The Shamrock Whiskey was produced by Kirker Greer & Co. Ltd, a Belfast-based firm formed from the merger of the Kirker and Greer families, both whiskey blenders and merchants. In 1886 the company became one of the founders of the Connswater Distillery in Belfast, together with Mitchell & Co., Ltd., and a Belfast Distiller, James Wilson & Son. Connswater was closed in 1929. As of 1888 Kirker, Greer & Co were selling both "Old Lochdhu Whiskey" from Glasgow and "The Shamrock Whiskey" from Belfast (in 1888). William Greer was a member of the family and moved to Glasgow in 1893, becoming a leading wine and spirits merchant and like many of his peers started blending whiskey for both home markets and export. It is highly likely that whiskey from Connswater Distillery was used to produce Shamrock.
The bottom of the bottle features a labelled marked 'Veritor', which was a brand that during the early 1910s marketed the Shamrock along with three other Irish whiskies; Mitchell's Holly, Corbett's 3 star and Tyrconnel 3 star. In an advert published on July 1 1911 it reads, 'All branded with the Veritor label - the label which is the guarantee of the highest standard of quality in Irish Whiskey…Unless you can see the Veritor label you cannot be sure that you are getting Irelands best.'
We have not identified any other bottles of Shamrock from this era for sale in recent years. The bottle has a driven cork common in that period and the glass contains imperfections that were also typical prior to improvements in glass manufacture in the 1920s, meaning this is likely one of the earliest bottles of Irish whiskey to survive.
On 5 December two bottles of this exceptionally rare whiskey will be offered in our inagural auction of Whisky & Spirits in Edinburgh.