J J Corry

In 2012, Louise McGuane returned home to Ireland’s west coast, following a global drinks career (Diageo, Moet, and Pernod Ricard,) with plans to start a distillery. During her research her plans took a rather different turn. She discovered a label bearing the name of a whiskey bonder called J.J. Corry. Further investigation uncovered the fact that he lived only 3 miles from her family farm as well.

These whiskey bonders operated during the so-called golden age’ of Irish Whiskey, during the 19th and 20th centuries. At this time there were distilleries operating on the island of Ireland and most did not bottle their own produce, thus they sold their new make spirit wholesale to the Bonders to age, blend and bottle. These Bonders were the publicans, grocers and shop owners, some of which created their own brands and some just sold individual distilleries spirit under their name.
This type of operation was very common in Scotland, where the likes of James Walker, James Buchanan and John Haig had established popular blended whiskies bearing their own names. Sadly, the Irish Whiskey Industry collapsed in the 1930s and the few remaining distilleries cut off the Bonders’ supply, leaving Irish Whiskey Bonding to die out.

Coming back to JJ. Corry, it could be said that he as a serial entrepreneur, long before the term was used. More accurately I suppose he would have been called a jack of all trades. He owned a shop in Kilrush, where he sold his "Corry's Special Malt". He also specialised in a wide variety of produce including wine, rum, port, and even bicycles! In fact, he was known as a bit of an inventor and in the 1890's invented a bicycle called "The Gael". After J.J. passed away in 1932, his daughter took over the shop until she passed away in the 1980's. When the shop was sold off, there were many papers documenting his life, along with labels for his bottles.

So, in 2015 Louise founded The Chapelgate Irish Whiskey Company with the plan to revive the idea of the Whiskey Bonder. Thus, she has built a purpose built bonded rackhouse on the family farm, and began sourcing new make and mature Whiskey stocks from multiple distilleries, building an unparalleled library of Irish Whiskey flavours. Currently their range consists of The Hanson, which is a meticuluous blend of Four, nine and ten years old Irish grain whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels. A blended Irish Whiskey called the Gael, comprised of 50% Malt / 50% Grain and includes some of their oldest casks. The range is completed by a bottling called the Flintlock. This is another small batch bottling of 3 casks of single malt aged 14-18 years and is named after a pistol found concealed in the rafters of J.J. Corry's 17th-century Tasting Barn.
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