Please drink responsibly
Working with his family, Rafa creates high quality virgin casks with Spanish, American & European oak. His casks have a great reputation and are used by wine and sherry producers across the region. But it was Rafa’s enthusiasm for his historical cask series that caught Louise’s attention and brought her here. On our endless hunt for unique casks of exceptional character we jumped at the opportunity to visit Montilla to experience the cooperage and examine casks used for Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez (PX) & sherry wines. From the sweetness of Oloroso to the dryness of Fino, the casks of Andalucia offer a range of flavour possibilities for the maturation of fine spirits back on our Co. Clare home.
Other barrels are charred on-site to the exact specifications of producers, the flames “open” the wood, allowing the spirit to soak up more unique flavors. The carbon smooths the flavor and takes that sharp edge off the whiskey. After the cacophony and the smells of cut timber and charred casks, we stepped into the quieter recesses of the warehouse where we were introduced to Rafa’s wide range of historic casks. Here Rafa has gathered the legacy casks from many of the wine producing bodegas of the region.
After the noise of the cooperage it’s nice to amble amongst the dimly lit old casks - robust and full of character. Here we find rows and rows of flavour profiles and possibilities. The more time we spend with such barrels, the more we enjoy the process of hand picking the ones we want to bring back to Cooraclare.
The traditions and culture of places like Rafa’s Montilla always leave the greatest impression. It’s these traditions of craft that guide our vision for our whiskey and reminds us that the evolving tradition isn’t a means to an end, but a compelling part of what makes whiskey a rewarding pursuit.
With the excitement of knowing our casks would follow us home we set out on a secondary mission - to find out a little more about the famous Bodega Garvey- a hugely successful fino wine producer that was founded in 1776 by Irishman William Garvey. He came here to buy merino sheep for his herd - and never left… Such is the power of these hills!