In ye olde 1750, alongside the River Roe in County Londonderry, Ireland, John Alexander began making whiskey on his family farm and called his distillery Limavady. Limavady remained in business in one form or another, including adding a brewery, until it was shuttered in 1915 when Distiller’s Finance Corporation (DFC) acquired several Irish distilleries and killed them off.
Then, 260-something years later, Darryl McNally, a well-respected veteran of the distilling industry under Bushmills and The Dublin Liberties, traced his family tree and discovered he was related to the Alexanders who began the distillery.
“Limavady kept calling, so I said, let’s grab this with both hands. My brother—who was also a distiller at Bushmills—left as well to come into the family Limavady.” – Darryl McNally
But McNally didn’t want to simply do another me-too whiskey, especially since he had to source barrels. He planned on offering Irish single malt whiskey but took things a step further. He concentrated on single barrel, single malt whiskeys. While the single-barrel idea isn’t unheard of in Ireland, it is unusual.
You know me; unusual is something that always grabs my full attention!
While Limavady doesn’t disclose who distilled its whiskey, we know it is made from 100% malted and unmalted Irish barley that’s been triple-distilled in copper pot stills, then aged in ex-Bourbon barrels for about four and a half years. At that point, McNally selects his barrels of whiskey.
Appearance: A neat pour in my Glencairn glass revealed a whiskey the color of bronze. A thick, heavy rim yielded sticky tears that slowly crawled back to the pool.
Nose: The journey began with an evident PX influence, with strawberry, apple, pear, and honey, followed by malt and buttery toffee from the Bourbon. When I inhaled through my mouth, honey and pear rolled across my tongue.
Palate: Thick and viscous, the whiskey imparted flavors of raw honey, stewed apple, and peach on the front of my palate. The middle consisted of malted barley, grass, and caramel, while the back featured cinnamon, oak, and graham crackers.
Finish: Cinnamon spice and oak tannins dominated the beginning, then syrupy honey seemed glued to my mouth and throat. Stewed peaches and apple pie filling slid by, with the whole shebang remaining for several minutes.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Limavady has a complex nose, an unusually thick mouthfeel, and a spicy, fruity palate. Its long-lasting finish gently warmed my throat, and I caught myself smiling as I analyzed the experience. To offer a 46% ABV single malt at $50.00 ranks this one heck of a bargain, and I can’t think of a single reason why it hasn’t earned my Bottle rating. On a side note, Limavady is one of the better Irish whiskeys I’ve sampled this year. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.