Tequila Oil, Getting Lost In Mexico, Hugh Thomson

Tequila – along with it’s agave stablemate Mezcal – features in this adventurous tale of a teenager traversing Mexico in a car – purchased in Texas – with the goal of selling it in Belize & thereby funding the trip.

There are many twists & turns along the way.

Get lost in a book! c/othewhiskeynut

Tequila Oil is actually a cocktail.

The author used it to cement business deals – as recommended by the bank he worked for in Mexico City.

The ingredients are;

Tequila

Tomatoe Juice

Habanero Chilli Sauce

Maggie Liquid Seasoning

Mix together to form a black oily consistency.

Garaunteed to blow your head!

I didn’t try it personally – but then I’m not seeking a bank loan in Mexico!

A terrific travel book!

Sláinte

Tullamore Dew to open new visitors attraction at it’s distillery

Tullamore Dew is in the spotlight for announcing the closure of their Visitors Centre at the Old Bonded Warehouse situated by the banks of the Grand Canal in the Midlands town of Tullamore.

Bury Quay, Tullamore c/othewhiskeynut

What the headlines failed to say is they will be opening a new state of the art visitors attraction at their €35 million Tullamore Distillery built only 6 years ago on the town’s bypass.

The new Tullamore Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

In whiskey terms it’s a step forward.

Most fans wish to visit a working distillery where they can not only learn about whiskey – but they can also see, feel, hear and smell the actual process of making that whiskey.

The Old Bonded Warehouse served Tullamore DEW well during the years when there was no distilling in the town and the whiskey for the brand was sourced from elsewhere.

The original distillery – of which many reminders still exist around the town – ran from 1829 to 1954.

Old Tullamore Distillery gates c/othewhiskeynut

Irish Distillers took over the brand & built it up to become the 2nd biggest selling Irish Whiskey in the world.

William Grants in turn acquired the brand & brought back distilling to Tullamore after a 60 year absence.

Having a visitors centre separate from the distillery is fraught with contention & is a bit of an anomaly. There is still one left in Ireland – Jameson Visitors Experience in Dublin – but that’s for another day.

I’ve dug out my only bottle of Tully to celebrate this move – Tullamore DEW 12 Year Old Single Malt Sherry Cask – bought at the Old Bonded Warehouse itself.

Tully 12 c/othewhiskeynut

I toast to the great leap forward Irish Whiskey & Tullamore DEW has taken in these last few years.

Tullamore Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

From being a sourced brand celebrated in a museum – to being a fully fledged distillery situated in it’s home town with a brand new attraction to showcase that distillery to it’s best.

Here’s to the next 200 years of whiskey distilling in Tullamore!

Sláinte

Kilbeggan Finest Irish Whiskey, 15 Year Old, Blend, 40%

Back in 2007 Kilbeggan released a 15 Year Old Finest Irish Whiskey complete with stylish bottle & packaging to commemorate 250 years of distilling history at the Kilbeggan Distillery in County Westmeath.

It was very well received at the time & went on to win many awards.

Kilbeggan 15 in the glass c/othewhiskeynut

Being a rather limited release it attracted a lot of buyers who stored it for intended resale, for a special occasion or just collecting.

Luckily I knew someone who’d actually opened it to enjoy the delights within.

Very generously – I managed a sample!

Now there are always dangers when storing whiskey – and this became evident on the nose with a slight fustiness going on among an otherwise attractive nuttiness.

The palate was soft, smooth & easy with a touch of woody spice going on in the rear.

A gorgeous juiciness finished up the proceedings.

Cool bottle! c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely little drop indeed – although that slight fusty note on the nose suggests it’s not ageing well.

If you enjoy your whiskey – perhaps drinking it soon after purchase is recommended.

A Blind Tasting Experience

In a departure from the usual – today’s blog is courtesy of the Irish Whiskey Stone Company who received one of my blind tasting packs.

This is the experience they enjoyed!

“About a week ago I saw a post on Twitter by a whiskey reviewer, @2DramsofWhiskey of Westmeath Whiskey World, in which he showed a picture of some vials of whiskey and informing us that he was going to be doing a blind whiskey tasting. I replied to his tweet asking what was a blind whiskey tasting and how does one go about doing it. Not really expecting an answer, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got a reply telling me that it could easily be arranged!

This was followed with some private messages in which I then had to admit that I know next to nothing about whiskey (which may surprise some of you, considering I sell whiskey stones but how and ever…)

That didn’t put the reviewer off and before I knew it, here I was with 3 samples of whiskey to try out.

I have to admit, it took me a few days to get around to doing it and a certain amount of mental preparation (don’t know why but I was quite daunted by this task!).

Anyway, today was the day. I got out the samples, I found three glasses, got a spittoon glass at the ready and a bottle of water to clean my palate between tasting.  

I got a pen and paper out ready to make some notes and cracked open Sample D. I poured some into a glass and first took note of the aroma, which struck me as quite sweet. I sipped and let it rest in my mouth, closed my eyes and thought for a moment about the flavours. The two flavours that struck me the most was citrus and wood. I then added a wee drop of water to see what flavours this would release and the sweetness became more intense. I found this sweetness too much for my liking to be honest.

Sample D West Cork Peat Charred Cask

I washed my mouth out with some water and proceeded to try out Sample E. Again, the first thing I noted was the aroma. This time I could almost detect the freshness of the sea. (probably not remotely a technical whiskey tasting term but it fits for me). This whiskey had a very pure taste and I found it very pleasant indeed.

Sample E Kilbeggan Rye

On to Sample F I went. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could catch a hint of peatiness. I like peat but not too much of it so I was wary. However, this was not overbearing at all. I tasted. Wow, what an explosion of flavour in my mouth. There was an almost orange tang of it but it was a little sharp for me. Having said that, I think this would be an amazing after-dinner tipple.

Sample F Mackmyra Reserve Cask

I gathered my notes and what you have just read is my semi-coherent interpretation of them. 

So, there you go. My first whiskey tasting. I actually really enjoyed it and it was a good challenge to write about it too!”

Many thanks to Irish Whiskey Stone Company for sharing their thoughts.

Have you tried blind tasting yet?

Sláinte

Desperados Red, Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca Flavoured Beer, 6%

Talk about a cultural mish-mash!

Tequila from Mexico, Guarana & Cachaca from Brazil, licenced in the Netherlands, made in Poland & sold in Ireland – where it seems to have cornered the market as it’s everywhere!

Desperately red! c/othewhiskeynut

Sadly the drinking experience leaves a little to be desired.

More a chemical concoction than Cachaca cutey.

What’s in this? c/othewhiskeynut

Sweeter than the Original – & obviously redder – I’m not sure how many fresh natural ingredients graced this beer.

But as it’s the only Tequila, Guarana & Cachaca beer in town – I had to give it a go.

Sláinte

Nega Fulo Carvalho, Cachaca, 38%

Cachaça.

Until recently I wouldn’t have known much about this distilled spirit.

Geographically Protected (GI) to Brazil, made using sugarcane juice and according to some sources – the 3rd biggest selling spirits category in the world.

Being National Cachaça Day on the 13th September – I was keen to explore.

Brazilian Cachaca c/othewhiskeynut

Nêga Fulô Carvalho is made by Fazenda Soledade Ind De Bedibas near Rio.

Pale straw in colour – suggesting some ageing in wooden casks.

Those distinctive fresh grassy notes of sugarcane juice distillation are evident on the nose.

A smooth, sweet & gentle palate displaying freshness & vitality slowly develops a warming heat.

Touches of soft prickly spiciness enliven the finish which slowly fades away with tropical juiciness.

Back story c/othewhiskeynut

A very pleasant & easy introduction into the world of Cachaça – the spirit of Brazil.

Sláinte

Brazilian Tequila, A Journey Into The Interior, Augustus Young

My own journey into spirits based books took a bit of a stumble with this publication.

I found it more of a literary exploration of the customs, traditions & folklore of Brazil via a personal & rather introspective viewpoint making for a mystical – & at times magical – travel tale.

Cachaca – the spirit of Brazil c/othewhiskeynut

But there is no Brazilian Tequila.

Tequila is a geographically protected (GI) term for the spirit made in Mexico from the Agave plant.

Brazil has it’s own GI spirit – Cachaca – of which quite a lot is consumed by the characters of this tale.

The Brazilian Tequila in question arises as a joke by the doctor tasked to remove parasitic worms from the narrator’s feet.

Kind of takes ‘Experience Brazil’ to a new level.

Sláinte

1000 Years Of Irish Whiskey, Malachy Magee

Despite the 1000 Years title – Malachy believes the term Whiskey was coined by King Henry II’s soldiers who invaded Ireland in the 12th Century – the 1st half of the book deals with a rather troubling invention – the Coffey Still – that continues to influence Irish Whiskey today.

1000 Years, O’Briens Press 1980 c/othewhiskeynut

The big question of how a world leading industry in it’s prime lost it’s title is answered very succinctly in this 1980 publication – blending.

The dominant 4 whiskey houses of Dublin – J Jameson, Wm Jameson, J Powers & G Roe – rejected the efficient distilling equipment of A Coffey with his patent still.

They also rejected the growing art of blending whereby a large amount of ‘silent spirit’ produced in those Coffey Stills are mixed with more flavoursome spirit obtained from traditional pot stills.

In doing so Irish Whiskey stagnated & collapsed for over 100 years.

Back cover c/othewhiskeynut

When Malachy wrote his book there was only 1 surviving Irish Whiskey company – Irish Distillers – operating out of 2 distilleries – New Midleton & Old Bushmills.

What changed the demise was the final embracement of the Coffey Still in revising & marketing the Jameson, Powers & Paddy brands as blends to the world.

The category has gone from strength to strength ever since.

There are now up to 63 aspiring & established whiskey distilleries looking to invest, plan, build & market their own Irish Whiskey – creating a much more broad & diverse category.

It’s a fabulous time to witness the rebirth of Irish Whiskey – and give a nod of appreciation to A Coffey & his world changing still.

Sláinte

3 Whiskeys For Under €20

With whiskey prices inevitably spiraling northwards & putting many punters out of the buying game – it’s still possible to find a selection of whiskeys for under €20.

At this price point you can hardly expect non chill filtering, natural colour, fanciful back stories, the strain of barley used nor the name of the field it grew in – what you get is plain simple unpretentious whiskey.

Here’s a few I’ve enjoyed over the years.

Clontarf Trinity c/othewhiskeynut

Clontarf Classic Blend, 40%, Aldi

I found Clontarf to be a robust little number.

‘It’d put hairs on yer chest’ some would say – but I say it possesses a proud character all of it’s own.

Plain simple & straightforward ex-bourbon cask matured.

It hits the mark.

Nice! c/othewhiskeynut

Old Samuel Bourbon, 40%, Tesco

It’s cheap, it’s cheerful & it’s more enjoyable than some well established brands.

Nice!

Tasty! c/othewhiskeynut

JG Kinsey Special Reserve, 40%, Dunnes

This one took me by surprise.

It had flavour, depth & a bit of a pedigree too.

I polished it off in a week – which is highly unusual.

Very pleasant.

Under €20

Being under €20 is no barrier to good taste or flavour. The above 3 demonstrate the variety that is available. Something to suit all palates. You may have to try a few to get the one that satisfies – but at the price point – that’s part of the adventure!

Happy hunting!

Sláinte

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