Pegged at 10 cent per gram of alcohol it has effectively wiped out the sub €20 bottle of spirits I enjoyed reviewing.
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.
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’ 🎶
Browsing the cheese aisle in my local Dunnes Stores a feta cheese caught my eye.
‘Barrel Aged’ it stated.
What barrels & for how long?
Turns out beechwood for a minimum of 60 days.
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.
I picked up this bargain basement blend working my way through all the whiskeys available in my local Dunnes Stores.
JG Kinsey also comes with gin & vodka options & I had it down as a store brand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.