Knappogue Castle, 12 Year Old

Maker: Castle Brands, New York, New York, USAKnapp Castle

Distiller: Unknown (Bushmills?)

Style: Single Malt Irish

Age: 12 y/o

ABV: 40%

Appearance: Medium gold

Nose: Green apple, oak, malt, tangerine, oriental lily, alcohol

On the palate: Lush and floral. Sweetness, butterscotch candy, French lavender, oak, caramel.

Finish: Malty and honeyed. Alcohol, oak, butterscotch, a bit of vanilla.

Parting words: I was pleasantly surprised by this whiskey. Knappogue Castle is not something that I hear a lot of praise for or even chatter about. For most of the history of this brand, it was released in vintages sourced from various distilleries, but in 2010 a switch was made to simply bottling at twelve years old. The current one is likely from Bushmills, but its floral character makes me think of Jameson a little. It also has a sweetness and depth of flavor I don’t get from Bushmills.

The fruit, flowers and citrus are exquisitely balanced by the bourbon cask oak and the result is an elegant Single Malt Irish whiskey that is never boring. My only quibble is the low proof. I would love to be able to taste this at cask strength, or at least 46% ABV. Knappogue Castle 12 y/o is highly recommended.

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4 thoughts on “Knappogue Castle, 12 Year Old

  1. Good review, Josh, thanks. I think I may well pick up a bottle (although I gave up alcohol for Lent, so none for me until Easter.)

  2. Josh, I definitely agree with you about the higher abv. I would love to see this at its cask strength. I’ve heard the same thing regarding the source of the whiskey as well, that it is Bushmills’ juice. This is a great review because few people are aware of what a fine whiskey Knappogue Castle really is. Have you had a chance to try any of the older vintages or any of Knappogue’s sherried whiskeys?

    1. No, I have never tried any of the vintages, I always just left them on the shelf. Regretting that now! The sherried version I have never seen. You tried it?

      1. My grandfather loves Knappogue Castle and has had some of the older vintages. He has told me before that their 1994 vintage is one of the finest whiskeys he has ever had. Only last year, Knappogue Castle released their “Twin Wood” line, which is a series of Oloroso-finished whiskeys. My grandfather had a bottle of the 17 yr. Twin Wood over the holidays. There are a few more spicy notes, especially on the nose and in the finish. The darker fruits and nuts are ramped up a bit, but I desperately wanted more mouth feel. Very good whiskey, but I would have loved to see what it was like right out of the barrel.

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