Tag Archives: New Midleton

1000 Years Of Irish Whiskey, Malachy Magee

Despite the 1000 Years title – Malachy believes the term Whiskey was coined by King Henry II’s soldiers who invaded Ireland in the 12th Century – the 1st half of the book deals with a rather troubling invention – the Coffey Still – that continues to influence Irish Whiskey today.

1000 Years, O’Briens Press 1980 c/othewhiskeynut

The big question of how a world leading industry in it’s prime lost it’s title is answered very succinctly in this 1980 publication – blending.

The dominant 4 whiskey houses of Dublin – J Jameson, Wm Jameson, J Powers & G Roe – rejected the efficient distilling equipment of A Coffey with his patent still.

They also rejected the growing art of blending whereby a large amount of ‘silent spirit’ produced in those Coffey Stills are mixed with more flavoursome spirit obtained from traditional pot stills.

In doing so Irish Whiskey stagnated & collapsed for over 100 years.

Back cover c/othewhiskeynut

When Malachy wrote his book there was only 1 surviving Irish Whiskey company – Irish Distillers – operating out of 2 distilleries – New Midleton & Old Bushmills.

What changed the demise was the final embracement of the Coffey Still in revising & marketing the Jameson, Powers & Paddy brands as blends to the world.

The category has gone from strength to strength ever since.

There are now up to 63 aspiring & established whiskey distilleries looking to invest, plan, build & market their own Irish Whiskey – creating a much more broad & diverse category.

It’s a fabulous time to witness the rebirth of Irish Whiskey – and give a nod of appreciation to A Coffey & his world changing still.

Sláinte