A tasting tour of the Dingle Distillery is yet another highlight of the town’s incredible food and drink culture

Archive - all the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Maybe it was because our visit to the Dingle Distillery – an old converted sawmills at The Wood, just on the Ventry Road out of the town – took place on the day after the launch of Dingle’s Single Malt whiskey, but there was certainly something giddy and unrestrained about the spirit of the place as Joe Joyce led a group of us through a talk and tasting of the malt itself and of the young Dingle clear spirit.
The whiskey has been maturing in oak barrels for 4 years. We are already familiar with Dingle Gin and Dingle Vodka, spirits that don’t have to mature in cask, unlike whiskey. But just imagine what it must feel like to finally bottle the first new whiskey made by an independent distiller in Ireland for 25 years, a whiskey that they have been looking at for 4 years, ever since the spirit was first placed into the oak barrels.
So, what’s it like? It’s smooth, it’s got a pronounced sweetness, it’s mouth-filling and – improbably – it made me think of digestive biscuits, in the nicest way imaginable. There is a resinous note, touches of dried fruit, and it’s voluptuous, but the sweet notes at the top are the defining take-away, though adding a drop of cold water may flatten them somewhat.
So there we were in Dingle, listening to Joe give the funniest talk about the history of whiskey I have ever heard, sipping the Dingle Single Malt the day after it’s birth: I guess we were wetting the baby’s head.
The sense of excitement the crew demonstrate is contagious. I mean, you should see what they have done with old shipping containers, and you should see what they are going to do with the old waterwheel at the back.
They’ve only just begun. Get there early, because this is the latest, and one of the greatest, additions to the pantheon of great food and drink experiences in Dingle.