Category Archives: Whiskey Live Dublin

21C Whiskey, 2nd Edition, Blend, 54.3%

Irish Whiskey continues to grow.

There are now 16 working distilleries that have matured stocks of spirit old enough to be called whiskey.

All of them contributed to create this special limited edition 21C blend unveiled at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019.

Luckily I managed a taster.

A fabulously rich & complex nose. Full bodied on the palate. A long lasting satisfying finish.

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21C Whiskey 1st Edition contributors. c/othewhiskeynut

From my recollections of 21C 1st Edition – blog here – this was a vast improvement. Perhaps reflecting the growing maturity of Irish Whiskey in general – a better blend of ingredients – older stocks added – or a combination of all factors.

Whatever – it made a great whiskey.

The new additional distilleries to have matured whiskey are below – taken in left to right, top to bottom order as printed on the back label.

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21C Whiskey 2nd Edition contributors. c/othewhiskeynut

Shortcross Distillery have yet to release their 1st whiskey – a single pot still by all accounts – but have built up a strong following with their Shortcross Gins.

Connacht Distillery are also waiting for their own whiskey to age further before release. In the meantime they have some tasty & innovative sourced whiskey under the Spade & Bushel, Ballyhoo & Brothership labels.

Waterford Distillery are following the above 2 in waiting for their own stock to age before committing to market. Unlike the others – they have not sourced any whiskey prior to that release.

Royal Oak Distillery in County Carlow have not released their own whiskey. Previously called Walsh Distillery – a split with the 2 companies involved means Irishman & Writer’s Tears will remain as sourced brands.

In addition to last years 21C – some distilleries have recently entered the market with their own stock.

Shed Distillery’s wonderful Inaugural Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Whiskey is now in the shops.

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105 Years waiting! c/othewhiskeynut

Tullamore Distillery’s malt is now being used as a component in their blended Tullamore DEW range.

A big congratulations to all those who contributed to this fantastic 21C Whiskey. Much credit to Celtic Whiskey Shop for bringing this fabulous project to fruition.

Already looking forward to the next installment of Irish Whiskey to mature in the coming year!

Sláinte

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Clyde May’s Alabama Style Whiskey, 42.5% & Straight Rye, 47%

You never know what you might find at Whiskey Live Dublin.

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I had intended to try some Scotch – but an amadán had decided to vape in the toilets & set off the fire alarms.

No joy there.

I missed out on Japanese too

Beam Suntory’s Toki offering had vanished – but I did try their soon to be released Kilbeggan Single Pot Still with 3% oats in the mix. Creamy & spicy all at the same time. Although I did struggle to fully appreciate what the oats brought to the whiskey in such a brief encounter.

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McConnells of Belfast c/othewhiskeynut

The parent company behind Belfast’s McConnell’s release had an interesting trio of American Whiskeys however. Attractively presented & branded as Clyde May’s the Alabama Style Whiskey caught my eye.

What is Alabama Style?

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Alabama Style Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Turns out something to do with adding dried apples to the barrel. A look online provided a better insight here. I did get a fresh fruitiness on the nose.

Offered at 42.5% this was a decent full bodied whiskey I’d like to enjoy more off.

The Straight Rye also pleased me. A good balance of dry peppery spice with a wholesome body to boot.

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Clyde May’s Straight Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Both are sourced from Kentucky – but brand owners Conecuh are building a distillery of their own in Alabama.

Now that is a joy!

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Whiskey Live Dublin 2019

This years Whiskey Live Dublin show marked a quantitative shift in the fortunes of Irish Whiskey.

The number of new releases on display for the first time was breathtaking – and a bit of a challenge to appreciate in only one session.

Not only new releases though.

New whiskey companies were also in attendance. Companies previously inhabiting websites with ‘under construction’ on the display page were now in full flow offering tangible products to taste.

My game plan was clear – try as many of them as time – and my well being – permitted.

In no particular order – this is what I found.

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21C Edition 2 c/othewhiskeynut

The Celtic Whiskey Shop had again done a marvelous job collating all 16 Irish Whiskey Distilleries with mature stock into this fabulous blend. More flavoursome & complex than last years.

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Hinch core range c/othewhiskeynut

I did a Hinch vertical – one of the new companies currently building their distillery. The peated piqued my palate – but the Small Batch pleased too.

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Irish Proud Blend c/othewhiskeynut

Another new company – Proud Irish – had 2 offerings of a rather easy entry market style. Perhaps more for the tourists?

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Killowen Rum Cask c/othewhiskeynut

Killowen impressed with this Dark Rum Cask Blend. Their new make wasn’t bad either!

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A pair of Gelston’s c/othewhiskeynut

The Gelston’s range from Halewood was far too extensive for a vertical tasting so the 5yo Sherry Cask sufficed. Word of a new distillery too!

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A Smokey Silkie! c/othewhiskeynut

Yes! The return of smoky dry peat to Irish Whiskey was greatly appreciated.

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The Bridge c/othewhiskeynut

As was this sweet yet nuanced single grain single cask first whiskey offering from Lough Ree in Longford.

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Lough Gill Trio c/othewhiskeynut

Lough Gill in Sligo displayed their trio of exquisitely aged single malts showing varying finishing styles.

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Welcome to the Renaissance! c/othewhiskeynut

Irish Whiskey has moved on from simply revival – the renaissance is here – courtesy of Teeling’s new 18yo offering.

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Sade & Bushell 5yo c/othewhiskeynut

Connacht’s new 5yo was a bit too sweet for my palate – but the 12yo version in the background hit the spot.

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W.D.O’Connell c/othewhiskeynut

Despite the depth & complexity of the 17yo – the peat of Bill Phil won out on these fabulous whiskeys from W.D.O’Connell.

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Celtic Cask 25 c/othewhiskeynut

Staying on a peated path – Celtic Cask 25 didn’t disappoint.

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Egan’s Legacy c/othewhiskeynut

The latest 16yo Egan’s Legacy was more of a traditional style.

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The Liberator c/othewhiskeynut

While newcomers Wayward Spirits offered their dark & brooding port cask finished Liberator Blend.

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McConnells of Belfast c/othewhiskeynut 

I was pleased to hear the Crumlin Gaol Distillery is still in the mix with this very well presented blended whisky – minus the ‘e’.

It also marked my final tasting at the show. Although on the train home I did crack open a miniature & sang away to myself!

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Pogues Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

 

‘I am going, I am going, Where the streams of whiskey are flowing.’

Well the streams of whiskey are certainly flowing from the stills of Irish Whiskey Distilleries!

Slàinte

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12 Point Rogue Buck Whiskey, Single Malt,40%

The name has an American ring to it.

The taste certainly reminds me of an American bourbon.

The couple behind the whiskey are American.

Yet this is an Irish Whiskey that happened to be the first I encountered at the excellent Whiskey Live Dublin 2018 show.

‘Is there any buckwheat in the mix?’ was my opener at the stall.

‘No’ was the reply – followed by an enthusiastic & open explanation of how this whiskey came about.

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Irish Whitetail Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

It’s a 10 year old sourced Irish Single Malt Whiskey that new entrants Irish Whitetail Distillery have finished in an unusually innovative & probably controversial manner.

Rather than put the malt into wood – they have put the wood into the malt!

Chunks of heavily charred African mahogany effectively free float in a vat of single malt for a period of time.

The results definitely pleased my palate!

The soft smooth barley entry was accentuated with rich warming vanilla & caramel notes reminiscent of a good bourbon. A heavier, darker element of cherry – along with a mildly drying spice rounded up the experience.

Very nice.

Will it catch on?

I don’t know.

I wish Irish Whitetail Distillery future success with their great tasting venture – but await discord.

Slàinte

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Whiskey 21C, Blend, 54.2%

Whiskey Live Dublin always throws up a surprise or two.

This years was the safely guarded release of Whiskey 21C.

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Whiskey 21C c/othewhiskeynut

This is a unique historical bottling of all the Irish Whiskey Distilleries that currently have stocks of matured whiskey in their possession.

The Celtic Whiskey Shop – not content with being the hard working organisers behind Whiskey Live Dublin – contacted all the distilleries with matured whiskey – asked for a donation of some of that precious liquid – proceeded to blend it – bottle it – sell it at the show on a strictly limited never to be repeated release – all for the Downs Syndrome Ireland charity!

Now that WAS a surprise indeed!

The 12 Irish Whiskey Distilleries who kindly donated to this project are – in the order they appear on the back label;

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The distilleries involved c/othewhiskeynut

Bushmills Distillery – Producers of the Bushmills range + other brands.

Cooley Distillery – Producers of the Tyrconnell, Connemara, Locke’s & Kilbeggan ranges – as well as numerous other brands.

Dingle Distillery – Producers of Dingle Whiskey

Echlinville Distillery – All current releases under the Dunvilles brand are sourced – yet Echlinville are sitting on 5 year old whiskey of their own making which has not yet been deemed ready for it’s public debut.

Great Northern Distillery – Producers of the First Born range debuted at Whiskey Live Dublin.

Kilbeggan Distillery – Producers of Kilbeggan Rye – the 1st Irish Whiskey containing rye for many a year and the 1st whiskey to be wholly produced at Kilbeggan since the micro distillery was commissioned there in 2010.

Pearse Lyons Distillery – Producers of Pearse 5 Year Old Single Malt. Some of the Pearse blends also contain malt made on the stills sited at the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin.

Teeling Whiskey Co – Producers of Teeling Single Pot Still. All other current releases are sourced.

The Shed Distillery – Producers of Gunpowder Gin & Sausage Tree Vodka – yet clearly have whiskey waiting to be released.

Tullamore DEW – All current Tullamore DEW is sourced – yet they are obviously sitting on whiskey which has been produced at the new Tullamore Distillery.

West Cork Distillers – Producers of the Glengarriff range. Some of the WCD range is sourced + they supply other brands too.

Camera Shy Cork Distillery – The only whiskey producer not mentioned is Midleton. Could this be them?

A small sample of Whiskey 21C was also offered to Whiskey Live Dublin attendees!

I found it a young, fresh & fruity blend. Approachable & easy despite it’s 54.2% strength. There was no mention if it was either a blended malt or a malt & grain mix – nor the percentages of the distilleries involved in the project. I was just extremely pleased to get a chance to taste the future of Irish Whiskey!

A big thank you to all the hard work of the team behind Whiskey Live Dublin AND Whiskey 21C.

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A toast to the future of Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

May your glass be ever full!

Sláinte

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Monte Alban, 100% Agave, Mezcal, 40%

One of the most innovative & interesting new whiskeys I managed to sample at the recent Whiskey Live Dublin event was a 10 year old grain finished in ex-Mezcal casks.

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Innovation in an Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Mezcal might not be familiar to many – I only recently sampled one myself – hence I thought it timely to explore this drink.

Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant. It has Geographical Indication status and must be made in Mexico.

Mezcal has a long history & tradition involving roasting pits to process the raw agave. The addition of agave fibres to boost flavour during fermentation and distillation in pot stills made of clay – at least for the highest grade of Ancestral Mezcal.

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Mexican Mezcal c/othewhiskeynut

The Monte Alban before me would be an entry level Mezcal – it’s all I could find at my local store – and is produced in Mexico for the Sazerac group.

The nose is very pungent with heavy deep earthy notes complimented by a mere wisp of smoke.

Very smooth & approachable on the palate. The earthy aromas dominate in an oily mouthfeel which slowly dries out leaving a lovely ash laden quality on the long finish.

I found this a very satisfying and intriguing spirit.

One that pulls me in.

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what Mezcal flavours come through in the final mix of the retail version Mezcal finished Irish Whiskey from JJ Corry.

Sláinte

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Whiskey Live Dublin, 2017

Whiskey Live Dublin continues to grow every year. Not only in numbers attending this marvelous showcase of Irish Whiskey – but also the amount of exhibitors on display.

There are masterclasses held throughout the course of the day which provide access to the distillers, whiskey ambassadors, blenders & bottlers who are driving the current growth in Irish Whiskey. It was to one of those classes that I started my visit to this years show.

Alex Chasko – master distiller with Teeling Whiskey Co. – regaled us with the story behind the current Brabazon series of whiskeys – as well as introducing us to some choice single cask samples.

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Brabazon tasting time c/othewhiskeynut

I was particularly taken by the 2001 Port Single Cask – especially in the newly released Tuath Irish Whiskey glass which was provided to visitors at the event.

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Teeling & Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

After this highly enjoyable introduction – I joined the crowds in the main hall as I tried to sample my ‘hit list’ of whiskeys I’d either missed out on during the year – or were new releases appearing at the show for the first time.

The Glengarriff series from West Cork Distillers were on my list.

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Glorious Glengarrif whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

I was highly impressed by the Peat Charred Cask single malt. The influence of the peat was clearly evident on both the nose and taste – yet there was a lovely earthy savouriness element to the expression too. Beautiful!

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Dunvilles Three Crowns Peated c/othewhiskeynut

Talking about peat – Echlinville had their Three Crowns Peated on display – very appealing to my tastes. But what surprised me was their yet to be released peated poitin – Bán Barreled & Buried at 47.2% – now that’s a tasty innovation.

Now I’d heard Kilbeggan were showcasing some of their ‘experimental’ casks – as well as the current range of freshly re-branded (and even re-recipied in some cases) favourites too – so naturally I was excited by a 6 year old Rye Pot Still!

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When will this stunner be released? c/othewhiskeynut

Rich rye on the nose & taste followed with some creamy smoothness. Stunning!

Peter Mulryan’s Blackwater Distillery – which is currently under construction in Co. Waterford – chose to reveal their Retronaut 17 year old single malt at the show – a must try.

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Retronaut Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

I can confirm the whiskey is every bit as bold & brassy as the elegantly designed label on the very attractive bottle.

At this stage in the proceedings – with a few samples onboard – chatting away with fellow attendees & stall holders began to divert me away from my ‘hit list’ as I was tempted into trying some surprising expressions.

Cork Whiskey Society had assembled a fine display of whiskeys from times gone by.

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A bevy of beauties! c/othewhiskeynut

The Bushmills 5 year old single malt took my fancy and a sample was procured. Was it just me or did this bottle taste more bold & robust in flavour than some current releases?

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A tasty blend c/othewhiskeynut

The Irish Whiskey Society’s excellent private bottling range continued to impress with a delightful blended offering sourced from the Teeling Whiskey Company.

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A Single Cask Powers c/othewhiskeynut

The Powers range of single cask releases surprised me with the fine creamy single pot still character on this Celtic Whiskey Shop‘s 16 year old exclusive. I did miss the signature spice kick though.

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Powerful bourbon c/othewhiskeynut

I also couldn’t resist a powerful Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel Bourbon at 65.4% – my sole American sample at the show.

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Campbeltown’s Longrow Peated c/othewhiskeynut

Longrow‘s  Peated Single Malt didn’t disappoint either – being my only Scottish dram on the day.

Apologies to all those I didn’t get round to sample, visit or even chat to – there is simply too much to cover in one session – which is part of the fun.

There were a few that got away – but the one I missed the most was the return of the indulgent donuts on the Dublin Liberties Whiskey stall!

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Donuts! c/o@AlanWhiskey

Sláinte.

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Whiskey Festivals

Real whiskey geeks across the world are already booking their holidays & planning trips to coincide with an array of whiskey events that take place throughout the year globally.

I’ve been to a few of these events – and thoroughly recommend them.

Why?

A room full of whiskey for you to sample. Often staffed by the people that make it. Whiskies you’ve never even heard of or can’t afford to buy.

A room full of fellow whiskey enthusiasts. Chat, compare, contrast. Conversation is easy with like-minded folks.

A room full of tasty food pairings & bottled water. It’s bad form to get too drunk so keep well fed & hydrated.

And a room full of whiskey knowledge, whiskey talks & whiskey tales that would take a lifetime to amass on your own steam.

Need any more reasons?

Below is a short itinerary of shows around the world I’ve either been to – or would like to attend.

Looking forward to bumping into you at one of them!

January

Well it’s a bit late now – but Burns Night on 25th January is an annual celebration of the Scottish Poet accompanied with whiskey & haggis! There are many local events held throughout the world. Check press for details.

The National Whiskey Festival is a new show held in Glasgow on 28th January.

February

Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair kicks off Dublin’s events. Although mainly craft beer – there are a smattering of distilleries showing. The main item this year will be the imminent opening of The Pearse Lyons Distillery in the Liberties. By the way – Pearse Lyons is a Dublin born business man who happens to be the founder & president of Alltech.

March

With low-cost airlines making a trip across to the UK affordable – I’m tempted by Whisky Birmingham. It’s only a stones throw away but from previous knowledge the range of whisky on offer is often different from that available in Ireland. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway – as well as an opportunity to see how a whisky club manages to put on a big show!

April

Whisky Live bills itself as ‘The Worlds Premier Whisky Tasting Show’ and is a global event taking place in prestigious venues across the globe throughout the year.

Whisky Live London takes place on 31st March to 1st April.

May

The Whisky Live roadshow continues it’s global reach down under in Sydney on 5th to 6th May and Canberra on 26th to 27th May. I managed to catch the Melbourne show last year.

June

Bloom is all about gardening – but there was a fabulous beer & whiskey tent last year!

Whiskey In Summer is a new event to Dublin on 30th June. I’ve teamed up with them to secure 3 Whiskey & Food tickets for only 13 euro each. Contact me if you would like to join myself & others in attending this new show.

July

If you want fabulous whisky in a fabulous setting – Whisky Live Hobart is the place to be! Award winning whiskies & stunning scenery.

August

The 21st International Berlin Beer Festival sounds like a fun event – and it’s free!

September

The Irish Craft Beer Festival has some whiskey stalls too. A wonderful array of craft beer & whiskey for all tastes. Great craic! 7th to 9th September.

Or if it’s bourbon yer after – Kentucky Bourbon Festival – 11th to 17th September.

October

The Yorkshire Whisky Festival is one of many organised by The Whisky Lounge across the UK & looks good. October 21st.

November

Whiskey Live Dublin is the highlight of the Irish whiskey calendar!  25th November

WhiskeyFest New York. Celebrate 20 years of whiskey festivals in the Big Apple November 16th. Other events throughout USA held too.

December

Well – we are far to busy enjoying our own whiskey festival at home to bother going out anywhere!

There are loads of other shows around the world.

Drop me a line with your own favourite.

Sláinte.

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Many thanks to allevents.in for the header photo.

 

Big Peat, 46% in a Neat Glass

It wasn’t just whiskey on show at Whiskey Live Dublin.

Glassware was also on display at the Neat stand with their friendly crew of attendants who had a cool way of promoting the Neat whisky glass.

An identical sample of a whisky – in this case a Scottish blend by the name of Big Peat – was proffered in 2 whisky glasses for the discerning drinker to nose and compare.

It certainly helped that Big Peat is a blended malt from some of Islay’s finest distilleries including Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore and Port Ellen so a hefty waft of peat smoke was to be expected.

Now I’ve used the Neat Glass for a few years at the Irish Whiskey Awards judging sessions and I have a few at home – but I can’t say I’m a convert.

The thistle shaped glass is made to concentrate the aromas at the centre of the opening without giving that alcohol burn often associated with a strong ABV percentage. So far so good. Big Peat certainly smelled like my kind of whisky.

The second glass was a more traditional tulip shaped offering as in the Glencairn – other brands with a similar style are available. This would be my ‘go to’ glass when at home and in this demonstration I’m afraid to say I got more of that lovely Islay smoke sensation using this receptacle.

I even did some research at home with another whisky and got a similar result.

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Neat Glass vs Teeling copita c/othewhiskeynut

What glassware you drink your whiskey out of is almost as hotly debated as what whiskey you actually put in the glass to begin with. It took me a few years to appreciate some of the smoky drams out there so it may take me a similar period of time to appreciate the Neat Glass.

Undeterred I asked for a cheeky sample of the wonderfully labelled Big Peat for a tasting.

I’ve actually bought a few bottles of this Douglas Laing brand as presents over the years – especially their Xmas Specials – but by the time I visited the recipient the bottles were empty! – which says something about the quality of the liquid within.

Rather than being hit on the head by a lump of turf – as portrayed on the bottle – I was gently caressed by a short sweet note before being immersed in a beautiful peaty smoke which tantalised the tastebuds.

Lovely.

The finish was long and satisfying and would have tempted me for more if there wasn’t so many other drams waiting to be sampled at the show.

I’d like to wish good luck to all the Neat Glass crew. It can’t be easy converting die-hard tulip shaped glass fans like me to Neat – and many thanks for the Big Peat.

Looking forward to our next encounter!

Slainte.

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Slane Irish Whiskey, Triple Casked Blend, 40%

With Guns N’ Roses performing a headline gig at Slane Castle in 2017 – surely it would be an opportune time to launch a whiskey – especially one from Slane Castle itself!

Brown Forman – owners of Jack Daniels – are currently building a distillery at the castle.

Maybe the band would prefer Slane Irish Whiskey than the Jack?

Some reports suggest the band are off the booze however.

I’m not.

So at the recent Whiskey Live Dublin I accepted a pre-release sample of Slane Irish Whiskey.

It’s a sweet child o’ malt and grain whiskey blended in virgin, seasoned and sherry oak casks – according to the great looking mock bottle poster – to produce a lovely smooth & mellow tasting experience.

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Slane Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Not what you’d expect at a Guns N’ Roses show!

Rock On!

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