‘As bold as the hero that inspires it.’ Red Hugh O Donnell is known as one of the great heroes of Irish history. As chieftain of a powerful Irish dynasty in north west Ireland, he led the success of numerous battles against the forces of Queen Elizabeth I. He became Earl of Tyrconnell after escaping five years of captivity in Dublin Castle at the hands of the English army, aided by Hugh O Neill, the Great Earl.
He fled across mountains and the harsh Irish landscape in the height of winter and as a result suffered severe frostbite, losing a big toe from each foot. As chieftain, he formed a number of alliances with various Irish clans to challenge English power in Ireland. This included the powerful alliance with rival clan, the O’ Neills, led by his future father-in law and courageous leader, the Great Earl, Hugh O’Neill.
Together they fought in the ‘Nine Years War’ to drive their common enemy out of Ireland. It began promisingly as the Irish won substantial amount of victories. After persuasion from O Donnell and O Neill, in 1601, Spain’s King Philip III sent Don Juan del Águila (our “Spanish Earl) and Don Diego Brochero to Ireland with thousands of Spanish men to help fight their common enemy.
However, when they arrived at the port of Kinsale they were surrounded by English troops, which eventually followed in Irish defeat. The Battle of Kinsale saw the loss of many Irish and Spanish lives. The Irish army returned to Ulster and Red Hugh set off to Spain to seek further help, as Ireland was now completely under British rule. Red Hugh died after just nine months there, where it is believed he was poisoned by an Anglo-Irish spy while he slept. Today he is buried near the Rioja wine region in Spain.
The Great Earl saw out his days in Rome, dying in 1616, and is buried in the Vatican.
The Spanish Earl returned to Spain, and having paid to treat his wounded troops, died in 1602.
He fought alongside Red Hugh O Donnell and The Great Earl during an arduous, two month campaign at the Battle of Kinsale, the ultimate battle in England’s conquest of Gaelic Ireland and the climax of the Nine Years’ War.
During this time, he lodged in Portney’s Lane, Cork, and was a popular figure with locals. This influences the stout finish of Spanish Earl Single Malt Irish Whiskey, combined with a hint of rum ageing, for extra sweetness and nose.
Returning to Spain, helping wounded troops from his own funds, he died, bruised but not beaten, in 1602.
Spanish Earl Single Malt Irish Whiskey, triple-distilled, triple-casked, fearless to its core.
Having rescued Red Hugh O Donnell, following his escape from Dublin Castle, they fought side-by-side with Juan del Aguila, “the Spanish Earl,” at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.
Leaving Ireland in the Flight of the Earls in 1607, he died in Rome nine years later, where he is still buried and immortalised in a fresco in Vatican City.
Friend to kings, popes and leaders, we have reflected his story in this unique Single Grain Irish Whiskey, casked in Rechar and Virgin oak, then finished in Italian Sangiovese casks, a nod to his final days in Rome.
Great Earl Irish Whiskey, triple-casked, defiantly Irish, unflinching like its namesake.