Tag Archives: Midleton Distillery

Method And Madness, Rye & Malt, 46%

After falling in love with Shortcross Rye And Malt I thought I’d order up a sample of Method And Madness Rye & Malt from Tiny Tipple for a comparison.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Reassuringly pale in colour.

Where’s the rye on the nose? It’s rather timid & tame.

Mild & malty mouthfeel.

It’s only on the finish a rich peppery spice develops showcasing the rye that’s in there.

After Shortcross I must admit to finding Method And Madness a bit of a letdown.

Despite a 60/40 rye/barley mix there was a distinct lack of warmth from this whiskey.

Too much of the method & not enough madness for me.

Sláinte

Method And Madness Rye & Malt website here.

My Shortcross blog here.

Tiny Tipple website here.

8 Degrees Brewing, Irish Oak Aged Barleywine, 12.2%

Well this is a first – barleywine aged in Irish Oak casks – along with some original Irish artwork too!

A deep rich sweet aroma greets the nose.

The sweetness is complimented by a touch of woody tannic spice on the palate which gently fades away on the long finish.

Pushing the boundaries of barleywine.

8 Degrees Brewing collaboration with Midleton Distillery has delivered some wonderful beer!

Sláinte

All images authors 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

Reflections on finishing a bottle of Tullamore DEW 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish, Single Malt, 46%

I’ve been making a concerted effort to reduce my number of bottles – hovering around 60 open with another 40 in waiting – & have taken to offering them as sample exchanges or gifts.

Cognisant also that whiskey can deteriorate if not stored properly I was taken aback at my hand scribbled date of ‘June ‘15’ on the box of this one!

Irish Whiskey – and indeed Tullamore DEW – was in a different place back then!

The number of whiskey distilleries releasing matured product in 2015 could be counted on the digits of one hand – now you’d need more than 3 pairs!

Tullamore DEW itself – after having been acquired by William Grants in 2010 – had only completed construction of it’s distillery in Tullamore in 2014.

Tullamore DEW’s success as a brand has been built entirely on sourced product – mainly from Midleton Distillery, although this 12yo Sherry Cask is reputed to be Bushmills distillate.

Today in 2022 clearly the new Tullamore Distillery’s output is mature enough to end up in it’s offerings – yet there’s been no fanfare to announce this.

Instead a seamless takeover from the previous Midleton incarnations to the new Tullamore offerings has prevailed – undoubtedly aided by the skill of the distillery team to create a perfect replica of the previous bottlings.

After all, when you’re the custodian of the 2nd most popular selling brand of Irish Whiskey in the World – why change a winning formula?

I pondered on all of these things while enjoying the last few – & thankfully very well preserved – drops of this 12yo Sherry Cask.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Midleton Very Rare 2021, Blend, 40%

Midleton Very Rare – MVR – is highly collectible, highly sought after & very highly revered in Irish Whiskey.

Yet every time I sample one I ask myself, ‘ Is that it?’.

They are all very nice whiskey – but rather soft, subtle & understated.

Given the plethora of new brands & distilleries, MVR can often get lost in the excitement that’s out there.

On a blind tasting – despite acknowledging the whiskey was well balanced, cultured & aged – I gave pole position to a more affordable blend that engaged with me better.

I had the wonderful opportunity to share a few glasses of MVR 2021 with a friend who received one as a present – but in all honesty I won’t be lusting after it nor putting it on a pedestal.

A very enjoyable whiskey – if you can afford it.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Mitchell & Sons, Blue Spot 7 Year Old, Single Pot Still, 58.7%

My first encounter with Blue Spot was after tasting the MVR 2020 & Knockrath Tree 7 offerings – the depth & complexity of which swamped any delights Blue Spot held.

Blue Spot c/othewhiskeynut

A chance sample allowed me to revisit this acclaimed single pot still.

Despite the high ABV – rich warming caramels greeted me on the nose.

The palate started off soft, mellow & mouthcoatimg – before the 58.7% strength kicked in with a powerful punch leaving me reeling with touches of spicy oak tannins.

2nd Blue Spot c/othewhiskeynut

My original appraisal still stands.

Doesn’t grab me.

Sláinte

A Unicorn Whiskey Tasting, 40% to 58.7%

What is a unicorn whiskey?

To me it’s a whiskey way above my price range – I max out at €100 – which is usually rare, a collector’s item, limited edition, first release or a combination of all.

Many are never opened.

I grasp any opportunity to sample such whiskey – tastings, whiskey shows, launch parties – or in this instance – miniatures.

I approach them with the same level of respect as that of a €20 bottle from the local supermarket.

They are opened, poured into a Tuath Glass & enjoyed.

MVR 2020 c/othewhiskeynut

Midleton Very Rare 2020, Blend, 40%

The MVR series is highly collectable – especially this one – as it’s the last under Brian Nation’s tenure.

Quite a light nose, sweet grain with woody oak enticing me in. A lovely mouthfeel with those oaky tannins drying out towards the finish.

Very approachable, enjoyable & complex – yet lacks a certain oomph.

Knockrath Tree 7 c/othewhiskeynut

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, Knockrath Forest Tree 7, Single Pot Still, 56.6%

Straight into a deep, dank woody close!

The richness of this whiskey is a sheer delight to enjoy.

Gorgeous stuff!

Blue Spot c/othewhiskeynut

Blue Spot 7 Year Old, Single Pot Still, 58.7%

The much anticipated completion of the Spot series.

After the other 2 – this was a bit of a let down.

Light & spirity on the nose – lacking the depth & complexity of the MVR’s – what sherry influence appeared was quickly blown away by the high ABV.

Not for me – even if it’s the only one I could afford!

A satisfying tasting! c/othewhiskeynut

Thoughts

I don’t lust after these whiskeys – nor am I prepared the break the bank for them. They are simply expensive whiskeys appealing to a demographic beyond me,

But that Knockrath Tree 7 is a lovely tipple to lose yourself in!

Sláinte

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.

Paddy's
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.

Capture twitter
twitter comment

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.

2 (1 of 1)-2
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.

2 (1 of 1)
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

Good Logo

 

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.

Proper family
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.

2 (1 of 1)-2
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.

Proper 4
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?

Proper NYC
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.

Proper worker
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.

2 (1 of 1) (2)
Success to Proper No Twelve! c/othewhiskeynut

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

Sláinte

Good Logo

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!

IMG_0390 email
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.

IMG_1417 emailcop
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

Good Logo