THE team at the latest Fermanagh-based distillery, Scotts Irish Whisky, has “pulled out all the stops” in making a “whisky for everyone” as they prepare to unveil Fermanagh’s newest spirit to the market, says distiller John Donnelly.

Initially launching tonight, Thursday, November 25, at an event in London, Scotts Irish Whisky will also have a “home launch” in Fermanagh on Friday, December 3 in Blake’s of the Hollow’s Atrium bar.

John Donnelly is the distilling genius behind Scotts Irish, whose base is found in Garrison on the same land where the spark of inspiration for today’s product first ignited.

Scotts Irish Distillery gets its name from local man Angus Scott, who distilled alcohol on the waters of Scotts Farm on the banks of Lough Melvin before moving to America in the late 1790s to make his fortune selling bourbon.

Now, more than 200 years later, that initial dream of Angus is coming to fruition with a whisky soaked in the heritage of his home county and distilled by one of its own.

“We are all very excited to be launching the whisky,” John explained.

“It is something that is very close to our hearts and there has been an awful lot of hard work put in over the last number of years, but we are very pleased with what we have achieved, and when people taste the whisky they will be able to taste the quality,” he continued.

Distilling whisky is a combination of expert knowledge, mixed with patience, and in John’s case a passion for producing only the very best.

John explains the complexities of the distilling process that has gone into producing the whisky, which has been made with pure water using only the finest ingredients blended with peated malted barley for length, followed by rye and corn for sweetness.

The whisky has been matured over a five-year period in Chablis barrels – the gold standard for whisky distilling.

The barrels bring to the whisky a complexity and a grand cru standard, which marks it out as a product of uncompromising quality.

“The whisky is smooth in a very natural way,” John explains, before continuing: “It has a sweetness that is not overpowering and there is also a length and a flavour to the whisky. It gets better as you savour it.

“There is no harshness, and instead, the experience improves. We like to say it is almost ‘love at second sight’ as it lingers and stays with you.”

John has vast experience over more than 30 years as he has worked across Europe gaining an expertise as a winemaker and distiller of Armagnac before coming home to his native Fermanagh where he became a familiar face as one of the county’s top restaurateurs.

Describing his work with Scotts Irish Whisky, John simply says: “I’m passionate about it and it is what I love doing. We are very proud of this whisky.”

The people of Fermanagh will soon get to taste the labours of John’s work and the only thing remains is to ask John how he likes to take his Scotts Irish.