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As well as a surge in new distilleries, Ireland have also welcomed their first Whiskey bonders in 50 years. And they’ve come back with a massively impressive first release.

The Brand

Bonding Whiskey in Ireland used to be a big thing, with many brands carrying out the practice.

It simply means that a distillers would sell their Whiskey to a bonder for it to be matured, blended, bottled and sold.

The industry flourished for a while in Ireland but soon died out in the 1930s when most of the Irish Whiskey trade disappeared as well.

Chapel Gate were originally going to be a full blown Whiskey distillery where they grew the grain and bottled the malt themselves.

But when founder Louise McGuane stumbled upon the idea of bonding and how it had ceased to exist, she was determined to reignite it.

She says, “I thought, ‘that’s interesting, that’s a lost piece of Irish whiskey heritage, and I’m going to bring it back’. So I did.”

And with that, Chapel Gate Whiskey Co. was born.

The Blend

For their first release, the brand decided to honour J.J. Corey, a bonder who lived and worked not far from where the brand is based.

He was an entrepreneurial spirit who had a finger in every pie, which even included inventing bicycles. His bicycle was called The Gael, where this blend gets its name.

This dram took about 2 years to create and represents the house style that Chapel Gate is going for once their own Whiskey matures.

It opens with a nose of exotic fruits and lots of citrus notes. Oranges, lemons and limes are all there with lot of zest.

Sweet white sugar and pastry comes in, with oak wood in the background. It is rich and deep, with lots of complexity.

The palate is smooth and warming, bringing in some cinnamon and pepper spice. Tart summer berries join the citrus fruits to really liven up the flavour.

It is wonderfully fruity and sweet, but not overwhelming. The oak wood of the casks provides a nice backdrop for the bigger flavours to bounce off.

Subtle dried fruits and more spice wrap everything up, bringing together the bolder flavours.

The finish is big and strong, with lots of citrus fruit and toasted white sugar.

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