Whisky Advocate

New: Knappogue Castle 1994 Vintage Irish Whiskey

January 13th, 2010

There’s a new Knappogue Castle Irish Whiskey hitting the shelves. This one is a 1994 vintage and it’s limited to 1,000 individually numbered, hand-signed bottles (by President Mark Andrews). Price: $100.

Interestingly, the back label says the whiskey is triple-distilled. Knappogue Castle bottles have historically come from either Cooley or Bushmills. If it is indeed triple-distilled, it would mean the latter, as Cooley whiskeys are double-distilled.

I was just doing some more digging. A 15 year old was released in the fall of 2008, and that one was from Cooley, as it consisted of whiskeys from the “Cooley” era (1990-1992 vintage releases). You can see my review of it here. That one cost $100 too.

This new one, being a 1994 vintage, would put it smack in the middle of the Bushmills era (1993-1995 vintage releases), confirming the back label’s assertion that it is triple-distilled. You can see my “secret decoder ring” post on Knappogue Castle whiskey here. Apparently, they held some of the Bushmills whiskey back for additional aging, just like they did with the Cooley whiskeys for the 15 year old bottling.

I will be getting a review sample. I’ll let you know my thoughts.

18 Responses to “New: Knappogue Castle 1994 Vintage Irish Whiskey”

  1. Texas says:

    Forgive my ignorance of Irish Whiskey, but what’s the main difference (other than 1 year) between this and the 1995 vintage Knappogue Castle that I saw just the other day for $39?

  2. John Hansell says:

    Texas, the main difference is age. This new one is probably five years or more older.

  3. Texas says:


  4. If you ask me the main difference is this is a limited run of 1000 bottles with fancy packaging only from possibly 3 casks and aimed at the collectors market.

    However a marriage from 3 casks could also mean it is quite markedly different in character.

    For the record there has been 2 1995 batch releases which are large batches. The first was released in 2007 which made it a 11-12yo the second batch with the new label was released in 2009 would be a 13-14yo. This 1994 limited release is probably a 15yo possibly a 16yo.

    Wish I could get my hands on a couple bottles but I fear this is only for the US market 🙁

  5. John Hansell says:

    Irishwhiskychaser: yes, I was referring to the U.S. releases in my postings. It appears, from your comment, that different bottlings have been available over the years, depending on which side of the pond you’re on. Thanks for the update.

  6. John M says:

    We never got the 1991 or 1992 over here… Or the 15-yr-old one.

    I wonder do these casks mature in Ireland or in America. Is there a rule about where they are matured like there is in Scotland? Will have to source a few of these ones.


  7. Adam H. says:

    I’m not thrilled with the price on this one, but the “original” Knappogue 1994 was a great whisky, particularly for the price… so much so that I put away a nice stash of it that I break out as “party whisky.” It’s always met with love. I thought the ’93, ’94, and ’95 all were/are great. Thanks for the heads-up, John. Looking forward to the review.

  8. Gary says:

    I have enjoyed Knappogue Castle in the past but not at $100. I may have to think twice about trying to find a bottle of this. But, I look forward to your review John. Thanks for the update.

  9. John Hansell says:

    John M,: I don’t know where the casks were matured. I was assuming at the distillery, but it could have been anywhere in Ireland.

    While I doubt it was the case, they could have stored the whiskey at Knappogue Castle. That would have been a nice PR move, displaying the casks at the castle for visitors to see–and then selling the whiskey at the gift shop.

    Gary, Adam H.: My only issue with the original releases from Bushmills was that I felt they were a little “young” and would have liked to see more aging. In fact, I remember having discussions with Jim Murray (who selected those Bushmills casks)about the “youthfulness” of those bottlings. Of course, we didn’t see eye-to-eye on that one.

    Well, it looks like I’m getting my wish, with this new bottling–an older expression. Let’s hope the exra aging has paid off.

  10. Always enjoyed Knappogue Castle, especially for its maltiness. Look forward to the review.

  11. Gary says:

    Question is this in stores now? Or better yet, when will it be available.

  12. John Hansell says:

    Gary, I don’t know for certain, but I would expect the bottles to be on the shelves well in time for St. Paddy’s Day.

  13. Greg Gilbert says:

    I have a relative visiting from the UK and asked them to bring me an Irish Whiskey which was this exact bottle. Lucky me!

  14. John M says:


    Are you sure it was this one? There’s another 1994 available. This one doesn’t seem to have been released yet, and it might not make it to this side of the pond. I could be wrong, of course.


    • Greg G. says:

      John M – you are correct, my mistake. I went back and looked and I have the Castle ’95. I plan on opening that bottle during an Irish Whiskey and Bourbon throwdown.

  15. Gary says:

    Thanks for the update John! 🙂

  16. Barbara says:

    So I have a knappogue castle 1994 very special reserve, single malt whiskey. Would this be the first release? It’s been hanging around for awhile so it must be right?

  17. Mlungisi Makubalo says:

    i want to know if there are any distributors in South Africa.

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