is also home to its own Trinity Well volcanic water. This water is categorized as water of volcanic origin or deriving its heat and chemical activity from volcanic sources or volcanism. We use this pure water to craft our whiskey at the bottling stage.
What is the production process for Lambay Whiskey?
Three vital ingredients are needed to make Irish Whiskey, water, yeast, and grain. The word whiskey derives from the Irish word “Uisce Beatha” which means water of life. Lambay Whiskey is made using 100% Irish barley. Barley is a member of the grass family and is grown throughout Ireland.
Whiskey from grain and especially whiskey from wheat as a specific characteristic of creamy, smooth taste. It is subtle and sweet where the malted barley is more complex and richer. This richness needs more aging for allowing all the components to react and melt together. Therefore, our Single malt is always more aged than our grain whisky (even the single malt used for our blended whiskey)
Naturally, this grain contains a lot of starch within its shell. This starch needs to be converted to sugar which is needed for fermentation where yeast transforms sugar into alcohol. Using the IMC (isolated microspore culture) method for our barley and malt (from 100% Irish origin 2-row spring barley), there are three stages in barley malting.
Once the barley is harvested, it is steeped in water to kick start the growing process and this, in turn, produces enzymes. Time is given to allow the barley to germinate, that is where it created all the enzymes it needs to convert its starch into sugars.
During germination, the barley is dried to stop it from growing over a smokeless fuel such as natural gas, giving a clean un smoked flavour to the malt.
Only the malted barley variant is used for our Single Malt.
Water is very crucial for whiskey production. It is needed in many steps of the production like steeping, mashing, cooling, or reducing the whiskey to bottle strength. Lambay Whiskey is made with municipal spring water from West Cork at the distillery and then crafted with water from Trinity Well on the island. This water is taken from Lambay and brought to our distillery to craft our whiskey before bottling.
Malt mills grind down the malt and unmalted barley into a coarse substance called grist. This grist is not as fine as flour and still contains all the elements of the shell. It is then mixed with water and heated to create a “mash”. (porridge-like substance).
The grist is mixed with hot water to wash out the sugar. Important to mention: Barley in the production of Irish whiskey is usually mashed 3 times. Each category uses different methods for example: Japanese whiskey is 4 times the waters, Irish whiskey (and WCD, used only 2 times). The amount of grist/water can vary with the brand. It is important to note, that the water is used at different temperatures and the first mash is always done at the lower temperature. Three times grist and water are mixed in large mash tuns. The resulting sweet liquid is called “wort” and goes on to fermentation. The remaining mash is used as animal feed.
The wort is cooled down to about 20 °C. Then yeast can be added. The solution is left in wash backs for 48-96 hours. At this time, the yeast works and produces alcohol from sugar. The yeast cultures also create a lot of CO2 and excess heat. This beer-like liquid is then sent to the stills for distillation to separate and extract the alcohol. The wash backs are placed in a cold environment (no higher than 32’C) so the fermentation process is slower, and the whiskey is said to taste better.
Irish whiskey is synonymous with triple distillation and Lambay Whiskey Small Batch Blend is produced using two forms of distillation process – Pot Still Distillation and Column Still Distillation. Each distillation helps to refine and collect the purest distillates resulting in a final spirit with a clean spicy flavour.
Maturation Most often, Irish distillers mature their whiskey in ex-bourbon barrels from the US. The American oak makes the whiskey smooth and a bit mellow. During the maturation period, some of the liquid evaporates. This is called Angel’s Share. As the whiskey matures the spirit becomes darker and smoother.
Lambay Whiskey use first-fill B1 (Bourbon Casks) to mature for a minimum of 4 years before being transferred to a Camus cognac cask. The cognac cask imparts a more intense complexity from the tannins but also more fruit from the residue of the cognac in the porous oak.
Lambay Whiskey Finish
Finishing: Whisk(e)y must be matured in oak casks for a minimum of three years and is often matured much longer. ‘Finishing’ is an extension of the maturation process, when the spirit is subsequently filled into empty casks that previously held other wines or spirits for a further relatively short period at the end of maturation.
The casks used for Lambay Whiskey are French oak cognac casks (usually from 300 – 400 liters) that have been drained of any liquid prior to its use and allowed to rest for a period under the watchful eye of our Master Blender. The result from this wood interaction over time imparts the unique cognac cask finish to our whiskey.
In the historic days of Irish whiskey production, the spirit was matured in flat dunnage warehouses. The casks were rolled into the warehouses and stored in lying positions up to three layers high. Today the demand is higher, and the process is a bit more streamlined. The casks are put upright onto pallets and stored in higher warehouses. A new bunghole is drilled on the upper end of the barrel and enables to fill, probe, and empty the casks.
Lambay Whiskey Small Batch Blend casks are matured upright in a warehouse on the mainland and some of our Lambay Single Malt casks are stored in the classic cognac style (lying position) in the Sea Cask Room – a bonded warehouse close to the seashore on Lambay Island. Here the casks are open to the unique maritime elements on the island. After the whiskey has matured long enough it is disgorged into IBC's and shipped from Lambay to the mainland, then vatted in large steel tanks for bottling at our partner distillery. Right before bottling the Irish whiskey is chill-filtered subject to its ABV and whiskey style.
Chill Filtration: The process of chill filtering is where substances in the whiskey are removed before bottling. The main reason to chill filter a whiskey is actually purely cosmetic. A non-chill filtered whiskey that is 46% ABV or lower will go cloudy when water or ice is added and when the whiskey is cooled. This is seen as undesirable by some consumers, and the distillers react to this by removing the offending particles from the whiskey, so that this does not occur. The distillers want their whiskey to be a top-quality product. Whiskey above 46% ABV does not require chill filtration, as the higher alcohol level prevents this cloudiness from forming.
After filtering, the whiskey is bottled and shipped internationally for you to enjoy your dram of Lambay Irish Whiskey.
What age are Lambay Whiskeys?
An age statement is not our priority for Lambay. While we respect and adhere to the standards and regulations around the category of Irish Whiskey, – by law all whiskey must spend a minimum of 3 yrs. in the cask. Lambay Whiskey Small Batch Blend is a minimum of 4 yrs. old and the Single Malt holds more of a craft aspect as each year we will lay stocks down and this whiskey starts at a minimum of 5 years old and will vary in age as we allow casks to mature on Lambay Island. The combination between the ancestral know-how of distilling in Ireland and the expertise of Maison Camus in blending, maturation, and finishing is what gives our products their uniqueness and specificity.
Why a flavour wheel on the Lambay Whiskey bottle?
As a new craft Irish Whiskey brand, we need to ease consumers in making their choice, and likewise for sales people to sell our products to consumers we wanted to provide a flavour wheel/map as a key information tool on Lambay Irish Whiskey’s label.
What is Whiskey?
Whisky or whiskey is a spirit drink made from cereals with or without whole grains of other cereals which have been amongst others fermented by the action of yeast. Various grains (which may be malted) are used for different varieties, including barley, corn (maize), rye, and wheat. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, generally made of charred white oak.
Irish Whiskey is a spirit distilled on the island of Ireland from a mash of malted/unmalted cereals with or without whole grains of other cereals made using three vital ingredients, water, barley (Cereal), yeast and is usually Triple Distilled – using two varying production types – Pot Still and Colum Still Distillation. The traditional practice is to triple distilled, however, double distillation is accepted.
What is Single Pot Still Whiskey?
Single Pot Still Whiskey is made using a mash of malted, unmalted barley and other unmalted cereals, water and yeast-it is the unmalted barley which gives it that creamy mouthfeel. It is distilled in pot stills in such a manner that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the material used.
It is unique to Ireland and was once the largest selling whiskey in the world. One of the characteristics of pot still whiskey is that it is full-bodied. The new spirit from the pot stills goes into either bourbon casks or sherry butts. Single pot still Irish whiskey is considered the quintessential version of Irish whiskey.
What is Single Malt Whiskey?
Single Malt Whiskey:
Malt Whiskey is made from natural raw materials, 100% malted barley, water, and yeast- it has a dry biscuit mouthfeel. The term “Single” as stated for the Single Pot Still Whiskey and the Single Malt Whiskey implies that all the whiskey in the product is distilled totally on the site of a single distillery and comes from one of these two varieties. Lambay Single Malt is a Single Malt whiskey. Lambay Malt Whiskey is a blend of at least three single malt whiskeys.
What is Grain Whiskey?
Grain Whiskey is produced from malted barley (not exceeding 30%) and includes whole unmalted cereals usually maize, wheat, and barley. It is usually distilled three times in long continuous column stills for flavour and smoothness. The resulting whiskey has a fruity, floral and fragrant character.
What is Blended Whiskey?
Blended whiskeys in Ireland can be made by blending two or more different whiskey types (malt Irish whiskey, Pot Still Irish whiskey, and grain Irish whiskey. The Irish Whiskey Technical File stipulates that by law Irish whiskey must be matured for a minimum of 3 years in wooden barrels. Lambay Irish Whiskey Small Batch Blend is made using malted barley and grain whiskey, with a larger portion of grain whiskey used.
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