Galway’s Micil Distillery has released an exciting range of four new Irish spirits to close out 2021. We sat down with Mark McLaughlin, Head of Marketing & Brand Management at Micil Distillery, to discuss each spirit and just why they decided to release four new products simultainously.
The new releases are the results of 18 months of innovation and development. The end result is an extensive new portfolio of products. The releases include two whiskeys, an Irish cream liqueur and a spiced orange gin.
It’s been a busy year at Micil that also saw the laying down of Galway’s first whiskey in over 100 years and the launch of the Síolta Mhicil Cask Ownership offering.
For Mark, it’s been an incredibly busy period that was kickstarted back in March 2020.
The COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns had a profound effect on the trajectory of Micil Distillery. “Prior to the pandemic we were dominantly focused on the on-trade domestically which meant our main market took a massive hit. We had begun the initial ground work on the development of new products but with lockdowns and limited opportunity to break into the off-trade in a big way, we reassessed and focused as much of our resources as we could on new product development in the past 18 months,” explained Mark.
“This included hiring a third member to our management team so we could take on the extra workload. We embarked on a campaign to gain as much support and buy-in as we could from local bodies such as Bord Bia, Tourism Ireland, LEO Galway, Udaras na Gaeltachta, the Western Development Commission and more. This led to our taking part in the Food Works program and Bord Bia’s Brand Accelerator programs,” said Mark.
The end result is four exceptional new Irish spirits, but their simultainous release was far from intentional. Mark explained: “We’d be lying to you if we said the initial plan was to release all 4 products at the same time, but with multiple delays in supply chain, manufacturers pulling out of agreements and the natural delays of just wanting to ensure we got these products perfect, it all fell into place for release now.”
Chief amongst the new releases is Micil Inverin Small Batch Blended Irish Whiskey. “This started by us creating a 5 component blend using mature whiskeys sourced from the Great Northern Distillery which all but one were matured in ex-bourbon casks with one of the grain whiskey components maturing in Virgin oak,” explained Mark.
“This blend was then split between 225 litre Pedro Ximenez casks, 140 litre re-char Bourbon casks, with an additional component being matured in a 50 litre Chestnut cask which had previously held our Peated Micil Heritage Poitín.”
Next up is the Micil Earls Island Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. For this, Micil “Took a mature triple distilled single pot still component which had been maturing in ex-bourbon casks and finished it in Bordeaux red wine casks, making up 75.5% of the final bottling, and Peated whisky quarter casks, making up 24.5% of the final bottling,” said Mark.
For the Micil Spiced Orange Gin, the team took the 17 base botanicals for their Micil Irish Gin and turned it into something even more unique. “It includes locally picked Connemara flowers & herbs, bog bean, bog myrtle, heather and hawberry, and we amplified the flavour profile with orange zest and warming clove,” said Mark.
The resulting gin has a contemporary flavour profile. Juniper plays a balancing role while the other botanicals are allowed to shine, giving lots of floral, cirtus, and spice notes.
The Final product is Micil Connemara Irish Cream, a West of Ireland take on an Irish Classic. Mark dscribed the liqueur as “A luxurious blend of sweet Irish whiskey, rich Irish cream, and smooth Connemara Poitín”.
It’s an incredible way to round out the year for sure. Turning the business from a niche distiller of Poitín and gin into a broader, diversified spirits producer with whiskey and Irish cream liqueur products is no easy task.
Not content to sit back after 18 months of hard work, Micil already has plans for further new releases. “We have at least two new limited edition extensions to this range coming in the first quarter of 2022,” teased Mark.
In the coming weeks Micil will also be launching a brand new e-commerce website, initially shipping domestically and throughout Europe.
Looking ahead to 2022, Mark said the team will be looking to increase distribution for the new portfolio on the island of Ireland. They’re also planning to open up to new markets globally.