Tag Archives: Midleton Distillery

Paddy Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

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.

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The new Paddy c/otwitter

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.

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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.

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Paddy Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

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.

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Paddy no ‘e’ Centenary Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

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.

Sláinte

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My Irish Whiskey Release of 2018

There really can only be one winner.

No whiskey release has captured the imagination – mass sales – and adoration of fans on one hand.

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Proper Whiskey fans post images on twitter on securing a bottle c/otwitter

With so much derision and negativity on the other.

It has completely divided the whiskey community.

I give you Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey.

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Proper Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

I fully welcome the entry of a ‘celebrity’ into the Irish Whiskey market.

Scotland has Ewan McGregor & David Beckham, USA has Mathew McConaughey for whiskey, Lil Wayne for Rum & George Cluny for Tequila. Former World Cup Footballer Hidetoshi Nakata is involved with Sake in Japan – where the rise of it’s whisky industry is partially attributed to the film ‘Lost In Translation‘ starring Bill Murray – along with a TV drama called ‘Massan’ based on the lives of Masataka Taketsuru & his Scottish wife.

If anything – Irish Whiskey is late to this social media led personality trend – and I’d be more worried if there wasn’t an Irish celebrity wanting to get involved.

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Proper Whiskey fans stock up c/otwitter

Right from the beginning however – even before it’s release – I posted a piece with the headline ‘We need to talk about Conor’ and got the following response;

“No we don’t”

Kind of sets the tone for what followed when Proper Twelve was launched.

 “It’s barely legal”

Well at 3 years old it is legal.

Funny though – that issue never came up when punters were outbidding each other to get hold of ‘barely legal’ Dingle or Teeling whiskey when it was first released.

Then comes the condemnation.

“Heavily adulterated with caramel”

Yes there is added caramel – it says so on the label. Caramel is a legally allowed additive both within Irish Whiskey and Scottish Whisky. The same criticism can be levelled at virtually every Jameson product, Bushmill bottle, Johnnie Walker whisky and many others as they all contain caramel. Why single out one offender?

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Proper Whiskey fans post images of delivery trucks in NYC c/otwitter

Then you start to get to the heart of the matter.

“See, Bono’s doing it right….he’s supporting the build of an ACTUAL distillery!”

Since when did you need a distillery to build a brand?

The Spot whiskeys started out from a grocers. So too did the best selling Johnnie Walker. Many a big brand of today began as non distillery producers – it’s a well trodden path.

And then you get plain old bias.

“I have no intention of ever trying it.”

Which is probably just as well – as blogger after blogger lined up to do a hatchet job on the liquid. The best described the whiskey as;

 “Toilet cleaner”

Really?

Now in all probability Proper Twelve was distilled at Bushmills for the malt content and Midleton for the grain. There is no law in either Irish or Scottish rules stating you must name the distillery which made the blend.

So effectively the same teams that make all Bushmills product – from the White Bush blend to the lauded 21 Year Old Single Malt – as well as the folks that make all the Jameson, Powers, Paddy’s & Midleton products have somehow dropped their standards to allow ‘toilet cleaner’ to be made in their stills, stored in their barrels and blended in their tanks?

I don’t think so.

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Proper Whiskey CEO checking stocks c/oinstagram

What I found on tasting was a very easy going, approachable blend with a slight charred cask influence and a hint of spice.

It sits very well among the other Irish whiskey blends out there.

But then what is getting people irate – from what I can see – is not really the whiskey – it’s the man behind it – Conor McGregor.

The idea that a somewhat colourful & controversial kid from Crumlin can just swan in with his millions and release a whiskey that has the whole world talking – buying – and drinking – is obviously too much to bear .

It upsets the cosy consensus that assumed ‘premiumisation’ was the way to go – or that ‘transparency’ is key.

For a whiskey that sold out 6 months worth of stock within a matter of weeks – I think it just proved there was a vast untapped market out there waiting to be filled. It’s a marketing master stroke and something of a social media phenomenon.

But of course – when all else fails – slag off the customer.

“There are just enough rednecks and hooligans out there that will actually make this crap a success.”

I find it ironic that those who criticize Mr McGregor the loudest seem to descend to his level of pre-fight ritual lambasting.

Which is a pity.

As Mr McGregor and his Proper Twelve brand have just pulled off a massive publicity stunt that is getting Irish Whiskey instant worldwide recognition and potential sales far beyond anything that has gone before.

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Success to Proper No Twelve! c/othewhiskeynut

It is without doubt my Irish Whiskey of the year 2018.

Sláinte

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All quotes in italics are from social media posts by various whiskey fans. They are by no means the only ones. I have chosen the milder variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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O’Briens Summer Tasting, Athlone.

My local branch of O’Briens Wines in Athlone organised a Summer Tasting recently.

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O’Briens Summer Tasting promo

They invited a plethora of nearby craft beer producers – as well as a slightly more widespread coterie of spirits & whiskey distillers.

I simply had to go along!

Many familiar faces were encountered on the craft beer stalls.

Black Donkey were showcasing their latest limited edition release – Underworld. Savage Ale indeed.

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Savage Ale c/othewhiskeynut

12 Acres had their Single Malt lager. Dead Centre had some good news regarding planning permission for their town centre brewery/restaurant development. Boyne Brewhouse had some award winning beers. I even enjoyed a Miami J IPA from Rye River Brewing – despite not being an IPA fan – mainly as the hops were softer in the mix which accentuated the summer fruitiness.

Larkins from Wicklow were the only newcomers to me and I sampled some their interesting takes on the lager front.

On the spirits & whiskey front I had some brief chats with the Teeling & Connacht stands having tasted most of their excellent product before. I was tempted by Connacht’s Concullin Oak Aged Gin – mainly because of the whiskey like appearance – and did discern some oak influence in among the unfamiliar to me at least gin flavours.

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Oak Aged Gin c/othewhiskeynut

Galway Gin Co were also in attendance – but for me the main attractions were the stalls offering whiskey I’d never tried before – like Ha’Penny Whiskey on the Pearse Lyons Distillery stand.

Now it was made clear Ha’Penny Whiskey – along with it’s stablemate Ha’Penny Gin & Mil Gin too – are all sourced spirits for the Pearse Distillery who market them to a different audience than the Pearse Whiskey range which was also on display.

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Ha’Penny Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

The Ha’Penny Whiskey had that very attractive warmth I associate with charred casks maturaton. Only on closer inspection of the label was it revealed 4 different types of cask were used to mature this very flavousome blend; port pipes, sherry butts, bourbon barrels & double charred.

Very nice results too. Giving it a richness of depth & flavour not usually found in an attractively priced blend.

Midleton happened to be next door with their Method & Madness range – well 3 of them at least. How could I resist a vertical taste test?

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A trio of tasty Method & Madness c/othewhiskeynut

The Single Grain continues to excite me with the warm notes of virgin oak contrasting with the clearer, fresher grain influence. The Single Malt doesn’t pull me in as much – but what’s this? – the latest Hungarian Oak matured Single Pot Still?

My my my!

Rich, warm and inviting. A softly growing spice to tantalise & tease. Great depth of flavour with a lovely long lasting finish to remind you of the beauty you’ve just enjoyed.

Now I could easily take this one home with me!

Great stuff!

O’Briens offered a reduction on certain items on the evening so I – and many others – availed of this service and didn’t go away empty handed.

Much appreciation to all the stall holders on the night.

And a BIG UP to all the O’Briens staff in Athlone for putting together such a wonderful showcase of the fabulous beers, spirits & whiskey that abounds in Ireland today.

Sláinte.

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Midleton VR 2017 Connacht Launch in Sonny Molloy’s, Galway.

I received an invitation to ‘Go West’ recently – so I did.

‘Go West – Lots of open air,

Go West – Where the skies are blue’

ran the lyrics to a popular song.

By the time I got there on a dark, rainy & windswept November evening there was lots of open air for sure, but it was turning my skin blue with the wintry showers!

Thankfully there was a warm welcome and an even warmer open fire in the cosy heart of Sonny Molloy’s Whiskey Bar in Galway.

The event happened to be the Connacht launch of the very highly esteemed Midleton Very Rare 2017 release hosted by none other than wine guru John Wilson who introduced us to Irish Distillers Head Distiller Brian Nation . Brian – in turn – welcomed the gathered crowd into the world of Midleton VR.

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Brian Nation & Midleton VR 2017 at Sonny Molloy’s c/othewhiskeynut

For those that are not familiar with Midleton VR – a brief introduction.

Midleton VR is a 40% non age statement blend of the finest aged single pot still & single grain casks Midleton Distillery has in stock at the time of blending the annual release. Normally matured in bourbon casks the whiskey to many is the finest Irish whiskey blend there is. Being an annual limited release the series – started in 1984 – automatically becomes sought after by whiskey collectors.

So glasses were poured – and a very attractive MVR logoed glass too – as Brian led us through a communal sampling of the delights of this 2017 bottling.

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Midleton Very Rare glassware c/othewhiskeynut

Now at this juncture I must admit to trying a few Midleton VRs in my time. None of them overwhelmed me nor grabbed me as many a whiskey does. They are usually very well crafted & finely balanced with a complex marrying of subtle notes & flavours so that no one element dominates. Perhaps just a bit too subtle & well balanced for my palate?

But on the first nosing of this 2017 release the rich warm aromas associated with bourbon cask maturation drew me in. A combination of a 32 year old single grain with single pot stills up to 26 years old certainly worked their charms.

On tasting the lovely oily mouthfeel which coated the palate together with that signature single pot still spice combined to further entrance me.

A hint of orchard fruits emerged too & the whole flurry of flavours danced on the tongue during the very long finish.

Wow!

I think I’ve just been won over by this one.

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The single pot still flows! c/othewhiskeynut

To up the stakes Brian produced an unmarked bottle. He proceeded to tell us we were the first audience to sample the 2nd generation of Midleton Dair Ghaelach whiskey finished in virgin Irish oak casks from a forest in Ireland he couldn’t reveal!

Being a cask strength release around the 58% mark this single pot still was a far punchier whiskey. Lovely rich oaky tannins over and above the vanillas & caramel from the bourbon cask maturation pleased me very much. A meatier whiskey than the finely tuned VR.

If that wasn’t enough Brian revealed a final tasting.

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Inside the cosy warmth of Sonny’s c/othewhiskeynut

Midleton have recently announced the Very Rare Cask Circle Club where for varying degrees of money you can select your own casks & maturation times before Middleton will bottle the cask for your pleasure.

We would be tasting from one of those casks offered for sale.

Originally barreled in a bourbon cask in 2004 & re-casked into a Malaga hogshead in 2009 this 13 year old single pot still could be yours for somewhere in the region of 230 to 250,000 euro!

Erm, Could I have a sample before I buy?

Certainly Sir!

Again at cask strength this is a powerful whiskey packed with flavour. The Malaga influence has toned down some of the fire & introduced more sweet yet heavier fruity notes to the rich vanilla bourbon undertones. It would make any prospective buyer very happy indeed. I’m just not sure my budget can stretch that far at present!

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Shane, Brian & Midleton VR 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

Brian then presented Shane McMahon – General Manager at Sonny Molloy’s – with a bottle of Midleton VR 2017. Shane scaled a ladder to place this latest release among the complete collection of Midleton VR bottles dating back to 1984 which is housed in a glass cabinet in the bar itself.

An astounding collection, an astounding evening & an astounding whiskey!

Sláinte.

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I would like to thank all the staff & teams at Sonny Molloys & Irish Distillers for the warm hospitality & generous tastings on the evening.

May the road rise with you!

Irish Rye?

Brian Nation‘s speech at the recently held Irish Whiskey Awards 2016 held in the fabulous surroundings of the Old Bonded Warehouse in Tullamore certainly piqued my interest.

A number of points were raised that particularly caught my attention.

The first was the spectacular rise of Irish Whiskey in the global market and how everyone associated with ‘BRAND’ Irish Whiskey – from producers to publicans, distributors to bloggers – had a duty of care to promote and protect the integrity of that brand.

Oh dear!

Was my first thought.

I’ve just been branded myself!

But what is Brand Irish Whiskey and who defines it?

Before I could process those thoughts another key word leapt out at me.

Innovation.

There certainly has been some wonderful innovation in the Irish Whiskey scene lately.

The new entrants into the market have been at the forefront of this in my opinion.

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A trio of Teeling c/othewhiskeynut

The multi award winning Teeling Whiskey Company use rum casks to finish their Small Batch blend and Californian wine casks to add flavour to their Single Grain. Neither casks being commonly used. Single Grain is also unusual. Before Teeling Single Grain was released Greenore – now renamed Kilbeggan Single Grain – was the sole representative in this category.

Both these Teeling expressions won Best in class awards on the evening with Kilbeggan Single Grain winning Gold.

West Cork Distillers are also new entrants and have been making spirits often under the radar of the mainstream.

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The Pogues Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

The bold design of their Pogues bottle together with the brand association attached to the famous/infamous group – depending on your preference – was certainly innovative.

Criticism has often been attached to the quality of the liquid inside West Cork produced offerings yet winning a Gold Award for the Galway Bay Irish Whiskey release certainly raises their game and puts them in the spotlight.

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The pour c/othewhiskeynut

Midleton themselves -the brand owners of Irish Whiskey during the years they were the only players in the field – haven’t been caught napping.

Using whiskey casks that have previously held beer for the growing Irish Craft Beer scene to mature Jameson Caskmates has certainly been a hit that is now being expanded into other markets.

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Makers Series c/othewhiskeynut

The new Makers Series offer some innovative stories to the spirit although I did find the liquid rather ‘safe’. Nonetheless 2 of the releases won Gold Awards.

The most exciting innovation of the evening however almost made me re-enact that famous scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’

MIDDLETON ARE GROWING RYE IN IRELAND!

Now it won’t be harvested until early spring 2017 and a further minimum of 3 years at least before any spirit can be released – but as a confirmed lover of rye – I can’t wait!

Luckily for me I didn’t have to.

A couple of kind gentlemen from across the pond had informed me beforehand they had brought over something special.

Whilst the Corsair Triple Smoke blew me over it could be categorised as an ‘extreme’ whiskey. I did love it however.

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The Emerald c/othewhiskeynut

The Emerald release from Ransom Spirits of Oregon was far more approachable however and much more pertinent to the Irish Whiskey brand.

Made using barley, oats and rye to an 1865 Irish Whiskey recipe uncovered by some research this stunning whiskey is satisfyingly smooth yet rich in mouthfeel coupled with a delightfully long rye spice finish.

Emerald to me have captured the PAST of Irish Whiskey in a bottle of the PRESENT.

When you know Brian Nation and his colleagues are poring over old Jameson recipes from the early 1800’s that included rye and oats – as well as currently growing rye in the fields around Enniscorthy – then couldn’t this be a representation of the FUTURE of Irish Whiskey?

I certainly hope so!

It’s innovative.

It’s traditional,

And it’s out now.

Gorgeous!

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Kelly’s Bar Tullamore

Unlike The Brewery Tap – I’ve actually visited Kelly’s before for a few drinks – but as it was in  my pre-whiskey days – I can’t remember what I was on.

The ‘piece de resistance’ in Kelly’s Bar is the wall of whiskey – well all 2 of them really!

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Whiskey wall 1 Undrinkable c/othewhiskeynut

The first is a very impressive wooden shelf display behind the bar showcasing a fine range of whiskeys for sale – whilst the other is a room divider proudly emblazoned Uisce Beata with barrel tops highlighting various Irish Distilleries both past and present.

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Whiskey wall 2 Drinkable c/othewhiskeynut

I’m afraid to say that despite the wide choice on offer – I partook of nothing stronger than a hot cup of tea during my visit to this welcoming and homely establishment as I was on driving duty. But I did scan my photos later and spotted a few tasty drams I wouldn’t mind trying out!

As is almost a default position – and my cue for a musical interlude –

Any self respecting bar in Tullamore cannot get by without a large selection of DEW expressions. Kelly’s certainly doesn’t disappoint in that department. The obligatory Egan’s also featured along with Kilbeggan from the nearby distillery of the same name. Just a short trip up the N52 if you want to visit. Midleton – Bushmill and Irishman releases were available too along with a decent array of Scotch and bourbon – although I didn’t spot any rye – my preferred option from the USA

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Give Every Man His DEW c/othewhiskeynut

All this was wrapped up in a friendly bar adorned with whiskey paraphernalia – old photographs, mirrors, empty cartons and bottles in the public bar – as well as hundreds of beer tankards attached to the ceiling beams in the lounge area.

Talking about beer – I was pleased to see a trio of craft beers from the Boyne Valley Brewery on show. Aine O’Hara is not only the head brewer at this new facility – she is also the master distiller too! I’ll look forward to tasting some Boann Distillery Whiskey in the next few years!

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Craft beer too! c/othewhiskeynut

Kelly’s Bar is situated beside the Grand Canal only a short walk from the Tullamore DEW Visitors Centre. The canal aided the whiskey distilling trade in 1820’s Tullamore when barley, peat and coal was shipped in to the 2 working distilleries – with the whiskey produced going out to Dublin or Limerick for onward distribution.

The canal makes a very pleasant walk in fine weather. Perhaps best undertook before you indulge a little in Kelly’s!

Slainte

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Hugh Lynch’s Tullamore

A short 2 minute walk from the impressive Old Bonded Warehouse of the Tullamore DEW Visitors Centre brings you to the rather unassuming windowless facade of Hugh Lynch’s Bar.

On entering – it’s a different story.

A busy public area bustles with regulars watching the sport on TV whilst a quieter lounge area is gently warmed by a glowing stove pumping out it’s welcome heat giving a warm tranquil cosy feel to the otherwise large space.

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Some of the whiskeys at Hugh Lynch’s c/othewhiskeynut

The main attraction for me however lay in the impressive display of whiskeys both behind the bar as well as tastefully shown in glass cabinets too.

A very large bottle of Tullamore DEW Original dominates the bar mainly due to it’s size! Fellow Tullamore DEW releases were obviously in no short supply either – including a few that are now discontinued like the Black 43.

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Tullamore DEW at Hugh Lynch’s c/othewhiskeynut

What took my eye though was another whiskey claiming to hail from Tullamore – Egan’s Irish Whiskey.

Egan’s is a 10 year old single malt and like Tullamore DEW isn’t actually made in the town of Tullamore. Both whiskeys are produced at one or more (in the case of blends) of the 3 large distilleries that currently have stock matured for long enough to be labelled as whiskey. They are Bushmills, Cooley and Midleton.

The new distillery opened in Tullamore by William Grant & Sons in 2014 won’t be able to release it’s first expression until 2017.

P&H Egan’s were a famous grocers in Tullamore who bottled and sold  whiskey in times gone by and the name has now been revived by this new release.

As I missed out on tasting it on my Galway Whiskey Trail adventure I couldn’t refuse the opportunity again!

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Egan’s in the hand c/othewhiskeynut

A rich golden coloured dram soon stood before me and despite being a 46% non-chill filtered release a surprisingly smooth rich nose warmed me to the drink.

The taste pleased me very much. I found it full-bodied and fruity with a lovely warm mouthfeel followed through by a long lingering finish.

Very nice indeed!

It didn’t surprise me to hear the whiskey has already won awards and Pat the bartender informed me it’s a popular seller both in the bar and the off-licence which is also part of the premises.

Lynch’s also features a cafe where decent pub grub can be enjoyed – a large hall at the back for private functions – as well as a regular music nights with a varied selection of bands or comedians hosted upstairs. It’s certainly a busy spot!

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Whiskey Galore! c/othewhiskeynut

I’ll certainly be back to sample some more of the varied whiskeys on offer from countries both near and far. Millars and Shanahans from Ireland I’ve yet to try . Scapa from Scotland and a sprinkling of bourbons from America too.

Being only a half hour train journey from my home in Athlone – I don’t think that visit will be long in the making either!

Slainte.

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Tullamore DEW

Tullamore DEW is another one of those iconic Irish Whiskey Brands that are well represented across the globe. On my last trip to Germany it was everywhere – and from sampling some German whisky I can see why the light, smooth triple distilled dram goes down well there. It is a pleasantly approachable blend appreciated neat – or mixed – according to your taste.

Formerly made in the Irish Midland town of Tullamore – where there was a booming whiskey industry in the 19th Century. The 1837 Ordnance Survey map lists no fewer than 2 distilleries along with 3 breweries – as well as the associated maltings. However – by the 1950’s only Tullamore DEW survived – and it too succumbed to economic pressure to close – along with many others in the Midlands by 1954.

Unlike it’s close neighbour Kilbeggan – which was turned into a piggery after it closed at one stage but now holds one of the original pot stills used at Tullamore – the Tullamore DEW brand continued to be produced at other distilleries – mainly the Midleton New Distillery. The brand changed hands a few times – eventually ending up being bought by the Scottish William Grant & Sons in 2010.

New Tullamore Distillery c/o Whiskey Nut
New Tullamore Distillery c/o Whiskey Nut

Grants – one of a few family owned drinks business in Scotland and worthy of a blog all of their own – brought about the rebirth of distilling in Tullamore by investing over 35 million in building a new plant on the N52 bypass so after a 60 year hiatus – whiskey can now flow again in Tullamore.

Interestingly – in Dundalk – at the northern extremity of the N52 – John Teeling is currently building his Great Northern Distillery!

Tullamore DEW visitors centre c/o Whiskey Nut
Tullamore DEW visitors centre c/o Whiskey Nut

Anyway – a trip to the Tullamore Visitors Centre on Bury Quay is a marvelous experience. Built in the former bonded warehouse it now contains a fabulous restaurant – worthy of a meal regardless whether you do the tour or not – the ubiquitous shop – as well as many original artefacts, photos and whiskey material collected from the rich history of distilling in the Midlands.

For those that want to delve into that history a little more need only to walk up the attractive canal a few steps to the Offaly Historical Society shop where many an article, book or pamphlet has been written on the whiskey trade – as well many other subjects relating to  County Offaly and the Midlands.

Former Tullamore DEW offices c/o Whiskey Nut
Former Tullamore DEW offices c/o Whiskey Nut

Tullamore town literally drips with whiskey heritage. If the former distillery head office on Patrick Street – derelict maltings at the back of the Bridge Shopping Centre at Water Lane – Distillery Lane itself leave you thirsty – then call in at The Brewery Tap pub which graces the  “Give every man his DEW” sign outside and Tullamore’s finest whiskey expressions inside – where you can relax with a dram browsing a whiskey book bought from the nearby Midlands Books.

Give Every Man His DEW c/o Whiskey Nut
Give Every Man His DEW c/o Whiskey Nut

And talking of a dram – at the end of the informative tour in the visitors centre a dram – or 3 in this case – is exactly what you get!

On the day of my visit my fellow guests and I were guided through the following expressions;

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

The flag bearing Tullamore DEW Original blend. A light, smooth blend which sets the benchmark for other Irish blends.

Tullamore DEW Phoenix c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop
Tullamore DEW Phoenix c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop

The Tullamore DEW Phoenix. The name can be both attributed to the rise in fortunes of whiskey in Tullamore due to the new distillery building – or – according to some sources – the 1st aviation disaster in the world occurring in the town in 1785! The whiskey packs a punch at 55% ABV so a little water may be required.

Tullamore DEW Warehouse Release c/o Tullamore DEW
Tullamore DEW Warehouse Release c/o Tullamore DEW

The Tullamore DEW Old Bonded Warehouse was my favourite. Smooth fine tasting with a nice body to it. The fact that it can only be acquired at the visitors centre is also a draw – so I got 2 – one for myself and the other for my Dad on Father’s Day!

There are other releases; a 10 year old Single Malt, a 12 year old Special Reserve are listed on the website – but the 12 year old sherry finish single malt is not – despite being sold at the visitors centre as well as Dublin Airport. Is it because it was made at Bushmills? – and therefore not part of the “in crowd”. It seems to be popular in Germany – so I’ll let Horst tell you all about it as I’ve just got back from a whisky trip there.

Tullamore DEW Cider Cask c/o The Spirits Business
Tullamore DEW Cider Cask c/o The Spirits Business

The new expression yet to prove it’s mettle is the Tullamore Dew Cider Cask. Only available at Dublin Airport for a limited period I have yet to sample a dram. It isn’t currently on sale at the visitors centre. Said to be the 1st whiskey aged in cider casks in Ireland – this is a bold experiment in taste, style and content – I certainly admire Tullamore for releasing it. Whether it’s any good or not will have to wait and see – but the feedback I’m getting is positive.

Grants – the new Tullamore owners – have been innovative and bold distillers in their time. Cider Cask may have something to do with the new owners. It isn’t as yet spirit from the New Distillery – that will be a few years yet – but could be “premiumisation” of Midleton stocks secured in the sales deal – or simply keeping the brand in the market.

Whatever the reason – Tullamore DEW whiskey has a bright future.

The expressions are good.

The Visitors centre is great and as we say in Ireland,

The craic is mighty!

Get youself a bottle of Tullamore DEW today and have some craic!

Slainte

Whiskey Nut