Tag Archives: Galway

Galway Bay, Counting Off The Days, Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, 13.6%

Well I was in Galway – the county at least.

And I did have a couple of Galway Bay beers to share.

So the evening started off with an enjoyable dark lager – Tmavy Lezak at 5% – which is always a favourite style of mine.

Having first encountered a black lager at a shopping centre in Potsdam, Germany – visually appearing as stout yet tasting like a slightly burnt fresh lager gave an entertaining experience – I seek out these enjoyable beers & Galway Bay’s offering didn’t disappoint.

The main event however was a stonking 13.6% Barrel Aged Imperial Stout by the name of Counting Off The Days.

Rich dark & chocolatey – & that’s just the nose!

The palate was so rich & dense with flavour you could chew on it.

Yet there was a lively fresh vanilla from the barrel ageing too.

Top stuff!

We had a whiskey chaser on standby for afterwards – but I’m afraid Counting Off The Days counted us out & we were unable for additional alcohol.

One to drink & enjoy with friends.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Galway Bay Brewery website here.

Micil Inverin, Blend, 46% & Micil Earl’s Island, Single Pot Still, 46%

It’s Micil time!

Micil Distillery in Galway have been distilling tasty Poitín for a few years now.

They’ve also recently laid down their own distillate for the quiet slumber in casks to turn into whiskey.

In the meantime a pair of sourced – Great Norther Distillery – offerings came my way for appraisal.

Micil Inverin, Blend, 46%

A gentle kiss of turf greets the nose.

Clean, clear & fresh palate with more smokey notes appearing.

Gorgeously drying turf on the rear with a spicy lip smacking finish.

Sweet, spicey & smokey.

Lovin’ it!

Micil Earl’s Island, Single Pot Still, 46%

A gentle even shy nose with hints of juicy depth.

Smooth silky palate.

A touch of drying on the rear with subtle sweetness & an engaging spicy kick.

Very nice!

Thoughts

Without a doubt Inverin is my whiskey of choice here.

That warm embracing hug of turf paired with juicy fruitiness is a winner on my palate.

Roll on Micil!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Galway Irish Whiskey, 40%

A range of miniature Irish Whiskey labelled up in Irish County colours make for an entertaining gift.

I picked mine up at the Celtic Whiskey Shop.

Galway is pale straw in colour.

Has a soft honeyed aroma.

Smooth & mellow in the mouth.

With an engaging hint of spice on the finish.

No mention regards source – but reminds me of the best blended Cooley used to offer.

An easy drinking Irish Whskey.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Galway Bay, Märzen To The Fire, 5.5%

Smoke isn’t exclusively either peat – nor restricted to whiskey.

The fuel used to dry the barley – or other grains – imparts a wide variety of flavours to the resultant beverage.

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Smokin’ c/othewhiskeynut

For this Galway Bay Märzen – a popular style of German lager – beechwood is the choice.

I was keen to sample the results.

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Beechwood smoked. c/othewhiskeynut

There’s an element of trompe l’oeil going on here.

You expect a dark, heavy ale – but get a light, refreshing lager overlaid with a soft, attractive wood fired smokiness.

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An excellent accompaniment to those lazy sunny afternoon BBQ’s.

Sláinte

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Michael Collins, Single Malt, 40%

One of the last bars I entered before the COVID19 shutdown was Garavan’s in Galway.

There on the shelves was an old acquaintance of mine – Michael Collins Whiskey.

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Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

Michael Collins is an iconic figure in Irish history. To name a whiskey brand after him celebrates that history.

When having a glass I not only enjoy the whiskey – I also wonder at the momentous changes Michael Collins witnessed – and eagerly participated in – a hundred years ago. There is a similarity to the current changes we are living through with the pandemic.

I ponder at the beauty and longevity of a brand too.

It can outlive changes in distilleries that supply the spirit.

It can overcome changes in ownership.

It can constantly change & adapt to the availability of casks – altering the blending ratios accordingly to produce the finished product.

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I polished off the blend! c/othewhiskeynut

Yet it’s still remains the same brand.

The Single Malt version before me was the old ‘baseball bat’ shaped bottle originally commissioned by Sidney Frank Importing Co. There is no age statement with this one.

It had a smooth honeyed maltiness to begin with. A characterful bite followed by a touch of dryness on the finish – perhaps reflecting a smidge of smokiness – which is more evident in the 10 Year Old Single Malt offering.

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Michael Collins 10yo c/owhiskyauctioneer

Sazerac now own the brand.

I eagerly await their reincarnation of Michael Collins Whiskey.

Just as I look forward to the end of the pandemic – and welcome in whatever changed reality exists in the future.

Long live the brand!

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Midleton Very Rare 2019, Blend, 40%

Sonny Molloy’s in Galway certainly know how to throw a party.

This one happened to be the latest release of the revered Midleton Very Rare series – the 2019 bottle.

I missed out on John Wilson’s – the Irish Times wine guru – introduction and only arrived as Brian Nation – Head Distiller at Midleton Distillery – led out the first whiskey of the evening.

Barry Crockett Legacy, Single Pot Still, 46%

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Legacy miniature c/othewhiskeynut

Like meeting an old friend again – this single pot stills greets you with a warm embrace – cheers you with it’s complex palate and entertains you with a gorgeous oak spiciness.

Fabulous.

Next up came a special treat.

Midleton Single Cask, Single Pot Still, 56%

Drawn from a 21 year old virgin oak cask resting at Midleton – yours for a starting price of only €80,000 – this wasn’t a shy whiskey.

Rich & warm woody oak tannins with a hint of spice – I could have nosed this beauty all night long.

The palate started off flavoursome & smooth – before the strength & gradually drying tannic spice made it’s presence felt – which left my mouth reeling.

Not for the faint hearted.

And then the finale.

Midleton Very Rare, 2019, Blend, 40%

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Drinking MVR 2019 at Sonny Molloy’s c/othewhiskeynut

A blend of up to 226 barrels of grain & single pot still aged from 13 to 34 years carefully put together by Brian Nation himself.

A surprisingly fruity nose – reminded me of wine gums, the dark ones especially.

A silky smooth palate tempered by a lovely gentle sweet grain mixed in with dry oaky tannins – which didn’t overpower – allowing a cornucopia of flavour to flow around the mouth with depth & character in abundance.

A perfectly balanced blend showcasing the rich diversity & age range of the casks available at Midleton Distillery.

A joy to behold.

Sláinte

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A big thank you to all the team at Sonny Molloy’s & Midleton Distillery for the warm hospitality – fabulous whiskey – tasty canapés and highly enjoyable evening.

May the road rise with you!

Micil Irish Poitín, Heritage Edition, 46%

Every now and then there’s a release that just blows away the old myths.

One of the hackneyed stereotypical tropes used is that Irish Whiskey isn’t peated – or as I’m in Ireland – turfed.

Any cursory study of past recipes clearly shows it was – as the collective who collaborated to produce this Heritage Poitín found – and thankfully it now is.

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Micil distillery Instagram Post

Micil Heritage Poitín is the first spirit to use Irish turf to smoke Irish Barley  & Irish Oats in a long time.

This is a game changer.

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Drinking Poitín at the Distillery c/othewhiskeynut

The other myth is that to be a good whiskey it must be aged – preferably for a long time.

Well – after tasting this fabulous poitín – age is only a number.

This is the original uisce beatha – the water of life – that started the whole whiskey craze.

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Micil’s back label c/othewhiskeynut

It’s pure, it’s clear and it’s a delight to drink.

The final myth is that barley is the be all and end all of whiskey.

Again – no relevance to the actual recipes of the past that traditionally used a mixed mash bill of barley – both malted & unmalted – wheat, rye and oats.

The oats in Micil Heritage Poitín give it a gorgeous creaminess with a depth of body & generous legs.

The turf smoke is like the warm hug of a winters fire sharing the craic with friends & family.

Micil Heritage Poitín is stepping back in time to go forward.

I raise a glass to all involved.

To the return of Irish turf!

Sláinte

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Inishowen Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

Woops!

Fresh from the Garavan’s Single Cask Powers release in Galway – I couldn’t resist a nightcap in the wonderful An Pucan bar – which handily happened to be across the road from my digs for the night.

Browsing the extensive Whiskey Menu I chanced upon an old flame – Inishowen Irish Whiskey.

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Inishowen, peated Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

It’s a simple, uncomplicated, no nonsense blend that possesses a rare flavour profile in Irish Whiskey – peat.

Not a lot of it.

Just enough for the dry smokiness to compliment the sweet grain.

Just enough of it for me to enjoy,

And just enough of it left in the bottle for a last serving.

As that seems to be the end of Inishowen in An Pucan.

Woops!

Unless they have more stock of this discontinued beauty!

Sláinte

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Powers 15 Year Old, Garavan’s Single Cask, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, 46%

Garavan’s in Galway is the very epitome of what an Irish Whiskey Bar should be.

Leaving the bustling world outside, it is a haven of calm in a warm friendly bar adorned with a bewildering array of whiskey on wooden shelves behind the bar as well as in glass cabinets around the cozy snug areas.

It entices you in to sit down and slow down.

To take time and browse the extensive whiskey menu looking for a sample of that rare bottling, or perhaps ordering up one of Garavan’s tasting platters to explore the rich depth and variety of whiskey flavours on offer.

Garavan’s even have their own whiskey – Garavan’s Grocers Choice 10 Year Old Single Malt – and a fine whiskey it is too!

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Garavan’s Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

Yet Garavan’s have raised the bar even higher.

In a nod to times past when it was common practice for bars to bottle their own whiskey bought in barrel from the distillery – Garavan’s took themselves down to Midleton Distillery in County Cork and chose a single cask of Powers Single Pot Still Whiskey to be bottled for them as an exclusive Garavan’s Single Cask Release.

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A tasty drop of Powers c/othewhiskeynut

A small gathering of whiskey fans assembled to be part of the unveiling of the Powers 15 Year Old Garavan’s Single Cask Release presented by Ger Garland, Irish Distillers Whiskey Brand Ambassador.

As a way of introduction – we were served a glass of Powers Gold Label.

It’s a blend of spicy single pot still and sweet grain whiskey.

It typifies the more characterful spirit forward, honey sweet yet peppery spiced notes which are usually associated with the Powers range of whiskeys.

It’s a style I enjoy.

The Garavan’s Single Cask Release builds on these elements.

Presented at a higher 46% ABV and being a single pot still there is no grain input. A gentle vanilla & softly burnt toast nose from the exclusively ex-bourbon cask maturation provided the sweet part.

The dry peppery spice came through more clearly & distinctively on the palate with warming notes from the charred cask which slowly faded away leaving a gorgeously dry mouthfeel.

It’s a sensation I enjoy in a whiskey – and one this Powers delivers.

Single cask offerings can vary a great deal.

I’ve tried a few of the Powers Single Cask releases and it always amazes me the differences considering they are all essentially the same distillate. The individual casks used for maturation can produce such a wide variety of results that are normally married together to produce a consistent flavour profile. It’s a treat therefore to sample from one individual cask.

The Garavan’s 15 Year Old Single Cask Release certainly highlights for me the signature sweet & spice Powers mix I find so attractive.

Congratulations to both Garavan’s Bar & Powers Whiskey for coming together to release this bottle.

It’s presented in a very attractive wrap around laser etched box with a representation of the bar itself on the front.

Get it while you can.

Sláinte

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