Sliabh Liag Distillery
Sliabh Liag Distillery is located on the Sliabh Liag peninsula in Ireland’s northwestern-most county of Donegal.
The establishment of Sliabh Liag Distillers marks the first time in 175 years that legal distilling has happened in Donegal, an area of Ireland that unjustly doesn’t get the economic attention or investment that perhaps it should.
The distillery was founded by husband and wife team James and Moira Doherty. They uprooted their family from Hong Kong to pursue a passion and continue a family tradition. Their brands are inspired by James’s grandfather’s old poteen and whiskey recipes that were given to him by his grandmother. With these recipes in hand, the duo have set about not just building a distillery, but building two distilleries, and more importantly building a community, a business and an industry that can help support this area of Ireland.
Sliabh Liag Distillers are passionate about authenticity, and they’ve set out to recreate the rich liquids and smoky Irish whiskies from before the industrial revolution.
Their whiskeys – The Legendary Silkie and The Legendary Dark Silkie are named after local legends of the Silkie, or Selkie seals: the legendary shape-shifters who shed their seal skins to come ashore as beautiful sea maidens or handsome men with enchanting voices, only to eventually return to the sea leaving broken hearts.
The distillery for their gin, An Dúlamán, was established in 2017 just outside the village of Carrick, Co. Donegal. Here they utilize a 500-litre hand-beaten copper still from Forsyths of Scotland. Moira named the copper still Méabh (phonetically may–ve) which means “she who intoxicates” and sometimes “bringer of great joy”. They also produce Assaranca Vodka which is infused with local berries and blossoms.
The Dohertys have taken on the massive task of building a new whiskey distillery. With a novel approach, they sought investors and have been joined and supported by people all over the world. A sure sign of very special things to come.
Sliabh Liag’s Ardara Distillery is expected to be completed in 2020. Ardara will produce Irish whiskey in both Single Malt and iconic Pot Still variants. These are planned to reflect the authentic style in which Donegal whiskey was made in the 19th century. Triple distilled, rich, smoky and peated, the whiskies will share in the folklore of Donegal.
The distillery is set to house the still house and barrel store and eventually a visitor center and the An Dúlamán Gin Distillery and Poitín museum.