Nephin Whiskey The Cooper 12 Year Old

Key Details

Whiskey Name: The Cooper
Distillery: Undisclosed
ABV: 46%
Age: 12yr
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Price: €250
Release Date: 11th Dec 2020

The Cooper Commemorative Edition is a special release Whisky, celebrating the life of Master Cooper John Neilly (1951 – 2018) who was a well-known and much-loved character in the Irish Whiskey industry.

John Neilly started training as a cooper in his native Glasgow, at the age of 15, in the cooperage where his father worked, and spent the next 5 decades of his life, practicing this craft.

In 1992, Dr. John Teeling offered him the opportunity to move to Ireland and work in Kilbeggan Distillery and so Kilbeggan became his home for the next 26 years.

John joined Nephin Whiskey Company in 2014 and founded Nephin Cooperage, providing cask repair services to Irish distilleries and he set about training the next generation of apprentice coopers.

John was a master craftsman who dedicated his entire life to the art of coopering. On the day of his daughter’s wedding, he was late walking her up the aisle because he was in the carpark showing me something he had been researching in the Coopers Encyclopedia!

Mark QuickDirector at Nephin Whiskey Company

The whisky is a 12 year old single malt, sourced from the Highlands of Scotland, which spent 2 years in the last 5 Octave casks that John handmade before he passed away.

This is a very unique bottling not only because of the 5 Octave finish, but because of the real history it represents. John made an important contribution to the revival of Irish Whiskey at Cooley & Kilbeggan Distillery and his impact on the next generation will continue through the work of coopers at Nephin Whiskey. I think this is a fitting tribute to that legacy.

Yiorgos ManesisManaging Director

The Cooper Commemorative Edition is limited to 360 numbered bottles and retails for €250 with half of all profits from the sale of this commemorative edition going to John’s widow, Liz.

James J. Fox, Dublin are exclusive retailers of The Cooper Commemorative Edition, at their Grafton Street store and online at

About The Cooper Commemorative Edition

The Cooper Commemorative Edition is a single malt Highland Scotch Whisky, bottled at 46% without chill filtration or added colour. The Whisky was matured for 10 years in Bourbon barrels, then transferred to 5 Octaves for a further 2 years.

An Octave is an old style of cask that is 1/8 the size of the European standard cask, holding approximately 62L.

These Octaves were handmade by Master Cooper John Neilly (1952 - 2018), from wood sourced from larger casks - a recharred American Oak barrel, a French Oak Tawny Port, Premiere Cru Sauternes, Rum and Amarone casks.

Tasting Notes


Burnished Copper


Dried fruit, sweet barley sugar, and luscious stewed apples.


Rich and buttery with a hint of pepper.


Gentle and complex. Crème brûlée, caramel and husky malted milk with waves of decadent winey notes surging throughout.


Long, soft, lingering chocolate cream and almond oil.

About Nephin Whiskey Company

Nephin Whiskey Company was founded in 2013 by Mark Quick and husband and wife Paul & Jude Davis. The company is building a distillery in Lahardane, Co. Mayo which has finished construction and is due to start distilling in 2021. The company will produce triple distilled, peated single malt Irish Whiskey.

John Neilly joined the company in 2014 and founded Nephin Cooperage which has become the largest supplier of casks and cask services to the Irish distilling & brewing sectors.

Nephin do not produce gin or vodka and have not sourced Irish Whiskey before having their own mature product.

The Cooper is a product that was developed while John was alive, sourcing single malt Scotch Whisky and aging in Limousin Oak Octaves made by John, but it was only bottled for the American market.

The idea for The Cooper Commemorative Edition arose from deciding how to use the final series of Octave casks that John had made, in a way that was most fitting to John’s life and memory.

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