Tuesday 19 November 2019

Lambay Island scion joins the Anglo-Irish whiskey rush

Lambay's magnificent buildings were designed by the architect Edward Lutyens
Lambay's magnificent buildings were designed by the architect Edward Lutyens

Gretchen Friemann

Lord Revelstoke, who lives in the castle on Lambay Island, off the coast of north Dublin, is set to become the latest Anglo-Irish aristocrat to launch a whiskey venture amid a global boom in the amber liquor.

Records lodged with the Companies Office show the new business, entitled Lambay Irish Whiskey Company, was formed in February in partnership with a French boutique producer of cognac, Camus Cognac.

Lord Revelstoke, the seventh, or Alexander Rupert Baring, a scion of the banking dynasty that founded Barings Bank - which collapsed under debts amassed by rogue trader Nick Leeson - joins a busy field in Ireland's craft-spirits sector.

Whiskey production, in particular, has caught the fancy of some of the State's best-known landed aristocrats.

Lord Henry Mountcharles and his son Alex, of Slane Castle, Co Meath, sold their family's liqour company to the American drinks giant Brown-Forman, the maker of global brands such as Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort and Finlandia vodka .

The $50m (€43.7m) investment ushered in the construction of a sprawling distillery on the grounds of Slane Castle, with the first bottle of triple-cask matured whiskey officially launched in April.

The Slazenger family, who own the Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, have also joined the rush to craft spirits, and unveiled plans recently for a €10m whiskey distillery and visitor centre on the grounds of their estate.

It is understood that Lord Revelstoke's venture, backed by Camus Cognac, which had also entered into discussions with Lord Mountcharles before the Slane Castle owner struck a deal with Brown-Forman, will launch this month.

The whiskey is expected to be produced in Cork with water sourced from Lambay Island.

Sources said Lord Revelstoke also intends to restore the 'real tennis' court at the family estate. Lambay is best known for its immaculately preserved buildings designed by the noted architect, Edward Lutyens.

The estate also boasts a now dilapidated ‘real tennis’ court, which was the forerunner of both tennis and squash, although its arcane rule system renders it a niche sport.

Irish Independent

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