It’s great to see an old historical Irish Whiskey building come back into use.
Tullamore DEW’s Old Bonded Warehouse has re-opened under new ownership – local businessman Alan Clancy & local PGA golfer Shane Lowry – with a new name – Old Warehouse.
The building has only been open to the public for a few weeks but a visit to sample the hospitality was in order.
Much remains the same from the outside – only the whiskey barrels sport their new branding.
The inside is oddly reminiscent of the former owners Tullamore DEW – who rightly moved the whiskey visitors experience to the actual working distillery a few miles down the road – with the bar area now moving to the back wall but happily showing an array of whiskey barrels as well as 3 copper pot stills in the 2nd floor dining area.
A nice little touch was the copper topped salt & pepper set which made me smile.
The top floor has yet to be developed into a sports bar & a large pizza oven is due to be fired up too. A late licence has also been applied for.
We enjoyed a late brunch in congenial & warm surroundings.
It took me back to an earlier meal in the building – 2016’s Irish Whiskey Awards!
All in all a fantastic venue and a welcome addition to the hospitality scene in Tullamore – along with the Midlands in general.
Despite the early controversy over labelling – their whiskey has always rated highly with me winning 2 blind tasting categories in the 2017 Irish Whiskey Awards judging sessions I attended.
Perhaps it’s #allaboutthewood – as their slogan goes.
Or could it be the non chill filtration & no added caramel?
The ‘no added caramel’ isn’t actually stated on the labels – but a perusal of whisky.de – where it’s a requirement to say if caramel is added- reveals none.
Whatever the reasons – my palate enjoys Hyde Whiskey & an opportunity to sample 6 of their current range is a delight.
Many thanks to Hyde Whiskey for providing the samples. My thoughts – as always – are my own.
Rather than going by release numbers or dates – all Hyde Whiskey carry significant years in Douglas Hyde’s history as well as release numbers – I’m following perceived wisdom in tasting Blends, Single Grain & Single Malt.
All are presented at a pleasing 46%.
No 6, 1938, President’s Reserve, Sherry Cask Finish
Honeyed vanilla, smooth & easy, clean finish with lovely prickliness.
Having given this top rating in the 2017 blind judging it was great to encounter this one again. It didn’t disappoint.
No 8, 1640, Heritage Cask, Stout Cask Finish
Crisp & clean, lovely mouth coating, flavours develop on a long finish.
A recent newcomer to the range entering the exciting beer cask finished craze. I found it a very engaging offering.
No 3, 1916, The Áras Cask, Single Grain
Rich vanillas, lightness yet full on flavour, classic ex-bourbon cask notes.
I’ve always found this one an attractive whiskey. Love the simplicity & cleanliness of the ex-bourbon maturation which 1916 has in spades.
No 5, 1860, The Áras Cask, Burgundy Cask Finish
Dark fruits, easy sweet mellowness, almost like fruit pastels on the finish.
I do find wine finished whiskey a tad too sweet for my palate – but they’re a winner for others. This is a good example.
No 7, 1893, President’s Cask, Sherry Cask Matured
Rich sweet fruitiness, silky mouthfeel, notes of sweet plums.
Originally released as a 10 year old, now non age statemented, the sweet tooth flavours still come through very well.
No 4, 1922, President’s Cask, Rum Cask Finish
Dark fruitiness, heavier appeal, rich juiciness, touch of spice.
Despite being sweet, the rum finish added depth & body which suited my palate. Very nice!
Trying to choose a favourite among this excellent selection is really down to personal preference with such fine whiskeys.
To narrow it down my winners for each category were;
1938 for the blends,
1916 for single grain &
1922 for single malt.
These whiskey are all winners in my book – but for overall appeal, lovely engaging flavours & attractive bite on the finish – I’m giving top spot to 1938!
I got chatting with some American tourists – as you do – and they asked a pertinent question.
‘If you’ve heard a lot of good news regarding a whiskey – does that raise your expectations?’
‘Certainly’ I replied ‘But the proof is in the drinking.’
So I gave Three Ships a good nosing – and beamed a broad smile.
There was a richness & depth to this whisky that captivated me.
Notes of dark cherries – a juicy fruitiness – the warmth from years in wood and a touch of oaky spice. It reminded me of a good port finish – yet this was a South African Pinotage Wine cask. Works for my palate!
Those dark – almost heavy notes – followed through into the taste. My mouth burst with flavours before a pleasing punchy alcohol kick set them alight.
The finish had those flavours gently falling back into orbit with a gorgeous warm oaky spice tinged with prickly juiciness.
I was so impressed I insisted my American friends took a swig.
They likened the punchy quality to a good rye – no bad thing in my book – although the luscious fruit juiciness of Three Ships was in contradiction to the dry peppery spice of a rye.
Even after tasting the Irish Whiskey Awards winners – this Three Ships 15yo certainly won me over!
Many thanks to the kindly American tourists for sharing their time & displaying the whisky for my snaps. Hope you had a great time in Ireland.
I got fierce excited at last years Whiskey Live Dublin over the opportunity to sample an Irish rye whiskey that was still maturing in Kilbeggan Distillery.
The bottle was filled straight from the cask at over 60% ABV & presented non chill filtered without added caramel.
It was powerful – yet the mashbill of malted & unmalted barley together with a high rye content displayed that wonderful peppery rye spiciness with a smooth & creamy barley influence.
Almost a year on the production bottle has been released in time for Whiskey Live Dublin 2018 – as well as picking up a Gold Medal at the recently held Irish Whiskey Awards.
As a self confessed rye fan I picked up a bottle in the distillery on my return from the highly enjoyable awards evening at Slane Castle.
Now the bottle design is rather muted & understated. There are some lovely tasting notes on the back label – an unexplained handshake logo on the neck – and a nod to the historical inclusion of rye in Irish whiskey making from times past.
I fully welcome the return of rye to the modern Irish whiskey scene.
On the nose it’s very soft, slightly sweet with just a hint of peppery spice that signifies the rye content.
The palate is also very silky & smooth. The barley content dominates the initial experience before that black pepper spiciness – which I love – kicks in to leave a wonderfully drying mouthfeel at the end which slowly fades away.
At 43% & with added caramel – which is found throughout the Kilbeggan range of whiskeys – I couldn’t help feeling some of the spark & vitality of that original cask sample had been lost a little in this more tame offering.
I just had to compare it with the Arbikie Highland Rye released late 2017 in Scotland.
Now this is also a barley/rye mix – but there’s no unmalted barley – and the rye content is higher at 52%. It’s also younger at only 2 years old & has no added caramel or chill filtering. It’s bottled at 46%.
There is more pronounced rye on the nose.
The smoothness & creaminess of the barley belies it’s young age before a joyfully massively drying peppery spice explodes on the palate leaving a fabulously prickly finish.
I’m afraid to say – when it comes to rye – Scotland do it better.
A collaborative team from the 11 venues of The Galway Whiskey Trail selected this Gold Medal winning 10 year old single malt made at West Cork Distillers to be sold on the trail. I thoroughly enjoyed my day on the trail during an otherwise dull January day.
The launch night itself in May aboard the Aran Islands ferry on the stunning Galway Bay with wonderful company & beautiful scenery certainly deserves a Whiskey Nut Award for the best new whiskey launch of the year!
I’m definitely looking forward to a growing list of whiskey trails around Ireland. Especially as the Irish Whiskey Association aims to be a world leader in whiskey tourism.
And perhaps some new whiskeys specific to each trail?
Brian Nation’s speech at the Irish Whiskey Awards in Tullamore highlighted innovation within the industry.
I had tears of joy when he mentioned Irish Distillers are currently growing 140ha of rye near Enniscorthy for potential use in recreating old John Jameson recipes uncovered by the archive department that included rye in the mix.
Later in the evening some whiskey friends from America were sharing a bottle of Emerald American Whiskey.
Well I say American Whiskey as that’s where it was produced and matured.
But the recipe is based on an 1865 Irish Whiskey recorded for posterity by a British excise agent and includes both malted and unmalted barley along with some oats & rye.
It tasted divine.
Not long after that I came across Prize Fight Irish Whiskey at Whiskey Live Dublin.
Another West Cork Distillers produced whiskey that has been finished in ex-rye barrels from Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the dry mouthfeel and rich spicy punch associated with a rye whiskey came through in this delightful blend. Wonderful!
To top it off Fionnan O’Connor wrote an excellent piece in the inaugural Irish Whiskey Magazine which delved in to the history of mash bills commonly used in Irish whisky production in the 1800’s and what do you know? Rye featured quite a bit to the extent that a certain Andrew Jameson went to the trouble of importing the grain as Irish sources were hard to come by .
My mouth is already watering in anticipation of future Irish rye releases.
My Australian adventure was ostensibly for a wedding but I used it to sample & taste as much Aussie whisky as I could come across on my travels.
The variety of styles, tastes & flavours had me enthralled.
Tasmania was undoubtedly the jewel in the crown. It’s home to a growing number of whiskey distilleries including Lark, Overeem, Hellyers Road and the wonderful Belgrove Distillery which produces some astounding rye whisky – well – what else would you expect? – combined with fabulous scenery, wildlife & fine dining.
The trend of countries not normally associated with whiskey production will continue as witnessed by Italy’s highly praised Puni Whisky.
My future holiday plans will always try and seek out new and exciting whiskey in whatever destination I end up in.