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The Gelston’s Story

Brand History

Gelston’s Old Irish whiskey was founded in 1830 by Samuel Gelston, a very successful wine and whiskey merchant from Belfast. In 1869, upon Samuel’s death, the business was bought by Harry J Neill. Harry, himself passionate about whiskey, had left Belfast a few years earlier to make his fortune in the Australian Gold rush of 1851 and went on to expand the business significantly. Five generations on, it still remains with HJ Neill Limited who now celebrate the revival of this much revered brand. 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.


HJ Neill Limited was founded by Johnny Neill – a direct descendant of Harry Neill. Now a purveyor himself of a fine portfolio of Spirits, Johnny is the creator of both Whitley Neill and Marylebone gins.

Passionate about quality and excellence, Johnny can often be found giving masterclasses across the UK.

Frank McHardy

A stunning liquid developed and carefully nurtured to the highest standards on the Northern Irish coast.

Frank McHardy, a legendary figure in distilling and whose craft and expertise produced some of the finest Irish Whiskey expressions, was Head distiller and responsible for laying down our 25 year-old.

Hall of Fame 2014

Frank returned to Scotland in 1996 to the Springbank Distillery until his retirement in 2013 – having clocked up an impressive 50 years’ service to the industry.  He was enrolled into Whisky Magazine’s ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2014 – an award bestowed to those who have made an lasting contribution to the whisky industry.