Dunville, once the best-known Irish Whiskey brand that was established in Belfast in 1801, is back on the market again after more than 80 years.

The new Dunville Irish Whiskey is being produced at Echlinville Distillery, based at Kircubbin, near picturesque Strangford Lough, in county Down, which was granted a licence to distil whiskey last year.

Consignments of the historic Dunville whiskey have already been shipped to customers in Britain, other parts of Europe and the US.

Shane Braniff, managing director of Echlinville House Distillery in Kircubbin, with the Dunville Irish Whiskey casks
Shane Braniff, managing director of Echlinville House Distillery in Kircubbin, with the Dunville Irish Whiskey casks

Shane Braniff, managing director and founder of Echlinville Distillery, who also formed the Feckin Irish Whiskey brand in 2005, commenting on the rebirth of the Dunville brand, says: “Bringing one of the best-known Irish whiskey brands back to life is tremendously exciting. Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the North of Ireland was the biggest producer of Irish whiskey worldwide. 

“It is now becoming one of the most popular brown spirits in countries such as the US along with many other international markets.

“I established Echlinville last year to build on Northern Ireland’s tremendous heritage in whiskey distilling, to develop the Feckin brand further and, perhaps most importantly, to revive great international brands like Dunville. There’s tremendous interest in the brand and orders, even at this very early stage, are developing nicely. 

“We are currently shipping some product to distributors and customers in the US, France and other European countries. Whiskey, of course, has to mature in a cask for at least three years. We are able to provide the Dunville whiskey now because we were able to purchase a consignment from another Irish distillery and finish and blend it ourselves. This stock is limited and will disappear long before our own product comes to market in late 2016, and from the look of things will be well worth the wait! ”

In 1837, Dunville launched its best-known pot still whiskey brand, the premium VR, named after Queen Victoria, and in 1869 the company built Belfast’s biggest distillery, Royal Irish Distillers. While the whiskey was shipped worldwide, the biggest market was the US until Prohibition in the 1920s. The company never recovered from this setback and production of whiskey ceased in 1935, although profitable the business was liquidated the following year.

 Echlinville Distillery was granted a license to distil whiskey in Northern Ireland in May 2013 – the first in the north of Ireland in over 125 years. Mr Braniff is now developing a state-of-the art distillery complex on the Echlinville Estate in county Down.

Tasting Notes for Dunville VR

Dunville VR (very rare – limited stocks until further notice) is a premium dark golden brown Irish whiskey blend of 20 per cent malt and 80 per cent finest grain, matured in American oak casks that infuse a toasty and vanilla aroma for an exceptionally smooth finish. Dunville VR offers whiskey drinkers notes of soft raisins and Irish caramel with a peppery spice overtone.