Tuesday, August 22, 2023


Sliabh Liag Distillers, has today announced the launch of the first legally distilled whiskey from Donegal - on Irelands Wild Atlantic Way, for the first time in over 180 years.

Sliabh Liag – The Kilcar Release (46% ABV) is a double distilled, peated Irish single malt whiskey, which was matured in a first-fill Bourbon cask.

Sliabh Liag - The Kilcar Release

The painstaking efforts of Sliabh Liag Distillers have culminated in a remarkable achievement as they reintroduce Donegal’s distinctive smoky style – a style of Irish whiskey that had almost vanished. 

Made from Irish Craft Malts barley grown in Meath and malted over peat from Mín na bhFachraín, the spirit’s smoky profile is true to what was being distilled in Ulster 200 years ago, and like the county itself, it is a contrast to the rest of Ireland in character.

The Sliabh Liag – The Kilcar Release, which was distilled during the pandemic, is said to be exceptionally soft, with rich chocolate and citrus notes that complement its pronounced smoke.

Three of the earliest bottles in the run have already been auctioned for charity, with two going to support the people of Creeslough at the Dublin Donegal Business Association Person of the Year evening, and one to the child loss charity Rosabel’s Rooms in Galway.

Commenting on the launch, James Doherty, Distillery Founder, said: "Smoky Irish whiskey has a deep-rooted connection to Donegal and Sliabh Liag, our first single malt,  is about reminding whiskey lovers – and the world – of that. The art of distillation, ageing, and blending has been refined over centuries, and the northwest region of Ireland has contributed its own distinct touch. With a fusion of history, craftsmanship, and community, we are not just distilling a spirit; we are distilling the essence of Sliabh Liag, Donegal – its rugged landscapes, its resilient people, and its untamed spirit."
He went onto say: “This moment is not only about the whiskey itself but about reclaiming our identity, our traditions, and our history. While Burt Distillery ceased production in 1841, we know illegal distilling continued during the intervening years, not least by my grandfather who was creating a smoky, double distilled spirit under the authorities’ radar on the hills ‘up the glen’ in Kilcar. It’s a special feeling to be releasing a spirit named in his honour; the first legal whiskey in Donegal for nearly 200 years, and a bridge between generations of Donegal distillers.”

Limited to 100 bottles, Sliabh Liag – The Kilcar Release, which comes with a commemorative Tuath glass and a 2ml tasting sample, is now available via ballot by emailing: bigilinn@sliabhliagdistillers.com for a RRP of €300.00. 

Posted by Steve Rush