Tag Archives: Irish Whiskey

The Philosophy Of Whisky, Billy Abbott

I suppose it was wishful thinking expecting some existential answers to questions like ‘Why has whisky captured the human spirit?‘ or ‘ Can drinking whisky sooth a troubled soul?‘.

The Philosophy Of Whisky is however an easy – if brief – entertaining introduction into the growing global reach of distilling, maturing & enjoyment of the brown spirit.

Chapters covering the big 5 producers – Scotland, Ireland, USA, Canada & Japan – along with mentions on Sweden, Taiwan, India, Australia & Mexico to name a few – give a welcome & refreshing world view on this tasty beverage.

The author still appears to elevate Scotch above the others – even when world whisky is winning tasting awards – & fudges facts over the earliest written records for aqua vitae – the forerunner of whisky.

Yet for all that – anyone still restricting their whisky drinking to Scotch is missing out on a world of exciting tastes, flavours & growth.

Excuse me while I pour some Titanic Irish Whiskey!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Limavady Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 46%

There’s been a lot of publicity around Limavady Whiskey.

Not too surprising really – as Whistle Pig are partners in the venture.

Having said that – any liquid I’ve tasted from the Whistle Pig stable has been top notch – so I’m expecting similar high standards from Limavady Whiskey.

The bottle certainly stands out.

Embossed with ‘1750’ – the date of the original Limavady Distillery formerly ran by master distiller Darryl McNally’s ancestors – crowned with a leaping dog logo below an unusual bulbous top & a natty glass stopper.

The label displays Barrel & Bottle Numbers too.

Bodes well – so how does it taste?

A very appealing deep golden brown colour – no mention of added caramel or chill filtering.

A dark, richly inviting aroma of stone fruits, slight nuttiness & warm maltiness.

Clean, crisp & refreshing on the palate.

The finish comes alive displaying sweet juicy fruitiness contrasting with a lively & enjoyable prickliness dancing merrily around. Leaves a lovely drying sensation slowly fading away.

Well that’s one leaping dog having leapt on my palate to great effect!

Lovely Limavady!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

This bottle of Limavady was provided by their PR company.

All views are – as always – my own.

Hot Whiskey by James Morrissey, 1989.

Irish Whiskey was in a perilous state in 1987.

This revealing book by James Morrissey focuses on the remarkable turn of events culminating in the Pernod-Ricard takeover of Irish Distillers.

The most sobering chapters however expose the dismal performance & inability of Irish Distillers to drive the category forward – the very reasons a speculative takeover war started.

Irish Whiskey was a monopoly in 1987.

Irish Distillers owned all the distilleries – 2, Midleton & Bushmills – & all the brands – 15 – & was losing sales.

Cooley Distillery in County Louth was just being founded & had yet to mature any whiskey.

Irish Distillers main sales in 1987 were the domestic market followed by bulk sales to places like Japan – whose blending practices have a long history of using non-Japanese stock.

Sales in the lucrative American market dwindled down to a low of around 250,000 cases – about the same as Conor MacGregor’s Proper Twelve sold alone in 2021 – yet Irish Distillers marketing strategies were effectively underfunded & ineffective.

Without the takeover of Pernod-Ricard & increased competition from Cooley who knows where Irish Whiskey would have ended up.

Irish Whiskey today is in a far more healthier situation.

New brands, new bottles & new distilleries are being announced on an almost weekly basis.

I welcome each and every single one of them as they collectively strive to rebuild Irish Whiskey.

A read of Hot Whiskey sobers you up as to how grim things were a mere 35 years ago.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Hot Whiskey available at www.librariesireland.ie

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.

Jatt Life, Blended Irish Whiskey, 40%

There are Irish Whiskey brands existing catering soley for markets outside of Ireland.

Jatt Life in Tuath

That’s Jatt Life.

I picked this bottle up on a recent UK visit.

That’s Jatt Life.

The publicity is slick, contemporary, very active on social media & appears to target a demographic & culture of bling that wouldn’t include myself.

That’s Jatt Life.

Jatt Life info

There’s little information on the bottle – but tasting & enjoying the contents is my motivation.

That’s Jatt Life.

A lovely rich nose redolent of succulent dark fruits complemented by hints of woody oak.

The mouthfeel is deep & luxurious.

More woody spice comes through leaving a dry tingling on the long finish.

That’s Jatt Life.

Often virgin oak maturation can be quite aggressive – but additional finishing with sherry oak has introduced a wonderful luscious rich fruity interplay.

That’s Jatt Life.

Enjoying Jatt Life

A very engaging & characterful blend.

Congratulations to Jatt Life – expanding the Irish Whiskey category.

Sláinte

All images courtesy Whiskey Nut

Wicklow Hills, Blend, 40%

Despite my own personal preferences, sherry finished whiskey remains the category of choice for sales & any new brand – like Barr an Uicse from Wicklow – usually have an offering in this style.

An opportune sample at my local O’Briens displayed a fresh & vibrant grainy nose overlaid with deeper, darker notes of sweet plums from the sherry influence.

An attractively easy little sipper.

Sláinte

A Four Country Blind Whiskey Tasting

4 Countries – 4 Whiskey.

No brands – no labels – no bias.

Stripped of back stories, tales of terroir, pricing or provenance – only my palate decides.

This is what I found.

Blackpitts c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Teeling Blackpitts, Single Malt, 46%, Ireland

With only 1 sample exhibiting gorgeous peaty aromas there wasn’t much competition. Blackpitts was a clear winner bursting with fresh vitality & flavourful bouquets. Being Teeling’s own distillate just adds icing on the cake.

Toki c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Suntory Toki, Blend, 43%, Japan

A fresh, clean engaging blend sporting lively grain elements with an enjoyable dry bite. A delightful offering.

Chivas c/oMasterOfMalt

Chivas Regal Extra, 13 Year Old, Blend, 40%, Scotland

A straightforward caramalised blend with a pleasing sherry finish. I find added caramel muddies the flavours & dulls them down a touch, loosing that fresh vitality along the way.

Dylan c/oPenderyn

Penderyn Icon Of Wales #3, Single Malt, 41%, Wales

Penderyn can be hit or miss with my palate. If it had been the fabulous peated Icon Of Wales #6, Royal Welsh – Blackpitts might have been under pressure! Dylan Thomas sadly just didn’t excite.

What would your palate have picked?

Sláinte

DOT 12, Barrel Aged Imperial Rye, 9%

The Irish Craft Beer scene continues to grow.

Partly by innovation, collaboration & the exploration of new tastes & styles.

This latest barrel aged beer does all three.

It uses rye – a relatively unexplored grain for Irish Beer – as well as Irish Whiskey.

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Collaboration c/othewhiskeynut

It’s also a collaboration by 12 Acres of Co Laois and DOT Brew in Dublin, who give this  grain a further twist – by ageing it in Irish Whiskey barrels – as well as other finishes.

I got a pleasantly sweet orange note on the nose – which complemented the beer’s attractive colour.

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Lovely! c/othewhiskeynut

The carbonation was relatively light – & suited me fine.

Rather than the dry signature spice I expect from rye whiskey – a wonderfully rich combination of earthy rye, biscuity malt & a fresh fruity element greeted me on tasting.

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Nice! c/othewhiskeynut

At 9% – this is no shrinking violet.

Heavy in flavour – but light on the palate.

Very entertaining.

Sláinte

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World Whiskey Day in Tullamore

Yeah!

It’s World Whisky Day. Or really the end of it as I’m posting this blog after my Tullamore Town Whiskey Walk event. Conveniently this leads to my musical interlude.

The journey began last year when I first became aware of World Whisky Day and thought – ‘Now I should do something for that day’. This led to me scrambling around finding a printer open on Friday night to laminate my hastily prepared posters – writing out a basic script for the day and posting some last minute social media posts.

My choice of venue happened during the course of the year. Doing blogs on Whiskey Bars meant I eventually found some much closer to home than I had previously known. Couple this with an award winning whiskey visitors attraction in the shape of Tullarmore DEW Visitors Centre – some whiskey art – architecture and history and the die was set.

2pm on World Whisky Day found me at Bury Quay anxiously waiting for people to turn up.

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Bury Quay, Tullamore c/othewhiskeynut

We were greeted warmly by Shane who invited us in to a complimentary showing of the Tullamore DEW introductory video in the auditorium along with a glass of Tullamore DEW Original to get the day started!

Tullamore-Dew-Original
Tullamore DEW Original c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop

Suitably warmed up despite the rather showery weather outside we made the short walk along the Grand Canal – which reached Tullamore in 1798 and aided the economic success of the brewing and distilling industry of the town – to our first whiskey bar of the day – Hugh Lynch’s.

A hard to find discontinued expression was chosen as drink of choice in this bar to demonstrate the fact good whiskey bars operate almost as whiskey libraries in that they stock many a bottle both old  – new and potentially exclusive.

Tullamore DEW’s Black 43 went down well with the gathered clan of whiskey friends. It also demonstrated what an additional 11 months in sherry cask can add to a whiskey.

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Black 43 @ Hugh Lynch’s c/othewhiskeynut

Onwards into town we went. Pausing to view the remnants of the original B. Daly 1829 distillery along with the wonderfully restored gates and Master Distillers Offices across the road.

Bob Smyths pub sits handily beside the Tullamore Distillery gates. It was once owned by Michael Molloy – who established the distillery – so despite not being a whiskey bar – we popped in for a glass of Paddy to acknowledge the brands sale to Sazerac.

Bob Smyths Bar by David Wilson
Bob Smyths Bar & Distillery gates c/oDWilson

Our next stop proved rather more contentious. Back in 1910 the large brewing, malting, bottling and general wholesellers of P&H Egan built what is now The Bridge House Hotel. Descendants of that family released Egan’s Irish Whiskey a few years ago but sadly it isn’t yet stocked at the bar.

We handed a short plea to the management of the hotel to please remedy this situation so Egan’s Irish Whiskey can be enjoyed in it’s true home. By a democratic vote the whiskey walk participants unanimously agreed to bypass this venue in favour of somewhere that did serve Egan’s.

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Bring Egan’s Irish Whiskey Home plea c/othewhiskeynut

Thankfully we didn’t have to walk far as one bar that does have Egan’s Irish Whiskey is the lovely Brewery Tap on Bridge Street where landlord Paul offered us a discount on the day to enjoy a glass of the lovely rich 10 year old single malt and toast to the future success of the Egan family.

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Egan’s in the hand c/othewhiskeynut

One inquisitive member of the party suggested Egan’s was just a similar bottling to Tyrconnell – also a single malt – so a glass duly arrived for a taste comparison.

Another unanimous decision was reached. Tyrconnell is a smoother slightly more tasty whiskey than Egan’s. It must be stated however that both these expressions were far superiour to the blends we’d been having up to this point.

Back out on the streets our numbers began to diminish due to time constraints. A visit to the whiskey sculpture Pot Stills in Market Square was abandoned. Commissioned by Tullamore Town Council in recognition of the role the distilling trade had in prospering the town. The 3 pots were sculptor Eileen MacDonagh’s interpretation of the gleaming copper stills that currently produce the distillate which goes on to make whiskey in the new Tullamore Distillery on the outskirts of town as well as those at Kilbeggan Distillery only a 10 minute drive from here.

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Whiskey sculpture in Tullamore c/othewhiskeynut

Market Square is also the site of a short-lived distillery built by  Mr Manley which closed early in the 1800’s. However there are many fine building which previously housed the large malting trade Tullamore was famous for. Malt left Tullamore by barge to supply many a famous brewery and distillery in Dublin. These malt stores are now apartments’ shops and offices but you can imagine the hive of industry that once frequented the canal harbour in times gone.

Our last port of call was Kelly’s Bar  just down the road from the Visitors Centre where we began. Kelly’s have a wide and varied range of fine whiskeys on offer so various expressions were tasted by several fellow whiskey walkers and opinions exchanged as to the merits – or lack off depending to individual taste – of the drams tried.

Our sole Scotch of the day – in recognition that Tullamore DEW is now owned by a Scottish firm – came via a 16 year old Lagavulin.  Very tasty it was too.

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Lagavulin 16 c/othewhiskeynut

Eugene the landlord had actually got this whisky in for one of his regular customers. Now that’s an example of a fine whiskey bar!

My thanks go out to all the fellow whiskey walkers who joined me in celebrating World Whisky Day. The publicans, bar staff and the Tullamore DEW  Visitors Centre crew who made today a reality in giving generously of their time – and some whiskey too!

Thanks also to the Tullamore Tribune who publicised  the event and sent down a reporter to take pictures and report on the days proceedings.

Oh!

My highlight of the day?

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An original bottle of B.Daly whiskey! c/othewhiskeynut

May the road rise with you.

Slainte

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