Recently, Joan Scales, our editor, and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Pearse Lyons Distillery located in the old St. James’s Church on St. James’s Street for a guided tour and a whiskey tasting. The distillery will reopen to visitors tomorrow, Thursday 7 October.
Pearse Lyons Distillery at St. James is a new chapter for The Liberties, Dublin. Family history, a personal passion for brewing and distilling, and an entrepreneurial spirit have inspired the restoration of St. James’ Church, that was formerly a Church of Ireland church.
Here Dr. Pearse Lyons found that he had more than a passing association with the church when research identified many of his ancestors buried in the church yard. Dr. Lyons was founder and president of Alltech an American company based in Kentucky. Alltech develops agricultural products for the animal feel, meat, brewing and distilling industries. Dr. Lyons passed away in 2018, and the distillery has been mainly closed for the past year due to pandemic restrictions.
Whiskey and History Mingle
At Pearse Lyons Distillery, whiskey is only part of their story. Whether you are an intrepid whiskey enthusiast, culturally curious or just an inquisitive visitor, you are sure to enjoy a journey through 800 years of history at the St. James Church with local storytellers.
The Distillery Tour gives an insight into the whiskey heritage and stories behind the iconic Dublin district known as The Liberties. Visitors can also touch, taste and smell every step of the distilling process, meet with the distillers and taste the signature Pearse Irish Whiskey.
A blended 5-Year-Old Irish Whiskey aged in all Bourbon barrels. This whiskey is a grain and malt blend and contains malt whiskey produced in Pearse Lyon’s own stills on-site as part of the blend.
A blended 7-Year-Old Irish Whiskey of grain and malt whiskeys predominantly aged in Bourbon barrels with a small amount of Sherry barrel-aged whiskey in the mix. This Irish Whiskey contains Pearse Lyon’s own single malt.
Pearse Founder’s Choice is a 12-year-old Single Malt aged in ex-Bourbon barrels from their sister distillery, Town Branch Distillery in Lexington Kentucky.
5-Year-Old Single Malt
The release of Pearse 5-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey in 2018 marked a historic milestone in the evolution of the Irish whiskey distilling industry. It was the first five-year age statement Irish Whiskey to appear from a new distillery in the whole of Ireland in more than 25 years. Presented in 4,000 individually numbered bottles, this limited release 5-Year-Old Single Malt was produced on Pearse Lyon’s two small-batch copper pot stills and aged in bourbon casks.
The design and packaging of our Pearse 5-Year-Old Single Malt bottle are inspired by the former church of St. James, now home to Pearse Lyons Distillery.
Marraige of Malt
This is the first bottling of a distillery exclusive at Pearse Lyons Distillery. This limited release of 888 bottles showcases both Pearse Lyon’s own whiskey and their dedication to the craft of working with the best barrels for optimal spirit maturation. It very much follows in the flavour footprints of their previously released 5-year single malt but with a new level of complexity. The use of rich PX Sherry casks in tandem with the inclusion of older sourced malt makes this a deliciously complex sipping whiskey.
Cooper’s Select was their first limited edition Pearse Irish Whiskey. Released in 2017, alongside their core range, it is no longer available. They chose the name both as a tribute to Pearse’s ancestors who owned their own cooperage in Dublin making high-quality barrels for the Irish Whiskey industry. And because the maturation of this whiskey was focused on specific barrel selections that inform its rich flavour profile.
Ha’Penny Dublin Dry Gin
Ha’Penny Dublin dry gin is a small batch pot distilled gin featuring thirteen expertly selected botanicals offering a unique flavour and taste inspired by Dublin.
Ha’Penny Rhubarb Gin
The Ha’Penny Rhubarb is a refreshing, distinctively pink small batch pot distilled gin featuring the finest rhubarb alongside thirteen expertly selected botanicals. Named after the iconic Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin, the range features geranium, dandelion, lavender and blackberry. These are all botanicals which would have been growing in the nearby Phoenix Park in Victorian times when the bridge was built.
Míl is an Irish pot still gin, distilled with fragrant Mediterranean botanicals and bursting with southern sunshine. This small-batch gin is distilled with almond, basil, bergamot orange, gooseberry, juniper, olives, orris, rosemary and thyme.
Pearse Lyons Distillery is reopening from 7 October for guided tours and tastings. Tours run hourly from 12pm-5pm, Thursday to Saturday.
The tours start from €20. There are exclusive add-ons, check out the different tour options here.