An Carn will be a modern distillery in the heart of The Sperrins.
Mixing old with new, this is where tradition and innovation will meet.
An Carn Distillery was founded by whiskey lovers, with a mission to produce high-quality single malt whiskey with character, using traditional methods. Our hand-crafted approach to whiskey production will combine heritage, expertise, and an absolute commitment to quality.
Creating an authentic Sperrins whiskey…
Our desire is to source as many of our ingredients on our own doorstep as we can—An Carn will be a true taste of the Sperrins, using locally sourced barley and peat.
We believe that the highest quality barley produces the highest quality whiskey, and we are incredibly proud to be able to source our barley from the surrounding farmland in South Derry. There are few places so steeped in history, so rich in culture and with such fertile farmland. This land we love so well is renowned worldwide – etched in the imagination and memories of people far and wide. There really is something special in the Derry air, and in the wheat that does not rust.
The level of smokiness of a whiskey is determined by the time the barley grain is exposed to the pungent peat smoke during drying. Our homeland is rich in peat—An Carn peat will be cut and sourced from the local bogs in the middle of the Sperrin Mountains. This unique make-up peat adds layers of rich, smoky character to the whiskey that are truly individual. During the peating process the barley absorbs this beautifully distinct character of the peat, adding layers of complexity to the whiskey once distilled and matured. After peating and drying the malted barley is left to rest for a minimum of two weeks ahead of milling and mashing.
“As you plaited the harvest bow
You implicated the mellowed silence in you
In wheat that does not rust
But brightens as it tightens twist by twist
Into a knowable corona,
A throwaway love-knot of straw.”Seamus Heaney, The Harvest Bow
The An Carn Process & Production
In the mashing stage, malt is mixed with water to extract the starch, sugars, and other compounds and continue the conversion of starch into fermentable sugars. We have commissioned a custom-built, hand-operated 1-ton mash run, which will be put to work on a daily basis to extract fermentable sugars from the crushed barley grains. This liquid, known as wort, is then drained off to form the basis of the An Carn spirit, leaving behind the spent grain (the draff) which will be fed to our herd of cattle.
From the mash tun, the wort is moved into the washback, where fermentation takes place. This is the stage in the whiskey-making process that alcohol is produced, through the addition of yeast to the wort. Our fermentation will never be rushed, at almost double the industry standard, a 72-hour fermentation will allow for the development of complex esters and the build-up of lactic acid which produces creamy, buttery, and particularly fruity notes. This long fermentation time will be vital for producing the flavour that will ultimately flow through to our whiskey.
Our main still, Bel, is named after the Celtic God of cattle, crops, fertility, fire, healing, hot springs, prosperity, and last but not least, purification. Aptly named, as distilling brings together the entire whiskey-making process here at An Carn; from harvesting the crops to the refinement of the most exquisite Irish Whiskey. Our Whiskey will be double distilled using traditional copper pot stills. This will enable a slow but powerful cook for a more full-bodied spirit with a depth of flavour. As with all stages of production at An Carn, our stills will be carefully controlled by hand, allowing us to adapt to the natural variations of each distillation run.
Our single malt will be matured in a combination of cask types; we have carefully sourced the finest American oak and sherry casks. We will use a range of cask types as this allows flexibility to create a unique flavour to be produced. Our Master Distiller will personally monitor the progress of each and every cask, nosing and tasting regularly to select the optimum moment to bottle our whiskey. As well as bourbon and sherry casks we will also fill a number of speciality casks, constantly striving to create new and exciting finishes for future special editions and one-off releases.