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 Harry Neill purchased the business and developed it considerably both in Ireland and overseas.

Harry had left Belfast in 1851 to seek his fortune in the Australian Gold Rush. 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. In 1862, he successfully sold his share and returned to his homeland, Ireland.

 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. 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 Neill successfully ran the business until his death in 1891. Five generations later the Samuel Gelston’s brand is still in the hands of the Neill family with Johnny Neill.  Recently, the two sides of the family have come together once again with Johnny and cousin Sam Neill (descendant of Percival) partnering to create a special whiskey.

Sam Neill Headshot

Sam, as a passionate vintner makes premium Pinot Noir under his ‘Two Paddocks’ brand on the South Island of New Zealand. Not only a successful vintner, Sam is also an esteemed actor having appeared in many popular film and television programmes such as Jurassic Park, Peaky Blinders, and Hunt for Red October. Sam and Johnny joined together to create the Samuel Gelston’s Pinot Noir Cask Whiskey in 2021. An Irish Whiskey, it is aged initially in ex-bourbon casks before spending a further 22-27 months in French Oak casks from Sam’s winery in New Zealand. Explore Sam’s award-winning winery here: www.twopaddocks.com

Yet again Samuel Gelston’s is developing a worldwide following by keeping family and quality at its core…