Situated about an hour north of Dublin alongside the River Boyne, Slane Castle has been home to the Conyngham family since 1703. Surrounded by parklands designed by landscape architect Capability Brown, the four-story, crenelated castle was reconstructed in 1785 with the guidance of three leading architects: James Wyatt, James Gandon, and Francis Johnston. Music lovers may know it as the setting for one-day annual summer concerts by U2, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, and many others. We began our visit at the distillery with cocktail made from Slane Irish Whiskey, accompanied by some canapes. Our tour began outside in the 250 year-old Georgian stables, converted to the distillery which opened in 2017. Over the course of the tour we learned about the distinct steps that are involved in turning barley into Irish Whiskey. Using estate grown barley and water from the River Boyne, Slane Distillery produces a distinctive Irish whiskey, triple-aged in virgin American oak casks, Tennessee whiskey casks, and Oloroso sherry casks. Slane Irish Whiskey takes many of its complex and smooth qualities from the cask aging, after which the whiskeys are blended to create the complex but smooth final whiskey – we enjoyed some neat at the end of the tour, and then were surprised how the addition of just a few drops of water changed its character and made for a fine, even smoother, silkier drink.
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