Whilst Garavan’s doesn’t look much from the outside – on the inside it’s a quiet haven for the whiskey aficianado.
Meanwhile The King’s Head has a marvelous and prominent red medieval window facing out into the thoroughfare which draws in the tourists – sightseers – hungry shoppers and thirsty drinkers. It’s as busy inside the bar as it is on a sales day outside!
I maybe didn’t choose the best spot to sit by the bar as all the traffic passed by – queue a Jimi track – but at least I was close to the whiskey.
Nonetheless – there is a warm feel to the large premises – helped by the open fire burning brightly just inside the door.
Spread over 3 floors there is the bar area itself – a large dining area behind in which many shoppers were already tucking in to a meal – as well as upstairs. I didn’t venture any further than the downstairs today – but I’ve attended a private party held on the top floor where there is a comfortable lounge area complete with it’s own bar.
At around 50 whiskeys on offer the lack of rarities I’d experienced elsewhere was evident – but still a good selection of current bottlings from the big 3 distilleries – Midleton – Bushmills and Kilbeggan/Cooley as well as some from the new generation distillers in Teeling – Irishman and Knappogue Castle.
I was also pleased to see the inclusion of some craft beer too with Galway Hooker and my buddy Richard’s Sheep Stealer on tap. Whilst all the previous premises had plenty of whiskey expressions – their beer selection could be limited. Like the new whiskey distilleries – the rise of craft breweries in Ireland has brought about a taste and flavour explosion for the discerning drinker. Long may it last.
On this occasion my tipple of choice was from the Midleton distillery in the form of Paddy Centenary. Unlike the standard Paddy blended offering – Centenary is a single pot still bottling at 43%. The tasting notes accompanying the glass mentioned apples – spice and oily mouthfeel.
My palate isn’t the best – but I did get a hint of green apples – certainly the spices – and a long smooth finish. Gone is that grainy bite associated with the blend. A far superior whiskey indeed and worth the extra expense.
Pleased I’d reached my halfway point and was still relatively functioning well – despite a warm pleasant wooziness beginning to kick in – I finished my dram and moved on – and I couldn’t resist this – to the next whiskey bar – thanks to The Doors.