by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

The unique An Chead Dún cask release from Hinch Distillery contains their first ever distillation of Irish Single Malt spirit, using traditional Irish distilling methods combined with Hinch’s bespoke distilling techniques. Through maturation in the finest American Bourbon Oak Casks, this spirit will develop into an Irish whiskey over a number of years and will be sought after by some of the world’s most ardent whiskey collectors and connoisseurs.


An Chead Dún, which translates from Gaelic as ‘The First Down’, is the first single malt spirit and ultimately whiskey, released by Hinch Distillery. It represents the marriage of traditional Irish distilling skills with ageing in American Oak casks from the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Kentucky USA, whose origins date back from 250 years ago when the Samuel’s family emigrated from the north of Ireland and started distilling. It seemed totally appropriate, with this shared ancestry, to use Maker’s Mark casks in the Hinch cask programme.

The team at Hinch believe that the An Chead Dún release will perfectly represent the brand’s core values and align perfectly with the distillery motto: “DISTILLED BY THE BOLD. CHARACTER IS EVERYTHING.”

Only 161 casks will be made available in recognition of the origins of the 161-year-old Killaney Estate on which the distillery sits. Each cask can be secured for a price tag that reflects the very limited number of casks being filled and the exclusivity of becoming a member of a club with a maximum of 161 members.

Each cask owner will receive a rare, limited-edition gift presentation box containing a bottle of Hinch 18 Year Old Single Malt and Château de la Ligne Grande Reserve wine, in addition to a small ‘memento bottle’ of the original spirit before it enters the cask. The An Chead Dún package is also inclusive of all bottling costs and labels which will allow an element of personal messaging.

Distilling has just commenced at Hinch Distillery which is a £15M project by local businessman, Dr Terry Cross OBE. Terry says:

“What makes each whiskey unique is its individual interaction with the oak cask. Traditionally, Irish whiskeys are often matured in oak casks that previously held other wines or spirits, in order to add new layers of flavour to the maturing spirit. Those casks may be reused many times but An Chead Dún whiskey will only be placed in ‘First Fill’ casks. This means the wood will ultimately have a much greater influence on the final Irish whiskey in terms of both flavour and colour.

“An Chead Dún Cask presents a unique opportunity for enthusiasts to be a part of the very start of Hinch’s whiskey journey, one that is shaped by the past but building for the future, here in the heart of County Down”.

Speaking about the unique distillate of An Chead Dún, Hinch Distillery Head Distiller, Aaron Flaherty, adds: “Hinch whiskeys are inspired by the distilling traditions and skills exchanged over the centuries during the ebb and flow of Gaelic peoples across the Irish Sea.

“We are delighted to be achieving consistently bigger, bolder flavours in our first Single Malt that are mellow and rounded in mouth-feel. The new make spirit is as good as we had hoped, balancing an early honeyed profile with under-lying power and some intriguing spiciness. Indeed, we are confident the quality of the casks will add wonderful new layers of flavour and complexity to the whiskey that will only be revealed in years to come.

“Cask owners can expect fuller, bolder and more intense flavours from our An Chead Dún spirit, as will also be the case with all our other Hinch whiskies in years to come. For me, it’s all about creating Irish whiskey with as much strong and individual character as possible.”

Mr Flaherty said he expects demand for An Chead Dún Cask to be oversubscribed and urged interested parties to contact the distillery as soon as possible to secure their very own taste of history. The An Chead Dún cask is priced at £4,950. For more information on the cask programme, view https://tinyurl.com/AnCheadDunCaskBrochure

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Dr Terry Cross OBE is pictured with Aaron Flaherty, Head Distiller at Hinch Distillery.

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