Tag Archives: Kilbeggan

Irish Whiskey is growing up – Musings on Bacardi’s proposed takeover of Teeling

The proposed Bacardi takeover of Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin marks the future global growth of Irish Whiskey.

No longer seen as a minor backwater of whiskey – Ireland is now poised to become a threat to the dominance of Scotch in the world of whiskey.

The monies, marketing & reach this requires is beyond what a relatively small Irish Distillery can cope with & abilities only a multinational player can provide.

I welcome this latest development as an inevitable consequence of the growing demand & attractiveness of Irish Whiskey.

I also welcome this development as it provides added competition to the almost monopolistic like presence Jameson has previously played in the category.

Jameson – it must be noted – has been owned by French based multinational Pernod-Ricard since 1988 & often appears to be above any form of criticism within Irish Whiskey circles.

Teeling’s takeover follows in the footsteps of Paddy’s going to US based multinational Sazerac, Tullamore to Scottish based Grants, Kilbeggan to Beam & later Japanese conglomerate Suntory, with Roe already owned by giant Diageo & Bushmills by tequila company Jose Cuervo.

You either want Irish Whiskey to be a growing global player – or to be a small, elitist & pricey backwater for a select band of aficionados.

I’m for playing globally.

Sláinte

All photos author’s own.

Business Post article on Teeling takeover here.

Spirits Business history of Jameson here.

Titanic, Premium Irish Whiskey, 40%, Blend

While Kilbeggan Black explores the softer side of smoke, this latest incarnation of Titanic Whiskey is a bolder offering.

Titanic Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

More pronounced smoke infused with a sweet juiciness from the sherry casks greets the nose.

Quite a clean, fresh & clear grainy palate.

Gorgeously drying spicy finish leaves with an entertaining tingling gently sailing away.

A fabulous addition to the growing peated Irish fleet.

The original Titanic Whiskey was a honeyed blend sourced from Cooley Distillery – there’s still a few bottles around – for Belfast lottery winner Peter Lavery.

Peter Lavery c/o belfastmediagroup.com

The brand was doing well before John Teeling sold to Beam in 2011 – who promptly turned off the taps to 3rd parties.

Titanic 5yo c/oCelticWhiskeyAuctions

Little did Beam know this would precipitate the biggest whiskey distillery building spree witnessed in Ireland for generations!

From Slane Distillery in Co Meath, Great Northern Distillery in Co Louth & Teeling Distillery in Dublin.

McConnells of Belfast c/othewhiskeynut

Peter Lavery attempted a distillery in Crumlin Gaol – now in new hands as McConnell’s Whisky – & has secured planning for a distillery at Titanic Docks itself!

Today’s Titanic Whiskey is sourced from GND & it’s a lovely little blend.

Titanic info c/othewhiskeynut

Who knows – in a few years time there could be a Belfast made whiskey again emanating from the same docks the Titanic ship hailed from.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful dream to achieve?

Roll on the Titanic!

Sláinte

J Walsh, Woodford, Co Galway

Taking advantage of the sunny weather a few of us ventured into the East Clare, East Galway area for a scenic drive & walks by loughs & forests.

Returning via Woodford we spotted a bar offering refreshments & popped in – or rather ‘out’ to comply with COVID rules.

J Walsh c/othewhiskeynut

A busy & friendly atmosphere greeted us in the covered & open dining space at the back of J Walsh’s attractive front bar.

I did have a quick glance at the whiskey shelve for a suitable companion to the tasty light meals we enjoyed.

The usual suspects were on display.

Jameson, Powers & Bushmills representing Ireland.

Black & White, Teachers & Grouse for Scotland.

It struck me Ireland had no representation in the peated blend market.

Rather surprising as Teachers is the biggest selling brand in Ireland for the Beam/Suntory portfolio.

Perhaps the roll out of the new Kilbeggan Black will change that?

Peated Kilbeggan c/othewhiskeynut

As it was Black & White made my glass.

That lovely smokey element adding a touch of excitement & character to this easy & accessible whisky.

Kilbeggan Black had to wait till we got home.

Where we duly finished the bottle off!

A great day out.

Sláinte

Exploring The Penetration Of Irish Whiskey In The German Supermarket Sector.

A random tweet got me thinking.

Obviously I checked on the link & was blown away by Lidl offering a cask of new make whisky to it’s customers!

Lidl whisky cask c/oLidl.de

My inquisitive mind led me to checking out what else they had.

Let’s put it like this – the depth & spread of whiskies on offer would qualify the shop as being a specialist whiskey outlet in Ireland!

The bare figures are pretty outstanding;

Total bottle selection…………………………..127.

Comprising of;

Scotland…………………………………………………….84

America……………………………………………………..19

Ireland……………………………………………………….10

Japan & Taiwan………………………………………….4 each

Wales & Austria…………………………………………2 each

Canada & South Africa………………………………1 each

At only 8% of the market – Irish Whiskey clearly has a long way to go!

But who was flying the Irish flag?

First off – in order of appearance here – Lidl own brand Dundalgan.

Dundalgan Blend c/oLidl.de

Next up – the ubiquitous Jameson in Original, Black Barrel & Caskmates varieties.

Jameson Original c/oLidl.de

Irishman Single Malt made an appearance.

Irishman c/oLidl.de

Kinahan’s popped up with their tasty Kasc Project.

Kinahan Kasc c/oLidl.de

Kilbeggan followed.

Kilbeggan Blend c/oLidl.de

With Paddy being the last whiskey.

Paddy c/oLidl.de

A couple of liqueurs wrapped up the Irish contingent.

I’d definitely be like a kid in a sweet shop drooling over the extensive choice!

Aldi Sud meanwhile had only 8 whisky on offer – 5 Scotch & 1 each from Japan, Canada & Germany. Ireland didn’t even feature!

Sláinte

Header image c/oextra.ie

A Little- Semi – Blind Tasting

I’ve a small group of whiskey contacts for sample exchanges.

My growing selection of opened spirits bottles – around 70 – is offered in return for something I’ve preferably not had before.

Where possible these samples are requested blind – even if a pre-selection has taken place – hence the semi.

This was the latest selection – A to D.

Blind sampling c/othewhiskeynut

4 samples, 4 identical glasses –Tuath being my receptacle of choice – some water to rinse the palate & a pen & paper to record my findings.

A – Nice & inviting nose, rich, reminds me of sherried influence,unusual & intriguing flavours on the palate,good complexity & depth.

Like this one.

B – Clean & refreshing, sweet & fruity, bit of a punchy heat on the rear.

Cask strength?

C – Anything after a cask strength tends to suffer a little, but this one didn’t sing to me, even on a 2nd tasting.

Perfectly fine but didn’t grab me.

D – Softly smokey, that familiar waft of peat endeared this one to me even if a tad too biscuity sweet malt for my liking.

Easy drinking light smoker.

I tasted the samples without trying to guess what they were. This allowed me to concentrate on the drinking experience without prejudice – as far as possible.

A rudimentary scoring system ranked in order of preference for nose, palate & finish allowed a top score of 4, bottom 12.

First run came out D, A, B then C.

As I found A the most alluring overall I ran through them again – same result.

Only then did I guess what they were – which wasn’t too difficult given the varied styles.

In order of preference;

Peat winner c/obottleowner

D – Old Ballantraun Peated Malt, 50%

Peat wins out – even if not a stunner.

Belgian flavours c/obottleowner

A – Goldly’s Family Reserve, Belgian Single Grain, 40%

Cask strength Kilbeggan c/obottleowner

B – Kilbeggan Single Cask, Cask Strength, 9 Year Old, Distillery pick.

Balvenie c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

C – Balvenie 16 Year Old, Triple Cask, 40%

I must admit to not being too surprised by the reveal. It sort of confirms my palate preferences.

The easy peater won out over and above the intriguing flavours of Goldly’s – which despite being a single grain was most definitely not silent. Cask strength in and of itself is not enough and Speysiders –at least the non-peated variety – don’t do it for me.

How would you have rated them?

Sláinte

A Blind Tasting Experience

In a departure from the usual – today’s blog is courtesy of the Irish Whiskey Stone Company who received one of my blind tasting packs.

This is the experience they enjoyed!

“About a week ago I saw a post on Twitter by a whiskey reviewer, @2DramsofWhiskey of Westmeath Whiskey World, in which he showed a picture of some vials of whiskey and informing us that he was going to be doing a blind whiskey tasting. I replied to his tweet asking what was a blind whiskey tasting and how does one go about doing it. Not really expecting an answer, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got a reply telling me that it could easily be arranged!

This was followed with some private messages in which I then had to admit that I know next to nothing about whiskey (which may surprise some of you, considering I sell whiskey stones but how and ever…)

That didn’t put the reviewer off and before I knew it, here I was with 3 samples of whiskey to try out.

I have to admit, it took me a few days to get around to doing it and a certain amount of mental preparation (don’t know why but I was quite daunted by this task!).

Anyway, today was the day. I got out the samples, I found three glasses, got a spittoon glass at the ready and a bottle of water to clean my palate between tasting.  

I got a pen and paper out ready to make some notes and cracked open Sample D. I poured some into a glass and first took note of the aroma, which struck me as quite sweet. I sipped and let it rest in my mouth, closed my eyes and thought for a moment about the flavours. The two flavours that struck me the most was citrus and wood. I then added a wee drop of water to see what flavours this would release and the sweetness became more intense. I found this sweetness too much for my liking to be honest.

Sample D West Cork Peat Charred Cask

I washed my mouth out with some water and proceeded to try out Sample E. Again, the first thing I noted was the aroma. This time I could almost detect the freshness of the sea. (probably not remotely a technical whiskey tasting term but it fits for me). This whiskey had a very pure taste and I found it very pleasant indeed.

Sample E Kilbeggan Rye

On to Sample F I went. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could catch a hint of peatiness. I like peat but not too much of it so I was wary. However, this was not overbearing at all. I tasted. Wow, what an explosion of flavour in my mouth. There was an almost orange tang of it but it was a little sharp for me. Having said that, I think this would be an amazing after-dinner tipple.

Sample F Mackmyra Reserve Cask

I gathered my notes and what you have just read is my semi-coherent interpretation of them. 

So, there you go. My first whiskey tasting. I actually really enjoyed it and it was a good challenge to write about it too!”

Many thanks to Irish Whiskey Stone Company for sharing their thoughts.

Have you tried blind tasting yet?

Sláinte

Tipperary Irish Whiskey Artisan Ice Cream, 1%

Irish Whiskey comes in many shapes & forms with exciting new releases appearing on an almost weekly basis.

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Yum yum! c/othewhiskeynut

One innovative idea I came across in my local Lidl was Tipperary Irish Whiskey Artisan Ice Cream.

How could I resist?

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Sounds good! c/othewhiskeynut

A serving was prepared – neat to begin with – although extra toppings of strawberries, cream & even a dash of single malt were later enjoyed!

The ice cream was exceptionally smooth, creamy & lucious.

A hint of maltiness came through the rich vanilla base.

Made in Tipperary using whiskey sourced from Kilbeggan Distillery – this ice cream has no artificial additives or colouring.

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Small batch ice cream. c/othewhiskeynut

A highly entertaining dessert that can be enjoyed in numerable ways.

Delicious!

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Irish Whiskey in the US.

One aspect of the growth of Irish Whiskey is the proliferation of new brands hitting the shelves of American liquor stores.

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Westmeath whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Many will be familiar to drinkers in Ireland – Jameson, Bushmills & Kilbeggan – to name a few.

Others not – Kavanagh, Kilbrin & Wolfhound – for example.

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Kilbrin floated my boat! c/othewhiskeynut

Generally the 2nd list are non distillery producers selecting sourced Irish Whiskey then labelling & marketing it under their own brand names.

For the last few years this has been a growing business.

The number of Irish Whiskeys seeking approval from the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has risen from 120 in the 2016-17 period to 204 in the 2019-20 time frame.  Data courtesy TTB Online search page available here.

Clearly this reflects an increased appreciation of Irish Whiskey – as well as a ready supply of Irish Whiskey Distilleries willing to cater for this demand.

It’s marvelous to witness the growing marketability of Irish Whiskey.

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3 Irish Whiskey brands in the US c/othewhiskeynut

I welcome each and every one of these new brands into the ever increasing & more diversified Irish Whiskey category.

There is however still a long way to go.

Scottish Whisky registered 1188 labels in the same 2019-20 period.

Sláinte

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Redbreast 27 Launch Night at Sonny Molloy’s, Galway.

In what felt like the ‘last hurrah’ before impending restrictions increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Sonny Molloy’s Bar in Galway held an impressive evening celebrating the launch of the highly esteemed Redbreast Whiskey range’s latest addition – the 27 Year Old.

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Redbreast 27 c/othewhiskeynut

The numbers attending were slightly reduced from previous events – and a certain awkwardness regards hand shaking & social distancing were always in the background – yet the company, the whiskey and the gorgeous food won out!

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Whiskey & food pairing. c/othewhiskeynut

There were 3 whiskeys on offer. All introduced by the Irish Distillers Brand Ambassador – Ger Garland.

Sonny Molloy RB27
Tasty trio c/oSonnyMolloy’s

The first one was a bit of a mystery.

Very sweet on the nose – almost liqueur territory here – quite light on the palate – someone suggested cream soda – before the cask strength made it’s presence felt – leaving the pleasant softer flavours dancing away on the finish.

I was very pleased to hear it was an oat whiskey!

Oats were formerly a common ingredient in Irish Whiskey and it’s marvelous to see it’s return into offerings such as Kilbeggan SPS, Drumshanbo Inaugural – as well as experimentation at Killowen Distillery – and quite clearly at Midleton too!

Just how the results of this experimentation will end up in an actual final product are yet to be decided – but clearly exciting times indeed!

The second offering – also at cask strength – was a much more contemporary affair.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, Knockrath Wood, Tree 3, 56.6%.

The use of virgin Irish Oak casks – as well as ex-bourbon casks – had accentuated the dry tannic spiciness over and above the initial rich warming vanilla notes to the front capped off by a prickly tingling from the high ABV.

I really enjoyed this one.

The grand finalé?

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It’s in the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

Redbreast 27 Year Old, 54.6%.

Unlike other Redbreasts – the 27 has seen maturation in ruby port casks.

This has given it a darker, even richer fruitiness. I’m thinking plums, figs & raisins here. The high ABV kicked in at this point & I’d need the addition of water to calm things down a touch.

To be honest – I wasn’t bowled over.

I didn’t find it an easy whiskey to appreciate – and I’m not just talking about it’s €495 price tag. I found it a bit of a challenge.

Redbreast 27 – not for me.

Sláinte

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I’d like to thank all at Sonny Molloy’s for the warm hospitality on the evening.

My views – as always – are my own.

Brand Ambassador Tasting, Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder, The Irish Collection

An invite to the Brand Ambassador Tasting at the fabulous Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney transpired into a highly enjoyable & eminently entertaining evening.

I’d encountered all the Irish Whiskey selection before – yet it was wonderful to enjoy them again in such engaging company.

Celtic Casks 29, Single Cask, Single Malt, 46%

CC29
First met CC29 on a Celtic Whiskey Club Tweet Tasting c/othewhiskeynut

A dignified, complex & well balanced ‘traditional’ single cask – ex-bourbon maturation & sherry finishing.

Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, 43%

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Picked up bottle for blog Oct 2018 c/othewhiskeynut

The return of rye to Irish Whiskey! Softly spoken and pleasant. Lacking character for my palate.

Kilbeggan Single Pot Still, 43%

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Picked up bottle for blog December 2019 c/othewhiskeynut

A Technical File compliant SPS. The oats add a creamy smoothness contrasting with the spicy finish.

Powers 1817, 46%

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Bottle blog March 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

An underrated gem of an Single Pot Still. Always pleased to encounter this gorgeous whiskey.

Powers John’s Lane, 46%

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Vertical tasting blog March 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

The flagship bearer of the Powers core range. Soon to sport it’s controversial new livery!

Celtic Cask 25, 46%

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Celtic Cask 25 at Whiskey Live Dublin 2019 c/othewhiskeynut

A thoroughly enjoyable young & feisty peater with additional PX Cask finishing. Loving it.

Hard to pick a winner. All excellent in their own way. For sheer exuberance I think CC25 has it!

Oh – there were 2 American offerings.

I’ll get to them later.

Slàinte

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My thanks to all at Celtic Whiskey Bar for their warm hospitality.