This week we bring you an interview with Alex Conyngham, the founder of Slane, one of the most popular brands in the Irish whiskey category. Slane received critical acclaim for his smooth, well-balanced taste profile, and we spoke to Alex at the Bar Convent Berlin.
Can you say something about yourself and your brand?
“My name is Alex Conyngham. I founded Slane with my father Henry in partnership with the Brown-Forman Corporation. Slane is a beautiful place in Ireland and my family’s home is called Slane Castle. Music and rock values have always been respected in our home, and songs by the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Springsteen, Metallica, etc. have been played there. We entered the whiskey business because music and whiskey complement each other perfectly. In addition, I am a farmer, I grow barley on our land and run a traditional distillery located near the castle. We have been producing barley for hundreds of years and at one point we thought “why would we produce barley for food when we can make whiskey from it”.
Are you proud of the fact that you take care of the whole process – from the production of barley to the final product?
We love the impression that we take care of everything. And we are proud to produce our product from the field to the glass, all by ourselves. ”
What is the impact of pot style on the final product?
The introduction of unsmalted barley does two fundamental things. It contributes to the very creamy feel of the product and gives it a silky texture, but it also naturally spices it up. When the product matures in barrels, these spicy notes come to the fore. Our pot style is not as perfect as the others, it takes more time to fully develop, but what you will surely get from our product is that creamy taste. It’s also our unique Irish way of distilling whiskey. ”
I had the opportunity to think of Slane as a whiskey that can be drunk alone, with ice, in a cocktail, in all its forms… How do you suggest it?
Whatever suits you. Let everyone drink it in a way that suits them. All I want is to make a whiskey that will be good enough in all forms.
Favorite cocktail with Slane?
One of my favorites is the Boulevardier with Slane.”
What about the aging process in Slane?
“We have different levels of age at Slane. Our youngest whiskey is 4 to 5 years old. But we also have some much older ones. ”
How many barrels do you currently have in stock?
“A lot, really a lot. Thousands. We have three different whiskeys and are still trying different types of wood. We experiment, so we really have a lot of them. ”
Can we expect whiskey from Irish oak barrels in fifty years?
“Yes, that would be great. We have planted our own trees and expect to one day produce barrels from our own, native Irish oak. We have a beautiful oak tree around the castle, but it should be specially selected for making barrels. ”
Do you recommend a visit to the castle to Croatian visitors?
“Absolutely. Our distillery was built with the idea of being open to visitors. It is possible to smell and try the products, see the manufacturing process… We are 30 minutes away from Dublin Airport. ”