Knappogue Castle lies in the west of Ireland, and dates from 1457. Like so many of Ireland’s old castles, it had fallen into disrepair until the 1950s, when it was purchased by an American entrepreneur named Mark Edward Andrews, who restored the castle to its former glory. Mr Andrews began stocking his castle with the best casks of Irish whiskey. During the 1960s, he obtained some barrels from the shuttered B. Daly Distillery, this later became the famous Knappogue 1951 vintage. In 1998 the Andrews’ son, Mark, formed Castle Brands Inc. and its first brand was Knappogue Castle Irish Single Malt Whiskey. To honour his father, the younger Andrews kept the label very similar in style to the original and continues to bottle the whiskey on a vintage basis.
This bottle is described on the label as “An unblended single malt whiskey. At least 12 years of age, distilled by one of the oldest distilleries for Knappogue Castle. Put down in 1958 in cask No. 39. Sealed in 1975 in bottle No. 119 for Mark Edwin Andrews, Knappogue Castle, Co. Clare. Product of Northern Ireland.”
This is a Knappogue Castle private bottling for Mark Edwin Andrews the founder of Knappogue Castle Whiskey. It is a 17 year old Single Cask Single Malt Irish Whiskey from 1958. This is an ultra-rare bottling, bottled at 92 degrees proof (46% abv) which would allow for quantities to be exported to the United States. It doesn’t take a lot to deduce that the whiskey is from Bushmills as it ‘distilled by one of the oldest distilleries’, it is a single malt and is a ‘Product of Northern Ireland’.
This is without doubt the oldest private bottling of Bushmills, excluding a few vintage distillery own bottlings in existence, and thus a prized centrepiece and talking point for any Bushmills collector.