Kilbeggan advertises itself as the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland (1757). But, you may ask, what about Bushmills, which was licensed in 1608? Well, that license was for another distillery on the Bushmills site (the current Bushmills distillery was built during the Victorian era). Yet having said that, Kilbeggan today is distilled at Cooley, not the original old Kilbeggan distillery (where, however, it is matured and bottled). Confused yet? Welcome to the tangled web known as the history of Irish whiskey.
Beam bought Cooley Distillery from John Teeling a couple of years ago, and are putting more muscle behind marketing and distributing Kilbeggan, a brand with a long and checkered history. The current bottling of this standard entry level blend has an updated, more attractive design.
The colour is a light honey. On the nose, sweet corn with lemon curd, honey, and peaches and pears in syrup. Pecans. Beeswax. Very soft and fruity. Much like the Teeling I had yesterday (which is from the same distillery), water does nothing but thin out both the nose and palate (however, it is much better than the Teeling).
A rather thin mouthfeel, yes, but still pleasant. Much like the nose, we have honey and fruit, with subtle hints of lavender and cardamom. A little bit on the sweet side, but lovely to drink.
The finish is medium length, with buttered toast and caramel. This is definitely a grain-forward blend but it is very nice, simple and straightforward, though not distinctive. Extremely easy to drink, and recommended as a daily Irish dram that will not dent your wallet.