Tag Archives: Dunnes Stores

Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol in Ireland

MUP – Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol became a ‘thing’ in Ireland on 4th January 2022.

Pegged at 10 cent per gram of alcohol it has effectively wiped out the sub €20 bottle of spirits I enjoyed reviewing.

Lidl & Aldi before MUP

Photographing the shelves of Lidl & Aldi beforehand – all stores have to comply – displays a range going from €14.49 for Samuel Joe’s & Western Gold Bourbon to €20 for Bushmills & Jameson Original.

Lidl & Aldi after MUP

Afterwards all these offerings are at the new minimum price of €22.09.

How the market for those previously sub €20 brands will fare out is hard to predict – I did however purchase a few before the price increase – as is the impact of MUP pricing in reducing the harmful effects of excess alcohol on Irish society.

One thing’s for certain though – The Time’s They Are A Changin’ 🎶

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Dunnes Simply Better, Barrel Aged Feta Cheese.

Browsing the cheese aisle in my local Dunnes Stores a feta cheese caught my eye.

Barrel Aged Feta c/othewhiskeynut

‘Barrel Aged’ it stated.

What barrels & for how long?

Turns out beechwood for a minimum of 60 days.

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I couldn’t discern any wood influence – but enjoying the feta brought me back to lazy beachside days in Greece tucking into a wholesome & fresh feta cheese salad after the previous nights entertainment.

It’s not just whiskey that’s barrel aged!

Sláinte

3 White Rums for Under €20

Update!!! On January 4th 2022 Ireland implemented a Minimum Unit Pricing policy on alcohol. The minimum price for a 37.5% rum in 700ml bottles will now be around €21.

There’s some tasty bargains to be had for under €20 – if you’re prepared to explore.

Contrary to popular myths these supermarket offerings certainly don’t all taste the same – and nor are they short on flavour either!

Today’s comparison are 3 White Rums currently available from 3 large multiples across Ireland.

All are presented at 37.5% ABV with minimal information as regards distillery of origin or processes used.

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Old Hopking from Aldi, ‘Bottled In Germany’, failed to excite me.

A floral nose – reminiscent of gin – put me off & the taste was rather bland too.

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JG Kinsey from Dunnes, ‘Bottled In The UK’ with ‘Imported Caribbean Rum’ impressed.

A soft funky aroma followed through on the palate with a pleasing peppery finish.

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Liberté from Lidl & ‘The Réunion’ proved enticing.

An impressive fruity funk flowed through both the nose & palate finishing of with a joyful prickliness.

For elegantly displaying the essence of rum, Liberté is my winner – with JG Kinsey a close 2nd.

I’d happily buy both again.

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a tasty rum!

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JG Kinsey, Dry White Rum, 37.5%, Caribbean .

After enjoying the delights of JG Kinsey Whisky – I pleasingly noticed the addition of a rum to the JG Kinsey range of spirits in my local Dunnes Stores.

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JG Kinsey Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Offered in an attractive metallic blue – the whisky comes in green –  ‘Product Of The Caribbean’ is all you’ll get as to the source of this spirit.

Clear colourless rum with good viscous legs.

A rather soft aroma with subtle hints of sweet fruity funk peeking through.

The palate is very smooth with a silky mouth coating feel. That fruity funk opens up a little developing a light peppery spice to provide the finishing flourish.

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Caribbean Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Very easy drinking quietly exhibiting the attractive attributes I enjoy in a white rum.

Bottled in the UK by R Carmichael & Sons – a subsidiary of the giant InterBev group – years of blending experience shine through in this simply stated yet well delivered rum.

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JG Kinsey, Special Reserve, Blended Scotch, 40%

Wow!

This one gives a lot!

I picked up this bargain basement blend working my way through all the whiskeys available in my local Dunnes Stores.

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JG Kinsey founded 1892 c/othewhiskeynut

JG Kinsey also comes with gin & vodka options & I had it down as a store brand.

WRONG!

Jacob G Kinsey was an american gentleman who founded the Linfield Distillery in 1892. Pennsylvania was – and still is – associated with rye whiskey. A successful business flourished, floundered, merged & was subsumed into the giant International Beverage Holdings Group.

Kinsey’s name lives on with this current offering – plus numerous blogs & posts about the now abandoned plant at Linfield.

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Linfield Distillery c/opre-pro.com

Interestingly New Liberty Distillery in Philadelphia – who have a connection with Connacht Whiskey in Ballina – also name check Kinsey with a range of Bourbon, Rye & American Whiskey.

With all this proud heritage – would the liquid inside the bottle deliver?

Well the nose had that sweetly honeyed, richly caramelised aroma – with a touch of depth.

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Some pedigree c/othewhiskeynut

As the label states – it was definitely smooth – but the body displayed a lovely wholesomeness which flourished on the finish into a gorgeously drying spiciness.

The source of this depth no doubt comes from the more meaty style of malts produced at the Balmenach, Balblair & Speyburn distilleries of the InterBev Group.

They give the blend a more robust kind of ‘Highland’ appeal – which suits my palate.

A bargain basement beauty!

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O’Neill’s Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

It seems every time I shop in my local Dunnes store there’s a new Irish Whiskey out!

Sporting what I’d describe as a classic green bottle topped with a red screw cap & traditional looking label – O’Neill’s appears to be a no nonsense style of whiskey.

Proclaiming to be of ‘Fine Spirit’ & ‘Smooth Blended’ the label has minimal information.

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Alfresco whiskey tasting. c/othewhiskeynut

Double Cask Matured is stated – with no mention of which casks – and produced by West Cork Distillers for what I assume is a Dunnes store brand – it made my basket.

And then my Túath glass.

Quite a rich golden hued colour for what I take is a young whiskey.

The nose is rather soft, sweet & honeyed.

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Minimal info c/othewhiskeynut

More engaging on the palate. The sweetness suggests a sherry cask influence – along with bourbon cask maturation – giving a bit of depth & body to the blend.

The grain element gradually kicks in with a little heat & soft prickliness.

A gentle spice rounds off the finish.

O’Neill’s delivers a decent straight down the line blended whiskey experience at an affordable price.

On a back to back with it’s Ardfallen sister, I found O’Neill’s a more sherried & rounded whiskey – making it worth the extra few euro.

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Dunnes Stores Traditional Whiskey Smoked Irish Ham

If you’re out shopping for some sliced ham – as I was – and you come across a Whiskey Smoked one – there can only be one response – buy it!

Now it might be a gimmick.

It might not be up to much.

But it sure is worth a punt!

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A proper sandwich. c/othewhiskeynut

I happily slapped a few slices in a sandwich layered with mayonnaise for a taster.

Very nice!

To be fair no whiskey has been used in the smoking. It’s the whiskey wood chips that provide the fuel source for the aromatic smoke after the spirited liquid has been removed.

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3 days maturation – sorry – curing! c/othewhiskeynut

Trying the ham ‘neat’ did reveal some subtle smokiness which gave welcome added flavour.

Suited my palate just fine!

Sláinte

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Drombeg Original, 22%, Liqueur

I’m slowly working my way through all the whiskeys available to buy in my local Dunnes store.

A bottle I’ve avoided up until now eventually made it into my basket.

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Drombeg Original.

It was one of West Cork Distillers first offerings – and is a mainstay on the whiskey shelves at Dunnes.

Despite looking like a whiskey – golden brown in colour – at only 22% – clearly isn’t.

There is no mention of whiskey on the label either – so perhaps ‘spirit drink’ or ‘liqueur’ would be a more apt descriptor.

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Drombeg back c/othewhiskeynut

The nose is caramelly sweet – the label states added E150a – a bit of vanilla with a hint of woodiness too.

Initially watery – not a great deal going on  – a slight touch of heat towards the finish – some soft woody spice – but the sweetness dominates.

Rather empty.

The back label suggests a serving with ginger ale.

Probably a good idea.

Sláinte

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Paddy Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

There’s been a lot of interest in the new design for Paddy’s Irish Whiskey.

Sazerac have recently taken ownership of the brand from Pernod Ricard – it is still made in the New Midleton Distillery in Ireland – and are injecting some money & life into the marketing & labeling of this historic whiskey.

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The new Paddy c/otwitter

Die hard fans are not exactly enamoured by the rebrand.

The additional ‘s in Paddy, the additional ‘e’ in whiskey, the altered image of Paddy himself with bowler hat, clover and smile has all caused a degree of ire.

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I see it as the onward development & change inherent within the whiskey industry.

Spotting some bottles in my local Dunnes store when out shopping – also with the extra ‘e’ – I thought it opportune to revisit this blend.

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Paddy Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

The nose has that sweet caramelly aroma common to many an entry level blend. It’s relatively grainy neutral otherwise.

The taste is soft & sweet, but develops into a noticeable heat with warming vanilla & caramel dominating.

It’s a robust little dram with a short finish & uncomplicated appeal.

What Paddy Flaherty was dishing out in his legendary sales adventures is in all probability nothing like today’s offering.

To begin with it wouldn’t have been chill filtered. That practice didn’t become common until after the 1940’s or 50’s.

The barley and/or corn raw ingredients were probably organic – as were all grains in a pre-petro chemical agri business environment.

The whiskey Paddy was plying would likely have been a pot still whiskey – a  mix of malted & unmalted barley – and not a blend at all. Irish distillers were reluctant to embrace the new technology of the Coffey Still which kick started the modern whisky industry.

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Paddy no ‘e’ Centenary Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

It also wasn’t until the 1920’s or 30’s that bottling Irish whiskey became the norm. Usually it was sold in barrels to pubs, bars & hotels who dispensed it straight from the cask – a large variation in quality could then ensue.

Even if Carol Quinn – Archivist at Irish Distillers – is sitting on an original Paddy Whisky recipe – it would be difficult to recreate.

The soils would be different, the water would be different, the air would be different, the processes have been altered, the wood for maturation would be different – all factors that in a myriad of ways would alter the taste, texture and flavour of the resulting whiskey.

But we can sit down today and enjoy a glass of Paddy’s Irish Whiskey.

I raise a toast to his memory and the fabulous tales therein of the original brand ambassador.

Sláinte

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Great Oaks Irish Whiskey, Blend, 46%

As I write this Ireland is effectively in lockdown covered in a great blanket of snow from the #BeastFromTheEast & awaiting the blizzard of Storm Emma.

In response I’m sitting indoors enjoying a #WarmthFromTheWest whiskey by the name of Great Oaks.

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Great Oaks c/othewhiskeynut

This whiskey seems to be off the radar for most – which is a pity – as it’s the perfect antidote to keep Storm Emma at bay.

I’ve only come across it in Dunnes stores – yet it’s a product of West Cork Distillers.  The label isn’t particularly attractive. Rather plain & unassuming – but for me – it’s the contents that count.

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#WarmthFromTheWest c/othewhiskeynut

There’s a rich inviting nose of vanilla & caramel – with a hint of oakiness – the usual notes expected of bourbon cask maturation coupled with charred cask finishing.

In the mouth it’s soft, approachable, very bourbony and above all, lovely & warming. The oak influence adds a degree of spiciness too. Very nice.

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Detail c/othewhiskeynut

A lovely dry prickly finish rounds off this comforting little blend.

Bottled at 46%, non chill filtered, no age statement & possibly without added caramel. I’d suggest this was all West Cork’s distillate. It has the same DNA as their Black Cask bottling which at only 40% doesn’t pack as much flavour or heat.

With snow all around – heat is exactly what I’m looking for and Great Oaks certainly delivers that in a delightfully enjoyable way.

Keep yourself warm with a bottle from the West!

Sláinte.

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