The strategic importance of Ráthchloch (stone fort), on the old Kilkenny to Waterford road, was equally appreciated by the Vikings adjacent Danesfort. The striking vantage point looks over Richard Raftice’s low lying land of quick-drying, shallow gravel soils deposited by ancient glacier meltwater ensuring it is an early sowing/ripening terroir.
The nearby Danesfort Castle (also called Dunfert) was built by James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormonde, in the late 14th century in what is known locally as the Castle Field. As well as buying Kilkenny Castle, he was responsible for the construction of Gowran Castle, County Kilkenny. As Governor and Lord Justice of Ireland, Ormonde instigated a series of conflicts with the MacMurroughs and the O’Byrne’s, obliging Richard II to sail for Ireland with an army of over 8,000 men, the largest force brought to the island in the late Middle Ages. Amongst Richard’s warriors was a young Henry of Bolingbroke, subsequently Henry IV. Ormonde, a loyal supporter of Richard II, entertained the king at Kilkenny Castle several times.
The Raftice family has been farming near Danesfort since about 1966 when it was purchased by Richard’s parents James and Bríd. Here, James developed an interest in competitive ploughing and served on the committee of the Kilkenny Ploughing Association from 1969 to 1980.
Head Distiller's Observations
Appearance: A deep gold with oils and legs so slow that they make the turtle from the parable look like Usain Bolt.
Nose: Fields and barnyard, black pepper; hay that’s ready to be brought in; blackcurrant jam, warm vanilla, butterscotch, honeycomb, citrus zest.
Taste: Sweet stewed apple, berry compote, pepper, mince pie, black cherries, cocoa.
Finish: Has warmth with a gentle spice that drifts on with a little butterscotch.