1999 – Company Formed1999
Bernard and Rosemary Walsh created the company Hot Irishman Limited to blend and bottle the perfect Irish Coffee recipe. The inspiration came when as part of their travels Rosemary ran a ski chalet in France and treated all their guests to Irish Coffees after every evening meal. Making between 20 and 30 Irish Coffees a night was fun but it was also labour intensive. The Walsh’s thought there had to be a better way to make a consistently great Irish Coffee without the complexity and inefficiencies of the old way. This was then that the Hot Irishman was born.
2001 – Urglin Glebe2001
Bernard & Rosemary moved home to the Urglin Glebe, a beautiful regency house almost 200 years old. Set deep in the Carlow countryside, the heart of Ireland’s barley growing lands, Urglin Glebe was to be the headquarters of the Hot Irishman company for the next 10 years.
2005 – The Irishman Irish Cream2005
The Irishman – Irish Cream liqueur was created not just to rival the big Irish cream liqueur brands but to take the recipe back to basics using only the best ingredients. Combining 100% Irish dairy cream, the finest 100% premium Irish whiskey with natural flavours of vanilla and toffee brings us this Irish owned and Irish produced high quality Irish Cream that has been proven to be the ultimate in a luxury cream liqueur.
2006 – Whiskey Supply Agreement2006
This was the greatest turning point since the company was first established. Bernard and Rosemary saw the opportunity to be amongst the early movers in the revival of the Irish whiskey sector. Utilising the strong relationships and reputation they had developed, they signed a long-term supply agreement with Irish Distillers for the distilling and laying down of Irish whiskey stock to their specifications.
2007 – Launch of The Irishman Whiskey2007
If 2006 was about planting a seed, then 2007 was about reaping the harvest as The Irishman 70 (aka The Irishman Original Clan in the USA) and The Irishman – Single Malt were both launched. The Irishman, a premium blend of old Irish pot still whiskey, is the original signature whiskey created by founder Bernard Walsh. It is a blend of two styles, single malt (70%) and single pot still (30%). This innovative combination was unusual in itself, as it madeThe Irishman the only Irish blended whiskey to contain 100% whiskey distillates from copper pot stills and 0% grain or column still whiskey. Its launch marked the start of an era of great growth as The Irishman quickly made inroads across Europe and the USA. It has also been critically acclaimed with several prestigious awards including being listed one of the highest rated Irish Whiskey’s in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible with 93 points – “Quite a Wonderful Blend”.
2008 – Cask Strength Release2008
The Irishman – Cask Strength 2008 limited edition with 1,200 bottles was launched to great acclaim. The first triple distilled Cask Strength Irish Whiskey released in over half a century.
2009 – Writers Tears2009
The creation of Writers Tears, a boutique brand, was a bold move as it moved outside the Irish whiskey category that traditionally leans on overt Irish brand cues to something a little more nuanced. The move was an instant success capturing the attention and patronage of whiskey enthusiasts globally from inception. Though progressively named it is made from a unique old Irish pot still whiskey recipe, a vatting of single malt (60%) and single pot still (40%) whiskeys (no grain). One of the highest rated Irish Whiskeys in Jim Murrays Iconic “Whiskey Bible”, it is also one of Ian Buxton’s “101 Whiskeys To Try Before You Die”.
2011 – Cask Strength Releases & New Offices2011
With both whiskey brands going from strength-to-strength, cask strength versions of each were released and very well received. It was Writers Tears first and The Irishman’ssecond cask strength release. In addition, due to the expansion of the business, the company also moved two miles down the road from the homely environment of Urglin Glebe to Equity House, a modern office building on the outskirts of Carlow Town overlooking the lush Carlow countryside.
2012 – The Irishman 12 Year Old & Brand Reviews2012
This year saw the launch of The Irishman – 12 Year Old, of which only 714 bottles were released from two first-fill bourbon barrels. Due to the limited release, this was only available in Ireland and quickly sold out. This year also marked the start of a strategic planning process for the company with the retention of “The Futures Company” of London and New York to carry out a brand audit and forward planning on the company’s brands
2013 – The Irishman re-brand, partnership with Illva Saronno & purchase of Royal OakWalsh whiskey
The Irishman underwent a rebrand to reflect the premium quality of the whiskey. The re-brand was launched at Vinexpo in Bordeaux, France in June 2013 and the story continues with The Irishman now placed in over 40 countries spanning 4 continents. In the Autumn, Walsh Whiskey announced a €25million strategic partnership with Italian company Illva Saronno which is owned and run by the Reina family and is renowned for the legendary Disaronno liqueur. The idyllic setting of Royal Oak, County Carlow in the barley basket of Ireland was purchased as the new home for Walsh Whiskey where a dedicated whiskey distillery, warehouses and a visitor centre would be built.
2014 – The Commencement of Construction on Walsh Whiskey Distillery2014
On a fabulously sunny September day, the global Walsh Whiskey family from far and wide, gathered with the local community of Royal Oak to commence construction on the first new whiskey distillery in Carlow and the South-East of Ireland in 200 and 100 years respectively. Everyone who attended played a part in turning the sod on and breaking ground at the commencement of a new era for the company.
2016 – Commissioning of the Distillery on a Historic Easter Sunday2016, Walsh whiskey
As Ireland commemorated the centenary of the events of the 1916 Easter Rising that were to foster the country’s independence in 1922, Bernard and Rosemary Walsh oversaw the commissioning of Walsh Whiskey Distillery and the distillation of its first new make malt spirit. Easter Sunday 2016 is remembered as a proud day for the country and especially for everyone involved with Walsh Whiskey Distillery.