Caskaway: Louise McGuane's desert island drams

Caskaway: Louise McGuane's desert island drams

The founder of J.J. Corry shares which whiskies she would take to our desert island

Caskaway | 09 Dec 2022 | Issue 188 | By Bradley Weir

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J.J. Corry founder Louise McGuane has spent almost her entire career in the whisky industry, working across numerous high-end brands and experiencing the ins and outs of the drinks industry’s biggest players.

After graduating college, she got a job with Moët Hennessy, followed by roles at Pernod Ricard and Diageo. McGuane says it was a team trip to Glenmorangie during her time at Moët Hennessy that really ignited her passion for whisky. She founded J.J. Corry in 2015 and takes great pride in the Irish whiskey brand’s transparency as well the quality and popularity of its spirits.

WHISKY #1

George Dickel
Bottled in Bond

I’m a whisky person, I’m not just an Irish whiskey person… and I have great admiration and respect for what’s going on in the US in terms of both the craft distillation and the resurgence of bourbon. This is made by my buddy Nicole Austin, who is a blender/whiskey maker who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. She went into George Dickel a couple of years ago, and has really shaken things up. She’s... really being forensic about creating qualitative whiskey and not just market-pleasing whiskey.

WHISKY #2

The Last Drop
Signature 50 Years Old

I have great admiration for Colin [Scott, The Last Drop master blender] and also [The Last Drop founder] Rebecca Jago. Full disclosure: I’m a member of the Assembly, which is a group of people who get together to talk about the Last Drop whiskies. I get the opportunity to taste all of the Last Drop releases, or many of them, which are A-plus. Colin is a genius. It is very hard to produce very old, very good-tasting whisky. What he’s managed to do here is take the stocks that they had and create something that’s so fresh and alive and vibrant. Of course, it’s a fabulous luxury.

WHISKY #3

Compass Box
Peat Monster

I’m a big fan of peated whisky and, if I had my way, I would just make extremely heavily peated whisky and nothing else. But I’m a big fan of Peat Monster from Compass Box. When I discovered the business, I looked to Compass Box as a role model and [founder] John Glaser as a role model, especially in terms of transparency, which is something very important to me. We’ve done our best to champion that and John really started that in the industry. Great respect for what he has done and is continuing to do. Peat Monster pushes the limits of peat and smoke – I could sit and drink it all day.

WHISKY #4

Westland
Garryana

I was at Westland just before the pandemic. I spent nearly a week out in Seattle over at the distillery and nobody does it like Westland. They are bringing back lost heritage grains single-handedly for whiskey production... Most whiskey production in America and internationally is done through grains that have been produced for yield and they’re very standardised. These guys have turned it on their head, and they’ve started to experiment with a whole bunch of different grains. They have all this land up there in the Pacific Northwest and they’re all growing in these different conditions. It makes for great whiskey for everybody and the attention to detail is unbelievable.

WHISKY #5

J.J. Corry
The Vatting

We did a bottling called The Vatting a couple of years ago, and it was vattings of what was then some of the 30-year-old whiskey stocks that we had. We did two versions of it and around 60 bottles of each, so it was super limited. Full sherry maturation for that whole 30 years. We took a number of different casks, blended them together and ended up with two very different iterations. That’s probably the best whiskey we’ve ever made.

LUXURY ITEM

I will be bringing my dog, Ruby. She is good for morale and I’m sure that we will be able to hunt rabbits or something. I can’t go to a desert island without her.
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