Tag Archives: Canadian Whisky

O’Connell’s, Galway.

O’Connell’s on Eyre Square is handily situated a stones throw from the railway station and my train home.

The outside of the premises looks like an old shop with the large open window at the front allowing a view into the bar inside.

Indeed O’Connell’s used to be a grocers – operating alongside the pub – which is still a feature of many a more traditional Irish bar. The grocery is long gone now – but a lovely patterned tiled floor remains to remind you of former times.

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O’Connell’s tiled floor from bygone days c/othewhiskeynut

I’m surprised I could still hold the camera steady enough to capture a snap after all the great whiskey I’d had during my day on the Galway Whiskey Trail – and seeing as this was my last venue – I threw caution to the wind and went for 2 expressions from the fine array of bottles perched on wooden shelves behind the bar.

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O’Connell’s bar & whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

A Titanic was very quickly spotted with the friendly and informative staff giving me a brief lowdown on the heritage of this Cooley made discontinued brand.

As I’d previously met Peter Lavery – the brands owner – at the 2014 Irish Whiskey Awards – and turned down the Titanic in favour of Baileys Whiskey in Tigh Neachtain’s earlier – I loved the opportunity to plug the gap in my whiskey tasting experience.

Glass duly in hand I sat down below the front window on a long bench beside the growing number of customers to enjoy the lovely mellow and sweet – smooth tasting tipple from the Belfast Distillery Company. Such a delight. Pity it’s no longer around.

At times like this I do ponder if the mood and general wellbeing of the taster- as well as the ambience of the premises and conviviality of fellow drinkers – influences the resulting ratings given to any particular dram.

It wasn’t just the whiskey warming me to this lovely pub. The conversation was flowing too – and the heat was definitely on with warm air being pumped into the large bar area from under the bench.

You’ll have to excuse the musical interlude to commerorate the passing of yet another musical icon – Glen Frey.

O’Connell’s also boasts a more traditional lounge area at the back – along with a beer garden to compliment the rather unique setting of the front bar. I certainly enjoyed it. So much so that when I chatted to the staff and spotted a bottle of Crown Royal – I couldn’t pass it by.

Crown Royal Deluxe is the entry level blend from the now famous Canadian distiller whose Northern Rye expression is the Best Whisky In The World  2016 – according to Jim Murray. I was curious to see what the fuss was all about.

From the initial sweet aroma of the rye – the smooth creamy mouthfeel and complex taste together with the lovely warm finish – this is certainly a different flavour profile to the Irish whiskeys sampled before. I can see why Jim rates this brand and I’m sure I’ll seek out other opportunities to try it. I wasn’t disappointed!

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Some of the whiskeys for sale c/othewhiskeynut

A glance at the time roused me from my revelry. With less than 5 minutes before the last train home I hurriedly made my way to the station.

The ticket collector was already shouting out the imminent departure as I – and a few other stragglers – ran along the platform. I’d only got round to taking my jacket off before the train started rolling. Talk about cutting it fine!

At only half seven in the evening – I’d be having an early night – but considering my first whiskey was at half ten that morning – it would be welcome.

My Galway Whiskey Trail adventure was a wonderful experience.

So many pubs.

So many new expressions sampled and plenty more yet to taste.

So much help and advice from the friendly staff and so much craic from the customers.

I’d do it all again!

When will you do the Galway Whiskey Trail?

Maybe I’ll tag along?

Sláinte,

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McCambridge’s, Galway.

I’d already walked passed the next venue of my Galway Whiskey Trail adventure earlier on in the day as I wasn’t exactly sure what it had to offer.

McCamdridge’s isn’t even a pub!

I know it more as a fine deli – cafe and classy restaurant where occasionally I’d meet herself – who is far more of a foodie than myself. She rates it very highly.

But my curiosity was pumped by my whiskey intake – or should I make that ‘Voodoo In My Blood’  – to enjoy a little musical interlude from the lovely Edinburgh based boys – Young Fathers – together with trip-hop heroes Massive Attack – currently on tour.

What greeted me inside was a very unexpected and impressive display of whiskeys for sale.

Turns out McCambridge’s is a rather fine off-license too!

A few of the expressions were unfamiliar to me. An interestingly old fashioned styled label proclaiming to be Egan’s from Tullamore took my eye – quickly followed by a bottle of Canadian Crown Royal bedecked in it’s trademark velvet bag – but I wasn’t here to buy.

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Egan’s in the hand c/othewhiskeynut

“We do tastings as well.” the helpful staff member offered when he saw me looking.

Indeed they do.

A quick scan of the website reveals the whiskey tasting evenings are held upstairs in the restaurant. Sounds very inviting. Especially when those tastings are paired with the lovely food McCambridge’s is famous for.

They also plan to install a copper pot still style display where potential customers can try before they buy the excellent range stocked.

Now that’s my kinda shop!

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Helpful staff and bewildering array of whiskey for sale c/othewhiskeynut

A first class venue to purchase a bottle of that fine dram you tasted earlier in one of the Galway Whiskey Trail pubs.

I couldn’t count the number of expressions available – but there were plenty about.

After Jim Murray controversially gave a Crown Royal expression his top spot in 2016 – I don’t think the bottle I saw earlier will be on the shelf for long. Despite my whiskey soaked brain screaming BUY IT – somehow or other the voices in my head said NO – you’ll only drop it before you get home!

Conscious there was yet one more premises to attend – temptation was resisted.

Did I mention Heaven 17 played a blinding set at the Big Top in  Galway a few years ago?

Obligatory photos were captured and the staff thanked for giving me the time for a little chat inbetween serving customers – even though I bought nothing myself!

I bid my farewell and headed off to Eyre Square for the final pub.

Sláinte,

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