Please drink responsibly
Her curiosity and her instinct for people led her to seek out interesting traditions and places in every corner of the wine and spirits world. While she travelled far and wide, Louise would often return to her family farm in Cooraclare to recharge and take stock. During one of these trips home, Louise found herself rummaging through an old antique shop. In amongst the mahogany clocks, farm jugs and dusty shelves of glassware, Louise found an old label from a whiskey bottle. In 2 colour hand drawn type it raid “Mature Irish whiskey, bonded & carefully bottled by J.J. Corry. KIlrush Co. Clare.” This moment and this label just spoke to Louise and opened up the past (and her future place in the World of Irish whiskey).
Kilrush is a small port town just a few miles from Louise’s family farm in Cooraclare. Louise began to research who this old neighbour J.J. Corry was. Her searches through troves of local history revealed him to be an entrepreneur from another era—a Victorian merchant of many things—spirits, tea, bicycles, musical instruments, ammunition and much more. He ran a bustling business on Henry St in the small port town of Kilrush. But it was the phrase “bonded & carefully bottled” that held Louise’s attention.
She threw herself into understanding the traditional art of whiskey bonding—which had been lost for 100 years. Bonding was the art of creating fine spirits by mixing whiskies of different vintage from different stills, aged in different places in different barrels. A bonder would create unique flavours through this careful process of patiently mixing, aging and experimenting. At the end of the 19th century bonding was a key part of the Irish whiskey industry that fired thousands of stills large and small across the island.
She also realised that West County Clare was the perfect place to build a rackhouse to age and blend whiskey. The salty microclimate that bent trees with sideways rain was also a perfect climate for aging whiskey.
Louise began to bond in 2013, a time when many interesting distillers were firing to life across Ireland. When it came to looking for the final part of the craft of bonding—the choice of casks to age and flavour the spirit—Louise drew on her experiences from travelling the World before coming home. With her life now anchored in Cooralclare, Louise went out again into the World in search of the most interesting and inspired casks she could find in the Worlds of wine and spirit that she knew so well.