Tag Archives: Bushmills Distillery

Hot Whiskey by James Morrissey, 1989.

Irish Whiskey was in a perilous state in 1987.

This revealing book by James Morrissey focuses on the remarkable turn of events culminating in the Pernod-Ricard takeover of Irish Distillers.

The most sobering chapters however expose the dismal performance & inability of Irish Distillers to drive the category forward – the very reasons a speculative takeover war started.

Irish Whiskey was a monopoly in 1987.

Irish Distillers owned all the distilleries – 2, Midleton & Bushmills – & all the brands – 15 – & was losing sales.

Cooley Distillery in County Louth was just being founded & had yet to mature any whiskey.

Irish Distillers main sales in 1987 were the domestic market followed by bulk sales to places like Japan – whose blending practices have a long history of using non-Japanese stock.

Sales in the lucrative American market dwindled down to a low of around 250,000 cases – about the same as Conor MacGregor’s Proper Twelve sold alone in 2021 – yet Irish Distillers marketing strategies were effectively underfunded & ineffective.

Without the takeover of Pernod-Ricard & increased competition from Cooley who knows where Irish Whiskey would have ended up.

Irish Whiskey today is in a far more healthier situation.

New brands, new bottles & new distilleries are being announced on an almost weekly basis.

I welcome each and every single one of them as they collectively strive to rebuild Irish Whiskey.

A read of Hot Whiskey sobers you up as to how grim things were a mere 35 years ago.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Hot Whiskey available at www.librariesireland.ie

Reflections on finishing a bottle of Tullamore DEW 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish, Single Malt, 46%

I’ve been making a concerted effort to reduce my number of bottles – hovering around 60 open with another 40 in waiting – & have taken to offering them as sample exchanges or gifts.

Cognisant also that whiskey can deteriorate if not stored properly I was taken aback at my hand scribbled date of ‘June ‘15’ on the box of this one!

Irish Whiskey – and indeed Tullamore DEW – was in a different place back then!

The number of whiskey distilleries releasing matured product in 2015 could be counted on the digits of one hand – now you’d need more than 3 pairs!

Tullamore DEW itself – after having been acquired by William Grants in 2010 – had only completed construction of it’s distillery in Tullamore in 2014.

Tullamore DEW’s success as a brand has been built entirely on sourced product – mainly from Midleton Distillery, although this 12yo Sherry Cask is reputed to be Bushmills distillate.

Today in 2022 clearly the new Tullamore Distillery’s output is mature enough to end up in it’s offerings – yet there’s been no fanfare to announce this.

Instead a seamless takeover from the previous Midleton incarnations to the new Tullamore offerings has prevailed – undoubtedly aided by the skill of the distillery team to create a perfect replica of the previous bottlings.

After all, when you’re the custodian of the 2nd most popular selling brand of Irish Whiskey in the World – why change a winning formula?

I pondered on all of these things while enjoying the last few – & thankfully very well preserved – drops of this 12yo Sherry Cask.

Sláinte

All images authors own.