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Uniquely innovative Irish whiskey finished in rare Japanese oak.


Delivery time: 2-3 business days

  • Order before noon for same-day dispatch! (Mon-Weds)

Here we have a truly exceptional whiskey from the pioneering Glendalough Distillery. This small independent distillery has been at the forefront of the new wave of innovation in Irish whiskey which has blossomed in recent years. During their short existence, they have become renowned for their “double barrel” approach to maturing whiskey. Like most Irish whiskeys, Glendalough’s products spend most of their lives in old bourbon barrels. But towards the end of this process, they are moved into a second barrel, in order to impart a different flavour profile. In the case of Glendalough Minzunara Finish Whiskey, the final phase of its development is unique among Irish whiskeys. Only Glendalough is using Japanese Minzunara oak to produce whiskey.

And there are good reasons why nobody else is doing it. Allow us to explain…

What is Minzunara oak?

Quercus mongolica, commonly known as Mongolian oak, is a species of oak tree which grows in various places in Asia. But when it grows on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, it is known as mizunara – water oak. The name comes from the unusually porous nature of mizunara wood, which means that it tends to absorb water much more readily than other oaks.

You might be thinking that a wood which absorbs a lot of liquid is poorly suited to making whiskey, and you’d be right. In fact, this stuff is an absolute nightmare to work with. Its porosity means that it must be laid down to dry for three years before it can be used for making barrels. Even after all that time, it’s difficult to fashion into barrels, as the wood tends to be knotty and twisted.

Oh, and did we mention that the trees need at least 200 years to mature?

All in all, mizunara wood is highly unsuitable for making whiskey. So why are distilleries spending thousands of dollars per barrel on it? Why does anybody use it at all? In a word – flavour. The use of mizunara oak is the “secret weapon” which has propelled Japanese whiskies like Yamazaki to the revered status they now enjoy. Now the secret is out, and forward-thinking producers like Glendalough are sprinkling some mizunara magic on their own wares.

The effect this wood has on the whiskey is extraordinary. There are base flavours of sandalwood, coconut and spices such as cinnamon, overlaid with notes of fresh fruit – everything from plums to pineapples. It’s exceptionally complex for an Irish whiskey, containing little of the sweet, honeyed flavours you might expect. This is a heavier, darker affair – not smoky or peaty as such, but with a definite air of burnt wood.

And don’t forget that all this is on top of an already enjoyable Irish whiskey which has spent most of its life maturing in bourbon casks made from charred American white oak. No wonder critics are raving about this uniquely innovative Irish whiskey.

Glendalough Single Malt Mizunara Finish is available only in very limited quantities, so secure yours today.