An Bhearú, the “bubbling" River Barrow, which was mentioned by the ancient writer Ptolemy, winds through the limestone lowlands of County Carlow. Ratheadon, Aidhne’s Fort, once home to the Lords of Idrone, stands beyond the river's east bank on rich & loamy soils. Ratheadon stands in the heartlands of the Irish malting barley industry.
The echoes of this old trade can still be seen today – the keen-eyed would note the numerous majestic old malting house buildings that line the river – indeed, were once powered by the river – with the largest malt house standing in Bagenalstown.
This early-sown barley from the superb harvest of 2015 was grown by father and son Stephen & Andrew McDonnell – third and fourth generation growers respectively – upon this unique terroir of a fertile flood plain of the River Barrow. The McDonnell family has farmed here at Ratheadon for some five decades.
This bottling, Edition 1.2, is again an Irish exclusive release as will be the case for all bottlings from Ratheadon. This time, having learned just how significant the demand was locally, we bottled a significant quantity – 10,000 bottles, in fact.
Head Distiller's Observations
Appearance: Amber with thick oils and legs to die for.
Nose: The youth catches you, but then floral and honey comes in to soften; digestive biscuits, malty, gentle spices that tingle your nose, mandarins; berry fruits as you sit into a leather seat that’s a snug fit (that might just be me though).
Taste: White pepper, ginger, pearl barley, honey oiliness, soft spices, orange barley sweets.
Finish: The spice lingers just long enough, oily mouthfeel that is endlessly mouthwatering.