Our Story

The Samuel Gelston’s Story

Samuel Gelston

The Samuel Gelston’s name is synonymous with quality and innovation.

Since 1830 we have been ageing, blending and bottling Irish whiskeys of the highest quality and innovating with exceptional cask finishes. Our whiskey ranges from indulgent Malts and characterful Single Pot Stills to innovative cask finishes using Pinot Noir Casks from award winning vineyards.

Our motto remains the same – Honor, Honesty and Integrity!


Gelston’s Old Irish Whiskey was founded in 1830 by Samuel Gelston, a prosperous wine and whiskey merchant from Belfast. Upon Samuel’s death in late 1869 Henry James Neill (Harry) purchased the business and developed the scale of the business considerably both in Ireland and in overseas markets.

Harry had left Belfast in 1851 to seek his fortune in the Australian Gold Rush of that year. Rather than prospecting for gold he set up a pioneering provisions business for the miners and their families and brought his younger brothers out to Australia to help grow the firm. He successfully sold his share and returned to Ireland in 1862 a wealthy man.

 In 1869 he set about the task of re-building the Gelston’s business, not only was he blending and selling whiskey casks in Ireland but he was instrumental in starting to export to Australia and New Zealand, primarily into the businesses that his brothers had carried on and set-up, indeed one of these was Neill & Co. based in Dunedin and run by his brother Percival, at one time the largest spirits business in New Zealand.

Harry successfully ran the business until his death in 1891 when the business moved to another H.J. Neill of the next generation, five generations later the Samuel Gelston’s brand is still in the hands of the Neill family and is yet again developing a worldwide following.

Some of the earliest advertising for the brand still exists today, including this one which depicts the ‘Gap of Dunloe’, a famous Irish beauty spot.