Hollywood movie legend Jean-Claude Van Damme has announced the global launch of his co-owned Irish whiskey brand called Old Oak.
The martial arts action hero, dubbed the “Muscles from Brussels”, discovered Old Oak whiskey at a chance meeting with a friend and business colleague. The actor was looking to partner with and co-own a whiskey brand and he found Old Oak Whiskey.
Jean-Claude Van Damme said: “I was looking for my own brand of whiskey possibly an American bourbon and then one of my close friends and business associates asked ‘why an American whiskey when you can go back to the roots of whiskey and find an Irish whiskey?”
“He then introduced me to the Old Oak whiskey label which had yet to be launched and had been put together by some Whiskey aficionados in Ireland.”
“It was also the perfect opportunity to combine two things with which I feel a close connection …whiskey and its rich heritage and the charisma and warmth of Ireland and its people.”
About the whiskey, itself, Mr Van Damme added: “I loved its aroma and the smoothness on the palate compared to the more heavier whiskies I had tasted from different parts of the world,” he added.
Kevin Carson one of the co- founders of the Old Oak label is from Derry and he felt strongly that an Irish whiskey should represent and connect with the name of the Oak Leaf County.
He also felt it was important to remember the long tradition and history of Irish whiskey making in the north of Ireland.
It is believed that whiskey first originated in Ireland made by Irish monks and was one of the earliest distilled alcoholic drinks dating back to the 11th century or earlier.
Old Oak has a signature 3-year-old blended whiskey finished from a carefully selected mixture of bourbon and new oak barrels and a 5-year-old blended whiskey finished in a rum reserve barrel .
Old Oak whiskey regards itself as a craft premium whiskey which is sourced from carefully selected whiskey stock and currently finished using a carefully managed process in a craft distillery just outside Belfast and using what is believed to be some of the purest water in Ireland straight from a 300 foot deep well located on site at the distillery.
Old Oak is also planning to introduce in the near future a Pot Still and a more exclusive older whiskey.