This week sees us reaching another major milestone in a year of firsts. Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak is unique in being able to distil all three types of Irish whiskey – pot still, malt and grain – in the one still house. Having started with malt distillation in our copper pots on Easter Sunday, we added grain distillation in our column stills to our repertoire over the summer, with both processes running concurrently. This week switched our copper pots from malt production to start our very first pot still campaign. Pot still whiskey is uniquely Irish. It is made from a mixed mash of malted barley and unmalted barley in a copper pot still. It originated in the 1800s as a means of avoiding a then new tax on malted barley – we Irish have always been innovators!
We mashed our first pot mash (a ‘soup’ of grist, ground barley, and hot water) in the mash tun (a giant enclosed container) on Monday and we were very pleased with its results. On Friday we brought the pot wash through our wash still and over the weekend we will have our first single pot new make spirit flowing through our spirit safe. Having nosed and sampled a little of the pot wash there was a gentle sweetness to the beer which augers well for distillation.
In just a little over 6-months the team here at Royal Oak has demonstrated exceptional progress, filling thousands of casks with new make malt, grain and soon to be pot spirits. To complete the run of firsts we will be filling our sherry butt casks which will enhance our blending portfolio in the years to come.