August 8, 2021 — In Ireland in the 19th and 20th centuries, Bonders were responsible for blending and bottling whiskey. These individuals ranged from publicans and merchants to independent bottlers, who sourced new make spirits from distilleries which they aged in their own casks, before blending and bottling for local customers. In the parish of Cooraclare in County Clare, just such a person was J.J. Corry, an acclaimed local Whiskey Bonder and merchant. In the 1930s, the Irish Whiskey industry collapsed and with that, Irish Whiskey Bonding became virtually extinct. But J.J. Corry is back and it is an inspiring story.
Just three miles from J.J. Corry’s store location, Louise McGuane grew up on a farm which had been in the family from at least the 17th century. Louise wasn’t cut out to be a farmer and instead pursued a career in the spirits business working in various countries around the world for major drinks companies such as Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Moet Hennessy. Eventually she returned to the farm with the idea of producing her own brand of Irish whiskey. It was then that she discovered the lost tradition of Bonding when she came across an old J.J. Corry label from the 1890s leading her to delve into the history of Bonding.
In 2015 McGuane founded The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Co. A bonded Rackhouse was built on the McGuane Family Farm and the lost art of Irish Whiskey Bonding was resurrected.
Launching J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey, Louise McGuane became the first Whiskey Bonder in Ireland in well over 50 years, restoring the name and time-honored tradition. Today, McGuane and her all-female team source whiskey from throughout the island of Ireland, building unique blends derived from their unparalleled library of Irish Whiskey flavors, all brought together at the McGuane Family Farm on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
Just released and in stores now is the highly anticipated Batch No. 3 of The Gael,
a 60% Malt, 40% Grain blend of some of the oldest whiskeys J.J. Corry has in stock ranging in age from 7 to 26 years. Batch No. 3 of the flagship release represents the fruit bomb house style with layers of complexity, with hints of fresh bergamot and beeswax and a taste of ripe white stone fruit and lime with minerality and pink pepper corns. The blend has a medium length finish with dried grapefruit and apple notes. (As we have yet to taste it, the description comes from the master blender’s tasting notes.) The suggested retail is $80.00.
Other offerings from J.J. Corry currently available in the U.S. include The Hanson (SRP: $60.00), a blend of Irish Grain Whiskeys carefully sourced from different distilleries, comprised of varying ages of whiskeys in ex-bourbon barrels. The Hanson is a bright, fruit-forward Irish Whiskey, mellowed with toasted coconut and notes of rich vanilla fudge.
The J.J. Corry web site is worth a visit. You’ll find out why it is called The Gael and how the weather on the Wild Atlantic Way affects ageing. We are quite certain whiskey lovers and collectors alike are going to be waiting for every release from this innovative “old” producer.