Tag Archives: Continuous Still

Chaos Is A Friend Of Mine, The Life And Crimes Of Conor McGregor, Ewan MacKenna

The pursuit of all things whiskey takes me down many unexpected paths – like reading a book on Conor McGregor!

The Whiskey and book c/othewhiskeynut

As the figurehead for Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey – now the 4th biggest selling Irish Whiskey in the world according to International Wine And Spirits Research (IWSR) – a greater understanding of the person behind this spectacular achievement drew me in.

Written by award winning journalist & author Ewan MacKenna – who has followed Conor from his 1st UFC victory in 2013 to the present day – it’s a no holds barred account of the Notorious phenomena.

In creating the Notorious character, Conor indulged in unorthodox tactics both in – and often more publicly – outside the ring. Trash talking before fights descended into racism, misogyny & xenophobia mirroring the ‘strongman alpha male’ attitudes of politicians like Putin, Trump & Bolsonaro. Despite projecting an anti-establishment aura – they are all part of the new establishment which has usurped the former incumbents.

The 13 second knockout of José Aldo in 2015 propelled Conor to the top of his sport & amassed a huge fan base.

Despite his off ring antics – which are fully explored in the book – Conor leveraged his position to gain lucrative sponsorship fees & appearances at subsequent UFC fights.

Ewan locates the cult of Conor among other sporting icons. Their dedication & determination to get to the top, their struggles to stay at the top & their inevitable decline afterwards.

Proper Twelve c/othewhiskeynut

Conor’s Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey was eventually released in late 2017 & immediately achieved record sales. Perhaps it’s a way to extend his career as a public figure after losing to Khabib in his last UFC fight in 2018?

Conor’s entry into Irish Whiskey certainly upset the establishment.

To launch a celebrity based brand with no distillery by such a vulgar character was greeted with derision & scorn. No one seemed to even contemplate the success it would engender.

Back story c/othewhiskeynut

Now placed at number 4 – behind Jameson, Tullamore & Bushmills – Proper Twelve outsells established brands like Kilbeggan, Paddy & Redbreast & leaves for dust newcomers like Teeling, Dubliner & JJ Corry.

It marks a major change within Irish Whiskey circles where the status quo of established names has been disrupted & the hegemony of ‘premiumisation’ is challenged.

For the most part the Irish Whiskey community is ignoring these changes.

It’s interesting to note Irish Whiskey also poured scorn & ignored a previous disrupter.

His name was Aeneas Coffey with the patented continuous still.

In doing so Irish Pot Still Whisky lost the lead they had & Scotch took over with blended whisky.

Ironically the current rise of Irish Whiskey is mainly being fuelled by the very same blended whisky – this time spelled with an ‘e’ – of which Proper Twelve is making such a large contribution.

Sometimes I wonder if the Irish Whiskey community is ready for success.

Sláinte

Irish Single Grain Set Piece

Irish Single Grain Whiskey is a bit of a rare breed. Malted barley in pot stills is the norm and has been for centuries – even after fellow Irishman Aeneas Coffey invented his new continuous still around 1830 which sparked the rise of Scottish blended whisky. He did offer it to his fellow countrymen first – but so tied to their superior product they declined – so Aeneas went abroad and the rest is history.

Blended whiskey – a mixture of both malted pot still and grain continuous still spirits – accounts for about 90% of whisky sales worldwide – so is nothing to be scoffed.

Grain Whiskey is generally seen as the inferior spirit in a blend and only a few offerings are available in Ireland or even Scotland.

Ireland had to wait until the 1990’s before it’s first single grain offering was released from the Cooley Distillery in Louth when it opened in 1987.

Kilbeggan Single Grain
Kilbeggan Single Grain

Released as an 8 year old – Greenore Single Grain has recently been re-branded as Kilbeggan Single Grain by the current owners of Cooley, Beam/Suntory. Other age statements are available; 6, 10, 15, 18, 19 and 21 but may be hard to find and/or limited release.

Grain generally needs longer in the barrel to absorb the flavours than malt. Greenore reflects that by being a mild tasting approachable whiskey not unlike The Glenlivet but very enjoyable nonetheless. Bottled at 40% ,mainly made from maize.  B

Single Grain c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop
Single Grain c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop

Teeling Single Grain follows on from Greenore in more ways than one. Also produced at Cooley by the former owners under John Teeling, many of the team at that plant are now the main force behind the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. Innovation is almost part of the Teeling culture and finishing this single grain in Californian Wine Casks certainly does that in raising the aroma and taste of this lovely smooth whiskey. Bottled at 46%, non-chill filtered, no age statement  – it’s no surprise that World’s Best Single Grain 2104 went to this expression. B+

Glendalough Double Barrel c/o Glendalough Distillery
Glendalough Double Barrel c/o Glendalough Distillery

Glendalough Double Barrel is another new player in the Irish Whiskey market. They certainly hit the mark with this expression. As with many new entrants waiting for their spirit to mature – Glendalough has sourced this product from a third party. I originally thought Cooley – but with a malted barley and corn mash I’m not so certain. The malted barley certainly adds a bit more depth to the taste and the olorosso finish only adds to the experience. One to keep Teeling on their toes! Bottled at 42%, no age statement.   B+ 

Single Grain Selection c/o Whiskey Nut
Single Grain Selection c/o Whiskey Nut

A delightful trio of Single Grain Whiskeys to tempt you with their individual take on the silent spirit. All very good whiskeys too for a gentle evening drink. I’m finding it hard to decide between the Teeling or Glendalough as my favorite but think the latter just wins out with the fuller body – probably imparted by the barley content.

If you haven’t tried a single grain yet – now is the time!

Slainte

The Whiskey Nut