The last few months have really been all about discovering when we talk about whisky. This varies from discovering new distilleries to discovering different whisk(e)y brands that were still unknown to me. One of these brands is Lambay Whiskey, an independent bottler/blender with quite an interesting story.
Lambay Whiskey is the result of a collaboration of two families with a rich heritage: Camus, the famous family-owned cognac producer and the Baring Family, owner of the Irish island of Lambay.
As you probably already noticed, the whiskey is named after the island, which is just a few kilometres off the coast of Co Dublin. The Baring family has owned Lambay since the early 1900s. Praised by nature-lovers for its wonderful flora and fauna, it houses notable populations of seabirds, over 300 plant varieties and even a colony of red-necked wallabies. (Who have been living on the island since the 1950s and thrive wonderfully well on the island due to the microclimate).
Because the island is privately owned, the Baring family has set up various projects (collectively called ‘The Lambay Initiative’) to preserve the beautiful island. In this way, they want to ensure that not only the coastline, flora & fauna and architecture are kept in good condition, but that the original culture and values are also preserved.
And that brings us back to Lambay Whiskey, which is one of those projects and where the Baring family have entered into a joint venture with the Camus family from the House of Camus. This famous producer is one of the largest Cognac brands in the world. Founded in 1863, it has remained within the family for five generations. And thus the ideal partner for the Baring Family to create the Lambay brand.
To create the Lambay range, whiskey is sourced from various distilleries throughout Ireland, of which the distillate must match the specific finish. Because, not entirely surprising, all Lambay whiskeys are finished in Camus Cognac casks. After which it’s laid to rest on the island for further maturation.
This Lambay is a triple distilled blend that has matured in ex-bourbon casks before being finished in cognac casks. Bottled at 40% ABV.
Lambay Small Batch blend tasting notes:
Nose: rather fresh with notes of lemon and a touch of green apples and bananas. Quite some grainy notes too. Vanilla custard. Apple juice. Then it becomes somewhat nutty, almonds come to mind. A little bit of caramel, which is followed by a glue note. A bit floral at some points as well.
Taste: rather creamy and sweet at first. Coconut. Malty. Creme Brulee. Honey. Green bananas and lemon. Barley notes. And some spices, mostly black pepper and a faint hint of anise seed.
Finish: mid-long with lemons, almonds again and a tiny hint of some spices.
This Lambay is a marriage of triple and double-distilled Irish whiskey which is sourced from at least 3 different Irish distilleries. It has matured in ex-bourbon casks before being finished in Cognac casks. Bottled at a strength of 43% ABV.
Lambay malt Irish Whiskey tasting notes:
Nose: oatmeal cookies. Vanilla. Lemons. Followed by pears, bananas and a hint of sweet mangos. It’s slightly waxy. Dates. Toffee and a nutty aspect in this one too: almonds. A hint of coconut as well.
Taste: oatmeal cookies again. A freshly made ginger lemonade and vanilla. Then it becomes rather fruity. Mandarins, mango, bananas and pears. Followed by honey and milk chocolate. Coconut and almonds again.
Finish: short to mid-long and somewhat malty. Mandarins and caramel.
Overall: The Small batch blend feels rather young and grainy. It’s not bad, but it’s just rather light and simple. It’s also a tad too grainy for my taste.
The Malt Irish Whiskey has grown on me. The first time I’ve tried it I wasn’t entirely convinced, but after I have tasted it a bit more often I think it is really nice. Especially enjoying the tropical fruit and waxy element in the nose, which appear after the malty notes have settled. The palate is a nice combination of creamy notes and plenty of (tropical) fruits, it’s not very complex but that’s actually fine. The finish, however, is a little bit one-dimensional and somewhat on the short side. But all in all, it’s a nice easy going whiskey, which I think will be quite enjoyable on a lovely summer evening.
Many thanks to Lambay Whiskey for the bottles.