Dunbell (Dún Bile, edge fort) lies east of the River Nore in County Kilkenny. Grower Ned Murphy's barley ripens in the shadow of Tullaherin’s round tower, site of a 5th century monastery where monks converting the Osraige (deer people) must have favoured the deep loamy soils derived from glacial drift of limestone, sandstone & shale.
Dunbell once had a remarkable group of possibly as many as nine raths, but sadly most of these were levelled by a 19th century farmer seeking to improve his lands. He used the rich organic clay that the ringforts were made from as a form of manure. One of these raths had two inscribed pillar-stones, three or four feet apart, with only their tops visible above the surface of its inner fosse. The Dunbell raths yielded objects of bronze, iron, jet, bone and stone, including Anglo-Saxon style combs and a minute bell. Also found were half a dozen quorns, or ancient hand-mills, for grinding corn, as well as the bones of deer, oxen and pigs.
Head Distiller's Observations
Appearance: a deep copper with oils that hold the glass tighter than Mark Newton holds his wallet.
Nose: toffee, green apple; reminds me of autumn. If you had porridge with raisins, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and a nip of Dunbell followed by apple tart and vanilla ice cream, that's it. You might have to do like goldilocks after it and have a snooze.
Taste: candied apple, warm spices, pepper, orange peel, apricots, cloves, ginger nut biscuits.
Finish: warm and dry spices that linger on the tongue and waters in the mouth.