Tag Archives: Aran Islands

The Famous Galway Bay Irish Whiskey

It’s not very often you get an invitation to the launch of a new whiskey.

So I wasted no time in replying to the RSVP of a ‘Sail With Us On Galway Bay’ for the official launch of The Famous Galway Bay Irish Whiskey.

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The invite to sail.

Mrs Whiskey – whilst not an imbiber of the uisce beatha herself has a very finely tuned nose  in these matters – even asked if she could come along too!

So it came to pass that both of us high-tailed it West down the M6 motorway on a gloriously sunny Friday evening in the whiskey mobile to be at Galway Docks by the appointed time.

Now The Famous Galway Bay Irish Whiskey is the brainchild of The Galway Whiskey Trail collective of 10 whiskey bars and 1 off-licence. They have forged an alliance to promote not only themselves – but the history and experience of Irish Whiskey within Galway City.

During the course of the evening it became apparent in talking to various members of The Galway Whiskey Trail that the passion and enthusiasm this collective has is driving the whiskey experience in Galway to a higher level.

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Galway Hookers at play c/othewhiskeynut

We boarded the Aran Islands Ferry ‘Glor na Farraige’ – ‘Voice of the Sea’ – to begin our voyage escorted out of the docks by the iconic sails of several Galway Hookers. A glorious sight in the evening sunshine.

Padraig Breathnach was our engaging raconteur for the evening to introduce us to the hospitality, great festivals and poetry of Galway – all aided by the addition of a good whiskey!

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The Burren and our raconteurs c/othewhiskeynut

Talented musicians in the shape of Sean Keane and Mairtin O’Connor also accompanied us. Together with some sean nos dancers which further added to the festival feel aboard ship.

Sailing out into Galway Bay itself flanked by Connemara on one side and the majestic limestone hills of The Burren on the other, we marvelled in the splendid scenery and even more splendid sunshine that embraced us.

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The launch c/othewhiskeynut

Moored off Black Head Lighthouse the main event of the evening – the official launch of The Famous Galway Bay Irish Whiskey – commenced with an introduction by Cyril Briscoe.

The whiskey itself is a 10 year old single malt from West Cork Distillers matured in port casks for a period of time and bottled at 43%. Cyril explained a nosing of grapes, apricots and bananas. A taste of toasted orange, toffee and cinnamon with a lingering finish of butterscotch sweetness.

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The pour c/othewhiskeynut

Invited to raise a glass for ourselves – I got a rich nosing. A satisfying mouthfeel with only a hint of the port finish together with a pleasantly warming finish. Not bad at all!

Available only at The Galway Whiskey Trail outlets this expression is the proud achievement of the hard work and dedication all the venues have put into the project. It’s a worthy whiskey to take that passion into a shared experience by those who go on the trail and sample it’s delights.

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The trail and it’s whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Whilst many of us went on board the ferry as strangers. We were warmly greeted by the hosts and encouraged by a shared enjoyment of the stunning landscapes, warm sunshine, convivial company, entertaining music, fine food and excellent whiskey into a family of friends by the time we disembarked.

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Galway Bay and it’s whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

To me it encapsulates what whiskey drinking is all about – and what I felt on The Galway Whiskey Trail back on a cold dreary January day earlier this year.

It’s not just about the whiskey.

It’s about the people you share that whiskey with.

The craic and divilment that flows from drinking the whiskey.

The places and characters you meet along the way.

Whiskey is a journey.

I’m glad I made that journey on Galway Bay.

And I’m glad the people behind The Famous Galway Bay Irish Whiskey made it all possible for me to share that journey with them.

 

My thanks to all the wonderful people who made the whole event a beautiful evening.

Sláinte

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An Pucan, Galway.

The 2nd pub of my Galway Whiskey Trail adventure was only a short walk up Forster Street to the garishly coloured An Pucan bar.

As you can see from the photo above I actually got there before opening time – the train arrived about 10 past – so I took a few snaps before entering.

Before you ask – and I quote here;

“An Púcán” is actually a boat. It is a smaller version of the famous Galway Hooker or Bád Mór. It is about 30 feet in length and was used for fishing and hauling turf around Galway Bay, although they were probably used in other places as well. Nowadays they are pretty much pleasure boats and you can usually see some at the “Cruinniu na m Bad’ a local boat festival in Kinvara Co. Galway. I’ve heard it pronounced “un pookawn”.

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Pucan afloat c/o flikr

A large roomy and spacious area greets you – along with the friendly staff – upon going through the yellow doors. The sheer amount of whiskey showing both behind the bar and in glass display cabinets along the whole of the opposite wall is overwhelming. An Pucan pride themselves in having over 200 expressions on offer.

Luckily I’d heard word through the interweb that the mysterious Craic & Divilment Irish Whiskey was in the house. My eagle eyes scanned the shelves and sure enough – there was the bottle – proudly showing the billy goat sitting quietly on the bar counter.

A glass was soon poured – and not just any glass either – a Glencairn glass I’ll have you know. An Pucan definitely take their whiskey seriously!

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Craic & Divilment Irish Whiskey in An Pucan, Galway with the Glencain glass c/o thewhiskeynut

Some photos were taken of the golden liquid together with more questions which the staff helpfully answered before I ambled off to sit at a chair – fashioned  out of used barrels no less – to enjoy the whiskey. Lovely. For a full review check out a previous blog here.

A further enquiry to the staff about whether I could take more pictures led to much cheerful banter and advice.

‘We have some expensive whiskeys you know – only 10,000 euro a bottle’

‘Ah’ I gulped ‘A bit beyond my price range I think’

Indeed it was WAY beyond anything I could afford – but if you’re in the market – it’s a Midleton VR 30th Anniversery Pearl Edition if you want it.

‘But you’d better hurry’

as Badfinger sang,

”cause it’s going fast’

could equally be applied to the smooth Craic & Divilment Whiskey too as it’s only a limited release.

Rare – discontinued – exclusive bottlings – Japanese – French – American – Welsh and even a pre-whisky whisky from the Puni Distillery in Italy could have enticed me to stay here all day.

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What would you be having? c/othewhiskeynut

Even although it was just after 11am – a few customers were chatting away. A woman over from the Aran Islands – the shuttle buses for the ferry must use the nearby depot -reminisced about when she used to come to the pub for all the dancing with the bands. The staff assured her there was still plenty of dancing and still plenty of live bands playing too.

‘Probably more suited to my daughter’s tastes who’s up here at college herself now. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her the stories of all the great times I had in here dancing’

‘Maybe yer daughter has already been in here enjoying the dancing as well’

‘I hope tis only the dancing she’s been enjoying’ came the reply coupled with a wicked smile and crackling laughter.

Ah yes.

The Irish Pub.

Don’t you just love it.

I certainly do.

That’s the craic – as in the banter- as well as the craic that’s in the whiskey from divilment.

I get the feeling that An Pucan – along with Craic & Divilment – are on to something good here.

Long may it last.

Sláinte

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