Part of the recently-founded (1987) Cooley Distillery mini-empire (which includes Tyrconnell, Connemara, and Greenore), Kilbeggan is perhaps the best known bottling that this Cooley Mountains-based distillery offers.
Why? Because the brand dates all the way back to 1757 (making it one of the oldest existing whiskey brands in the world). It changed hands many times and closed in 1957, then finally reopened in 2007 under Cooley’s ownership. Now quite the tourist attraction, it’s up and running at full steam once again.
Kilbeggan is classic Irish, but quite sweet, even for the normally sugary Irish style. On the nose there’s instant banana, fresh cut grains, orange (juice), and a touch of golden raisin character. Moderate to big body, fairly creamy, but far from overwhelming. The finish is a bit astringent, a likely indicator of this whiskey’s relative youthfulness, but it’s still perfectly quaffable. Ultimately Kilbeggan is a bit on the simplistic side, but fine for sipping before your corned beef and cabbage.
B+ / $20 / kilbegganwhiskey.com