Irish Whiskey

Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey is named after a famous Irish Racehorse from 1876 which was owned by the Watt Distillery family from Derry and Donegal in the North West of Ireland. The ancient name for this part of Ireland was Tyrconnell.

Tír Chonaill in the Irish Language comes from Tír meaning “Land of” and Chonaill which was the name of an ancient 5th Century High King of the North West of Ireland in the 5th century who was a son of the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tyrconnell was therefore the name of this ancient North West Irish Kingdom and is still to this day used as the Irish language name of Donegal in the North West of Ireland.

Tír Chonaill would have encompassed the modern county of Donegal and much of her neighbouring counties of Sligo, Leitrim, Fermanagh and Tyrone. The Kingdom survived until 1601.
In 1876, the Donegal – Derry based Watt family who owned one of the largest whiskey distilleries in Ireland entered a racehorse called “Tyrconnell” (after the local ancient kingdom) in the Irish Classic “National Produce Stakes” where it won against all the odds at an incredible 100 to 1. This spectacular achievement inspired the Watt whiskey distillery in Derry to celebrate the occasion with a special commemorative Tyrconnell Irish whiskey label. The Tyrconnell was, before American prohibition, one of the biggest selling whiskey brands in the United States. Pre-prohibition photos taken in Yankee Stadium in New York show Tyrconnell Irish Whiskey billboards in positions of prominence at the venue. All three of the company’s whiskey brands enjoyed great success in the export sector. Sales in England, Canada, Australia, Nigeria and the West Indies and the U.S. put Derry on the commercial map as never before. Unfortunately, with the decline of Irish Whiskey after prohibition, Watts distillery and Tyrconnell whiskey faded and died like the majority of Irish whiskey distilleries and brands of the time.

When the Cooley Irish Whiskey Distillery was recommissioned by Dr. John Teeling a few years ago, Tyrconnell was one of the old iconic Irish whiskey brands that Cooley brought back to life. Cooley Distillery and the Cooley Irish Whiskey brands are now owned by the Japanese – American whiskey giant Beam Suntory. Today, Tyrconnell whiskey is available as a standard 10 Year Old Cooley Single Malt and is also available through the Tyrconnell Irish Whiskey Finishes Collection in Port Pipe, Madeira Cask and Sherry Butt finishes at 46% abv as well as a 15 Year Old Single Cask expression.

Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey

This may just be the most popular Single Malt Irish Whiskey from the Cooley Distillery. Try it before trying the Special Wood expressions variants in Sherry and Madeira Casks and Port Pipe finishes.

Single Malt Range

Single Malt Madeira Irish Whiskey

Tyrconnell Single Malt Madeira Irish Whiskey

The Madeira sherry influence adds a mellow and sweet spiciness to the standard 10 Year Old Single Malt lending added character and flavour from the superior Madeira Sherry casks from Portugal.

Single Malt Madeira Range

Sherry Finish Irish Whiskey

Tyrconnell  Sherry Finish Irish Whiskey

Many other Irish Whiskey expressions now have sherry finished versions but Cooley’s 10 Year Old Single Malt was one of the first. This is creamy malt with sherry sweetness making it a very mellow whiskey indeed.

Sherry Finish Range

Port Finish Irish Whiskey

Tyrconnell Port Finish Irish Whiskey

If I had one criticism of Cooley’s standard 10 Year Old Single Malt it would be that it can be light in character. This Port finish adds great depth and character marking it as the best of the Cooley wood finishes.

Port Finish Range