Friday, April 19, 2019


The Blackwater Distillery in Waterford, Ireland, has announced the launch of a five-year programme to bring native heritage grains back into the production of Irish whiskey.

In March this year, Blackwater was the first distillery in a generation to distil single malt from the ‘Hunter’ grain variety, once the most popular malting barley in Ireland.

Blackwater's Head Distiller John Wilcox

Blackwater has now distilled the first Pot Still Irish whiskey using 100% Hunter barley. The mash was made from equal parts malted, unmalted and green (germinated, but not been kiln dried) Hunter barley.

Hunter and Irish Goldthorpe are the first heritage barley grains to be used by Blackwater Distillery, and are just the start of an ambitious programme being run in conjunction with Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Commenting on the news, John Wilcox, Blackwater's Head Distiller, said: “This is a very exciting development and it’s amazing to taste the difference that comes from using heritage barley like Goldthorpe or Hunter.”

Over the next five years and working with local farmers, Blackwater Distillery will bulk out land race varieties like Old Irish and early 20th Century cultivars like Spratt Archer and bring them back into use. These traditional varieties are lower yielding but what they lack in bulk they make up for in flavour.

Posted by Steve Rush