The townland of Ballykilcavan is situated in Co. Laois on what is considered one of the best terroirs to grow malting barley – well-drained sandy loams on a bed of limestone. The gently sloping fields are surrounded by picturesque ancient woodland, among Ireland's finest and rich in native species, which acts as natural shelter for the barley. Over winter cattle graze the cover crops to keep alive microbial activity in the soil.
David Walsh-Kemmis's ancestors have been here since 1639 when Oliver Walsh acquired the lands from Robert Hartpole of Shrule Castle. David, who briefly moved from the farm to seek a career in IT, was one of the "first 40" barley growers who took up the mantle of supplying barley for Waterford Distillery, back in 2015, and we have been distilling his barley ever since. In fact, his barley was our second ever single farm distillation in early 2016.
In 2016 we held our first Growers Gathering at the distillery, where each year our farmers congregate at the distillery and our trophy for Barley Grower of the Year is awarded. David was the first winner of this coveted trophy, which now sits proudly in his resplendent old farmhouse, from which can also see another winner – the champion black walnut tree in Ireland.
Head Distiller's Observations
Appearance: Light hay to honey, very oily.
Nose: Berries with fresh foliage, redcurrants, grapes, barnyard. Vibrant and again freshly cut grass.
Taste: Cooked bananas with brown sugar, and plenty of heat. Mulled wine and cinnamon. A dry, oily lasting finish.