The Copeland Distillery releases Bordeaux Premier Cru cask-aged rum

The Copeland Distillery has released a limited-edition Grand Cru Bordeaux Rum – its fourth rum innovation to date. The Donaghadee Distillery often takes inspiration from the history books to celebrate the untold and forgotten stories of Co. Down, and this time it is bringing to life Killyleagh Castle’s connection to France.

In 1633 James Hamilton Jr sent word home to Killyleagh Castle for his father to send a ship and £350  to Bordeaux where he was at the time. A few weeks later a direct shipment of fine French wine arrived to County Down for the first time.

Gawn Rowan Hamilton lives in the castle with his family and said: “My family arrived to Northern Ireland in 1606 and settled here in Killyleagh Castle which was originally built in 1180. Architecturally, the castle resembles a traditional French chateau from the Loire Valley with its turrets. The Copeland Distillery’s new rum innovation is an incredible way to share the story of James Hamilton Jr and his desire to share the incredible Bordeaux wine he discovered in 1633. It’s wonderful that this limited-edition release allows people to connect with the history of Co. Down’s coastal activities in an authentic way.”

On the nose, Copeland’s Grand Cru Bordeaux Rum offers an initial intense aroma of allspice and citrus, while more subtle hints of black peppercorn, fresh oak and brown sugar come through after. To taste, the rum offers flavours of tropical fruits, orange and banana, before a cherry and dark chocolate finish.

The Copeland Grand Cru Bordeaux Series is a blend of three to five-year-old aged dark rum from Barbados and double distilled pot-still rum produced at The Copeland Distillery.

The carefully selected Barbados rum has been aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, with Copeland’s own rum aged in Quarter Bourbon casks. After eight months in these heavy, first fill American oak casks, the rum is transferred into eight Premier One, French Grand Cru Bordeaux casks to finish for a period of four months. With these casks having held some of the region’s most prestigious wines of 2020, the flavour profiles drawn out of the French oak are robust and full.

Commenting on the new release, Founder of The Copeland Distillery, Gareth Irvine, said: “We have worked with a French estate to source the highest quality casks to deliver the superior taste and aroma deserving of Grand Cru standard. To share the story of Killyleagh Castle through this latest innovation, we knew we had to offer an authentic Bordeaux taste and I’m really proud of what we have created.”

The Copeland Distillery introduced its rum range in November 2020 with Smugglers’ Reserve which shares the powerful story of clandestine smuggling activities that took place along the Copeland Islands and the harbour town of Donaghadee throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, while also honouring the contrabandists that bravely brought tastes of new worlds to these shores.

Along with rum and gin, The Copeland Distillery which is this year celebrating five years in business, also produces malt and pot-stilled whiskeys that are undergoing the maturation process and are expected to launch in 2024.

Irvine continued: “Innovation in taste and our connection to Northern Ireland’s history are what drive us. We want to provide consumers the opportunity to experience quality but also the opportunity to learn more about the history of the local area.

“The Distillery will celebrate five years in business this year, and it’s incredible to look back on our growth in that time and our consistent dedication to delivering innovative new products. Not only are we widely available locally across retail and hospitality venues, but we also have a really strong, and growing footprint across Europe and Australia, which shows how trusted we have become as a brand.

“Over the coming months we’re looking forward to entering new markets such as the US and Asia where demand for Irish produce continues to grow, and of course where there is a strong diaspora all keen to connect to home.”

The Copeland Distillery has recently partnered with leading drinks wholesaler Drinks Inc., now part of the Musgrave Group, to distribute its products across Northern Ireland.

Claire McAlinney, Trading Manager at Musgrave said: “We’re delighted to add The Copeland Distillery to our portfolio as its unique range is a great match for what our on and off-trade customers want, namely premium spirits that will excite consumers. Gareth and the team at the Distillery are committed to quality and we’re always really impressed at the stories they uncover through their dedication to Northern Ireland’s maritime history. We’re excited to work with a local distillery with a real focus on innovation and quality – values also at the heart of Musgrave.”

The limited-edition Grand Cru Bordeaux Rum is priced at £39.99 (RRP) for 700ml. A limited number of bottles are also available online at . Trade enquiries are welcome to

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