Samuel Gelston, a noted Belfast wine and spirit merchant, founded Gelston's Old Irish Whiskey in 1830, as a name for his bottlings. When Gelston died in 1869, the business was bought by ex-patriate Harry J Neill, who had just returned from making his fortune in the Australian Gold Rush.

Five generations on, the name remains in the hands of HJ Neill Ltd – founded by descendent Johnny Neill, creator of Whitley Neill gin – and it has been revived as a range of Irish whiskeys, with input from luminaries of the whisk(e)y world, including Frank McHardy of Springbank and Bushmills.

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