Tag Archives: Dublin

Teeling, The Revival Vol V, 12 Year Old Single Malt, 46%

A special whiskey require a suitable time to be opened.

The festive season provided an opportune occasion to crack open & share the contents of this splendid bottle.

Teeling Whiskey Company were at the forefront of bringing whiskey distilling back to the heart of Dublin when they opened up in 2015.

They have successfully leveraged that position by releasing a series of limited edition whiskeys under The Revival series label.

As much care & thought has gone into the presentation packaging of this whiskey as to the actual contents.

The elegant oversized black & gold box swings open to reveal an opulent looking bottle. The Phoenix seal of approval officially declares the contents.

The bottle itself is suitably heavy & chunky while the gold topped cork stopper is also of solid weight.

All of this screams ‘Premium Product’ to me – as well as added expense.

I’ve a feeling a lot of these bottles are destined to never being opened.

Some may end up on prominent display to boost the credibility & bragging rights of the owner.

Others may be hidden in vaults to accrue added value & emerge at a future date for sale to eager collectors.

I’m into whiskey however for the taste & flavour so a glass – or two – was poured!

Now I must admit to being fond of Teeling Whiskey.

They generally release at 46% or above which usually denotes non chill filtering & natural colour. The crispness, clarity & richness of flavour attest to this.

Revival V is no exception.

For me the ex-cognac cask have added a sumptuous nuttiness to the mix – which has me hooked.

Being a 12 year old the original whiskey clearly wasn’t distilled by Teeling.

They acquired a large inventory of sourced stock from an unnamed Irish Distillery – or distilleries – from which they’ve further matured, finished, mixed & blended under the expert guidance of Master Distiller Alex Chasko.

What may have originally been destined as the malt content in a blend, a 40% chill filtered & coloured supermarket whiskey – or even a single cask distillery offering – has ended up as a splendidly presented limited release whiskey.

This is not core release Teeling.

This is unicorn bottling.

A one off chance to grab some quality Irish Whiskey while it lasts.

I’m glad someone grabbed it for me.

This kind of product is no longer within my reach!

Sláinte

Teeling Whiskey Distillery website here.

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Nardini Grappa Riserva, 50%

This is my 1st Grappa since returning from Lucca.

Grappa is fierce hard to get hold of in Ireland outside of specialist shops or select restaurants.

Nardini – who began distilling in 1779 – appear to be the only brand readily available here.

I enjoyed their Bianca – clear, unaged – offering previously so moved up a notch with this Riserva – aged in Slavonian oak barrels – presented at 50%.

Pale gold in colour.

Rich pungent nuttiness, dried fruit & chocolate on the nose.

Lovely smooth mouthfeel belies the high ABV.

Slowly builds intensity with those nutty flavours mixed into a growing prickly dryness on a lip-smacking finish.

A rather intense – yet invigorating – experience!

Sláinte

Nardini website here.

Lucca blog post here.

Nardini Bianca blog post here.

In Praise of Miniatures

Up in Dublin to meet friends & family was a different style of trip to my Poitín Now adventures of last weekend.

I did however manage a quick visit to the Celtic Whiskey Shop to replenish my miniatures.

I do love miniatures.

When you have shelves groaning with around 50 opened bottles of varying spirits – not to mention a similar number waiting to be uncorked – constantly buying more is no longer an option.

There’s also the squeeze on spending by having to fork out increasing amounts for basics – let alone the luxury of drink – so miniatures it is!

There were 3 untried expressions that made my basket.

Nardini Grappa Riserva – to further explore my Grappa fascination.

Cognac Park 10yo Mizunara Cask – Mizunara seems to be all the rage right now – so why can’t Cognac get in on the act?

and

Fercullen Falls Whiskey – Powerscourt’s latest core release blend.

Expect a monologue on each in due course!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Celtic Whiskey Shop website here.

Poitín Now, Bar 1661, Dublin

Where do I begin with Poitín Now?

A band of dedicated, passionate & committed folks coming together to promote & build Ireland’s own unique spirit category – Poitín.

There were a plethora of brands on display.

One off limited releases from Killowen, 2 Stacks & Blackwater to more mainstream offerings from Mad March Hare, Smuggling Nun & also Killowen too!

There’s a poitín for everyone!

So what pleased my palate?

Mad March Hare, 40%

As the crowds initially descended on the more esoteric brands I had free reign to be entertained by the core release from Intrepid Spirits – Mad March Hare.

Offering – to me at least – a classic 100% barley poitín drinking experience. Along with a spicy flourish on the finish Mad March Hare frolicked my senses – just like the live hares do in spring!

Smuggling Nun, 45%

It was a delight to encounter this fabulously branded Irish Poitín from an American based company.

Smuggling Nun is distilled in Ireland to an old mixed mash recipe from the Glens Of Antrim – named after an actual Nun who smuggled in the spirit as Holy Water for the parched prohibition era drinkers.

A sweet easy & oily mouthfeel developed a pleasing warmth with a slight tingling spice on the rear.

Very drinkable!

Blackwater a Dó, 48%

Moving up the price range produced a slightly more challenging drinking experience.

This wonderful cross border collaboration between Blackwater & Killowen started off with a soft nose, gorgeously oily palate with an appreciatively spicy bite on the rear!

I also partook of Blackwater’s own yet to be released DirtGrain Poitín, 43%

Clean & fresh with loads of tingling on the finish.

A different beast of a Poitín!

There were a couple of highly informative talks on poitín – which calmed my pace on the drinking – & informed me further on this burgeoning Irish spirit category – before it was back on the tastings!

One of the reasons in attending these kind of events is the opportunity to sample spirits either beyond my price range, limited releases, hard to find – or all 3.

Baoilleach Cratur, 60.4%

Now anything with a peat influence automatically appeals to my palate & this exploratory peated release Cratur delivered that it bucket loads!

Despite the high ABV – which accounts for my blurred photo – the earthy flavours came through delightfully on a richly oily palate.

Why drink whiskey when you can enjoy this fantastic tasting poitín?

Killowen Bulcán Dead & Buried, 67.9%

Killowen’s peated poitín also delighted my senses.

Gorgeous stuff – but beyond my price limit!

Killowen Pangur, 47%

A hopefully more affordable & bit more accessible core release trio by the name of Pangur caught me eye.

Very attractively labelled with a ‘white cat’ – translation of pangur – the range includes a couple of rested in wood poitins & the unrested one I sampled.

A delightful & easily accessible introduction into the poitín category that doesn’t skimp on the fabulous flavours within.

Poitín does need an affordable brand to appeal to & engage with a wider audience for it to grow. I certainly welcome Killowen’s foray to attain this.

2 Stacks Past & Future

I rounded off the event with an extremely limited release poitín produced specially for Poitín Now.

Past & Future is another peated expression that pleased my palate!

Thus ended my outing to the inaugural Poitín Now event in the very accommodating Bar 1661 in Dublin.

Here’s hoping the enthusiasm of the organisers, exhibitors & attendees translates into a world class spirit category.

The quality, diversity & enjoyability of the spirits on show certainly deserve it!

Sláinte

Header image courtesy Poitín Now

Bar 1661 website here.

All other images authors own.

Johnnie Fox’s & Henry Downes & Co No 9 Irish Whiskey, Blends, 40%

Johnnie Fox’s is a well known pub which does a roaring tourist attraction trade in the mountains just outside of Dublin.

They released a whiskey a few years ago & this is my 1st time to try it.

I’d never heard of Henry Downes before – so had to look them up. Turns out they are also a bar – situated in Waterford City – but originally started out as spirits merchants.

Nice to see some traditions last with this release!

Obviously these are both sourced whiskeys from unnamed Irish distilleries – so what did I find?

Image courtesy apoma.dk

Johnnie Fox’s, Blend, 40%

Pale straw in colour, a fruity little number with hints of darker depth, clean fresh grain palate develops some pleasing spiciness towards the rear finishing with a little spirity kick.

An attractive blend to entice you into the Johnnie Fox’s establishment!

Image courtesy Whiskey.Auction

Henry Downes No 9, Blend, 40%

Whatever happened to the other 8?

A slightly darker shade of pale straw, soft malty nose with hints of wet leather, sweet biscuity palate finishing with a dry peppery spice & slight frisson of excitement.

Grand.

Thoughts

For me Johnnie Fox’s came over as a fresher & livelier style of whiskey which instantly appealed to me.

Can’t help thinking Henry Downes was beginning to suffer from being too long in the bottle & might have been more enjoyable when originally released.

Happy however to have tasted a couple of early pioneers who paved the way for the positive explosion of Irish Whiskey brands entering the market today.

Sláinte

Johnnie Fox’s website here.

Henry Downes bar information courtesy Publication website here.

Samples purchased from Drams Delivered here.

Zingibeer, Ginger Beer, 4%

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a ginger beer – especially an alcoholic one – so spotting this Dublin brewed offering had me hooked.

Very pale in colour – the label boasts natural ingredients & botanicals.

That ginger tang is evident on the nose.

Quite light & very refreshing on the palate. The ginger is more muted & balanced providing a pleasant spicy zing.

Makes for an entertaining alternative & attractive summer drinking experience.

Sláinte

Keavin’s Port, Dublin. Wetherspoon’s Irish Expansion.

Wetherspoons divide opinion.

Spoons news & menu c/othewhiskeynut

When they first appeared in North London back in the 1980’s – I was there.

One of their earliest bars – The Rochester Castle – became a frequent haunt of mine – & I’ve been in many since.

The Wetherspoon model – which is still in use today – was relatively radical at the time.

No piped music.

No TV screens.

No slot machines.

No smoking areas.

Food served all day.

Free refills of tea & coffee.

Varying taps of ‘real ale’ offered at decent prices.

Little did I know nearly 40 years later I’d be looking forward to a weekend away with herself staying in the newly opened €33 million Keavin’s Port Hotel & Bar to enjoy that very same model!

Keavin’s Hotel & Bar c/othewhiskeynut

Most of those monies were spent on the careful & detailed restoration of the 8 Georgian Town Houses – plus 1 Chapel – the premises now occupy.

Confessions in the Chapel? c/othewhiskeynut

Pictures, memorabilia & artifacts recalling the former uses of the buildings now adorn the space. From specially commissioned stained glass work of church providers Early & Company to the marvelous inclusion of the former Chapel into a dining area.

Window at reception c/othewhiskeynut

The modern hotel is discretely added on at the back & boasts sleekly designed contemporary rooms with all the expected mod cons – plus the lovely touch of artwork from local schools commissioned by Wetherspoons.

Room artwork c/othewhiskeynut

The bar areas include a stunning 12 metre high glass atrium, 2 beer gardens & cosy snugs within the old Georgian building.

Atrium with bar & beer garden below c/othewhiskeynut

Prices are very keen – Top Brands – Sensible Prices is the tag line – although I was a tad disappointed at the lack of an Irish flavour.

Keen prices c/othewhiskeynut

Opting for a Kenyan Tusker Lager – whose malty body provided a pleasing flavour profile – herself enjoyed a Gunpowder G’n’T from Drumshanbo.

Tusker time! c/othewhiskeynut

Wetherspoon stalwarts of Hobgoblin, Ringwood & Abbot were on tap – no Irish representation here yet – although Beamish & Franciscan Well are available in pint & cans.

Despite being open for less than a week – with a few minor teething problems – the hotel & bar were packed. At one point the very friendly, helpful & courteous staff informed us they had to turn folks away to keep the numbers manageable!

A convivial & jovial atmosphere ensured a mighty evening – whether it was because of the All Ireland Final the following day or folks out for the first time post easing of COVID restrictions remains unknowable.

The controversial & outspoken head of Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, may continue to outrage – though the model of affordable drinking & dining in a bright, architecturally attractive, friendly & comfortably atmospheric space continues to pull in the punters.

Keavin’s Port Bar c/othewhiskeynut

Would you choose to drink at Wetherspoons?

Sláinte

Luzhou Laojiao Six Years Ton Qu. 52% vs Kweichow Moutai Prince, 53%

As it’s WorldBaijiuDay I thought a couple of big hitting Baijiu were in order.

Luzhou &Moutai c/othewhiskeynut

Founded in 1573, Luzhou Laojiao has a long history. This Six Years Ton Qu is a mid price offering.

Known for it’s ‘strong aroma’ style this attractively presented bottle is not for the faint hearted.

Pungent, earthy, meaty yet softly sweet this umami packed spirit doesn’t hold back.

Powerful stuff.

Baijiu in the Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

Kweichow Moutai Prince is also a mid price Baijiu – with a slightly higher 53% & demonstrating a ‘sauce aroma’ style.

The pungency was equally evident, with the meatiness dialed up a notch and less of a spirity kick.

Soya sauce, marmite, yeast extract have all been used to describe the flavour. For me, Moutai delivers a more rounded & earthy drinking experience.

I’d love to explore this category more – but it’s fierce hard to get hold of in Ireland.

Asia Market in Dublin is where I sourced my bottles – and even they are selling out!

Gan Bei!

Johnnie Walker, Irish Whiskey & The Coffey Still.

The iconic ‘Striding Man’ logo gracing bottles of Johnnie Walker Whisky is an apt inspiration for the title of this very highly researched & entertaining book by Nicholas Morgan.

A Striding Man c/othewhiskeynut

Boldly striding across the centuries Johnnie Walker has witnessed many ups & downs as well as twists & turns within the whisky industry.

Originating in 1820 from a Kilmarnock grocers shop specializing in blending tea, Johnnie Walker went on to take full advantage of the Coffey Still to blend whisky.

The book, the whisky & the glass. c/othewhiskeynut

By 1878 the business was expanding massively to cater for demand while both the Highland Malt & the big 4 Dublin Whisky Distilleries mounted a campaign to prevent ‘silent spirit’ being labelled as whisky.

Truths About Whiskey 1878 c/othewhiskeynut

By 1890 Scotch was outselling Irish – up until then the biggest & most reputable whisky sold worldwide – and has done so ever since.

The book chronicles that period of growth for Scotch – blended whisky in particular – as well as many other escapades the Striding Man encountered along the way

A Long Stride is a wonderful read for anyone wishing to grasp the historical complexities & choices made by previous generations that currently shape the whisky industry today.

A rollercoaster of a read. c/othewhiskeynut

It certainly makes me ponder how decisions being made now – often echoing those of the past – will shape the future.

Whatever tomorrow brings the Striding Man – & latterly Striding Woman – will certainly be found playing a key role.

Sláinte