In this excerpt from the Little Book of Irish Whiskey (Harper Collins), we meet Eoin Holmes, the independent micro distiller carving his very own niche in Co Mayo
Distiller Eoin Holmes is gathering elderflower in the hills around Lough Measc in the wilds of Mayo. It’s just one of the botanicals he and his family gather by hand to enrich the popular gin and vodka that fuels his business as he waits for his whiskey to mature. Honeysuckle and fuschia are also stockpiled at the distillery near the lake where his boat sits patiently, waiting for him to find time to return to fish for brown trout.
It’s only ten months since he started distilling in the abandoned factory that has become the Lough Measc distillery and it hasn’t left much time for taking to the water since. His two alambhric stills bring a striking beauty to the concrete walls of the building that rises up here in what he describes as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Lakes and mountains define this place and, not surprisingly, the water in his spirit is pulled straight from Lough Measc itself.
There are a few years to go before this tiny distillery reveals the double-distilled single malt that it is creating, but visitors won’t be disappointed while they wait. As they pull in off the Wild Atlantic Way they will discover a truly romantic tale of a small, craft business fighting to succeed on the side of a mountain. Holmes has built a smokery behind the distillery, where he plans to smoke barley to add that rare ingredient in Irish whiskey – peat.
Lough Measc is a hand-made, traditional place, stuffed with life and big personality with much to teach us about the value of small things.
Contact: Lough Measc Distillery, Tourmakeady, Co Mayo. Web: Loughmaskdistillery.com
What they’re saying about the Little Book of Irish Whiskey:
The LA Times: “The outcome of this grand experiment will be one of the most exciting unveilings of the year,” writes Gary Quinn in his indispensable guidebook “Irish Whiskey.”
The Irish Times: “Invaluable book for the aficionado on the best of Irish whiskey.”
The Spirits Business: Unmissable spirits books for Spring 2020