Established in 2012, Echlinville Distillery was the dream of local man, Shane Braniff, and in 2013 it became Northern Ireland’s first licenced distillery in over 125 years. Since then, his hard work has paid off as the distillery and brands are now firmly established in the whiskey industry, winning gold at the World Whiskey Awards and the Irish Whiskey Awards.
The new ultra-modern state of the art distillery, set in the magnificent grounds of the Echlinville Estate on the picturesque Ards peninsula, has rich soil, saline air and a temperate climate that contributes to producing the finest Irish Malt and Pot Still whiskeys.
Unusually the barley, used for each base spirit, is grown in the estate’s surrounding fields and floor malted in house (most other distilleries buy in their already-malted barley).
There are four brands produced by the distillery: the historic Dunville’s, the extremely popular Jawbox Gin, the self-titled Echlinville Gin and the modern and quirky FECKiN range – the brainchild of the founder Shane Braniff.
Almost 80 years after the last Dunville’s was distilled, the Echlinville Distillery revived the Dunville’s brand, and began distilling at their facility. There were over 100 years of sometimes turbulent history in the family owned distillery (and tea importer), Dunville & Co. Their most popular whiskey, Dunville’s VR, was launched in 1837 and named after Queen Victoria, when she ascended the throne. Unfortunately, Dunville & Co. was liquidated in 1936 due, in part, to family tragedies and Prohibition in the USA.
A Classic London Dry that is also the first single estate gin, made from grain harvested, distilled and bottled on the estate. Named after the jawbox – the colloquial name for the Belfast sink because it reflects what this gin stands for: ‘a time when the front door was left unlocked. When the kitchen was the scullery. And in the tiny scullery stood this big sink. Clothes and dishes and weans got washed there. A lot of craic was heard around a jawbox.’ Also, a tribute to Belfast is the recommendation to mix this gin with ginger ale as along with ship building, rope making and delicate linen weaving ginger ale was invented there.
Ireland’s first super-premium single estate pot still gin made using local botanicals to infuse the land and the sea – petals from the whin bush (gorse) and seaweed from Strangford Lough.
The name is the only non-serious part of this range and surprisingly it doesn’t translate to the other foul-mouthed swear word that quickly comes to mind. In Ireland, this challenging verb means to throw something or to keep a look out. From the late 19th century it was defined as ‘to steal’. Whatever you believe it means, it’s certainly eye catching, unconventional and it totally encapsulates the ‘craic’.
For 2017 the range got a fresh new look – a rectangular bottle and newspaper style double sided labelling with quirky news stories about ashtrays for motorcycles and ejector seats for helicopters, that will no doubt keep the imbiber entertained while sipping. Look out for FECKiN Gin and FECKiN Spiced Rum, due in stock soon.