Tag Archives: Pernod Ricard

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.

Martell VS, Cognac, 40%

Martell Cognac is available in virtually every Irish supermarket.

Not too surprising – Pernod Ricard own the brand.

I picked up this miniature to give it a whirl.

The nose was quite expressive, rich, warm & inviting with a touch of nuttiness.

The nuttiness followed through on the palate which was pleasingly smooth yet offered some depth & fruity complexity.

A welcome soft tannic spice livened up the finish.

Before the phylloxera bug nearly destroyed the vineyards of the late 1800’s Cognac was the spirit of choice.

I can see why after enjoying the flavoursome delights of this Martell VS.

Worth trying.

All images authors own.

Casamigos Reposado Tequila, 40%

Bumping into George Clooney in Dungarvan was a bit of a novelty – well – his tequila at least.

Casamigos courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop

The tequila market in Ireland is dominated by a few global players with links to Irish Whiskey Distilleries.

Jose Cuervo is part of Proximo who do Bushmills & Olmeca is owned by Pernod-Ricard who do Jameson.

El Jimador – part of Brown-Forman who do Slane Whiskey – also get a look in & more rarely 1800 – also Proximo – & Don Julio – part of Diageo linked with Roe & Co – appear.

Casamigos is therefore a newcomer to the scene.

George Clooney courtesy BBC website

Originally founded in 2013 by George Clooney & friends, the brand benefitted hugely from his celebrity status attracting a lot of interest. Diageo bought the brand in 2017 and are capitalising on that celebrity link by promoting Casamigos worldwide.

The Old Bank courtesy Facebook

The Old Bank in Dungarvan have an extensive array of spirits on offer – Casamigos quickly stood out for me.

Reposado – rested in American Oak for 7 months – was my choice for this 100% Blue Agave Tequila.

Displaying a dark straw colour in the glass Casamigos Reposado enticed with rich, earthy agave notes & an additional heavy dark sweetness.

Silky smooth on the palate with more of that butterscotch like sweetness.

The signature peppery agave spice shone through on the finish with those butterscotch notes taking me back to childhood days making bowls of Instant Whip Butterscotch flavoured dessert.

Instant Whip courtesy Chronicle Live

Wasn’t expecting that in a tequila!

Good auld George – expanding the tequila scene in Ireland with some gorgeous memory inducing flavours!

Sláinte

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

Olmeca Reposado Tequila, 38%

Olmeca Tequila is found in pretty much every Irish supermarket & is often the only tequila offered at many bars & hotels.

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise given Pernod Ricard own the brand & possibly use the Jameson distribution network for Olmeca too.

I’ve enjoyed a few glasses of Olmeca in various bars.

The nose portrays that signature agave pungency with hints of peppery spice.

The smooth palate lacks a little flair with an accentuated black peppery spice on the finish.

Olmeca Reposado ticks all the tequila taste boxes – but not being 100% agave it does miss out a tad on the flavour front.

Often listed as Olmeca Gold – denoting a mixto tequila where only 51% has to be agave based & Gold possibly being coloured – Olmeca Reposado – also mixto but with barrel ageing – appears to be the bottle supermarkets stock.

In the absence of any alternatives – it does the trick.

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Abasolo, El Whisky De Mexico, 43%

It seems Pernod Ricard are on a spending spree.

Hot on the heels of their Whisky Exchange purchase a stake in Mexican Whisky Abasolo is also gracing the enlarged portfolio.

Whether this will increase the diversity of drinks into the Irish market is yet to play out. Abasolo is not currently available in Ireland – so I picked this one up on a UK visit.

Made with 100% Mexican ancestral corn using historical techniques to boost the flavour – Abasolo piqued my interest from the very start.

The nose exudes a rich, sweet & enticing aroma of toasted corn.

An earthy wholesomeness with added savoury notes peeking through on the palate.

All wrapped up by a pleasing spiciness giving a warm feeling of cosy roastiness slowly fading away.

It’s not very often a whisky just grabs me but –

Abasolo was ‘abasolutely’ fabulous!

Sláinte

All photos authors own.

8 Degrees, Devil’s Ladder Belgian Tripel, Sherry Cask Aged, 11.5%

Very rich tasting.

Very moreish.

A mountain of a beer at 11.5%.

Devil’s Ladder c/othewhiskeynut

Part of 8 Degrees Brewing Irish Munro series – this beer’s casks are in turn used to age a whiskey creating the Crested Devil’s Ladder version.

Crested Devil’s Ladder c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

As both 8 Degrees & Crested are owned by Pernod Ricard – it’s great to see further developments from this partnership.

Enjoy them while you can!

Sláinte

Bacardi, The Hidden War, Hernando Calvo Ospina.

Every brand has to have a good story – but I’m not sure the one told in the pages of this compelling book will feature on the back of Bacardi labels.

Bacardi the book c/othewhiskeynut

Essentially it’s a well documented exposé of the Bacardi family’s consistent attempts – ever since the Cuban revolution of 1959 – to undermine, weaken & generally destabilise the Cuban regime.

A lot of it can be put down to big multinationals protecting their profits over and above any rules individual states may have.

Bacardi the rum c/othewhiskeynut

Some could be political ideology.

But it doesn’t particularly paint a pretty picture.

Events took a turn in 1993 when Pernod Ricard entered a joint venture with Cuban company Havana Rum & Liquors to produce & market the Havana Club range of Cuban rums – to great success.

Havana Club rum c/othewhiskeynut

Bacardi have consistently challenged the right of Pernod Ricard to do so.

Bacardi often drape their advertising in Cuban imagery – despite the rums not being made in the country – & there have been claims to say this is misleading & manipulative.

Cuban rum authenticity c/othewhiskeynut

In these times when ‘transparency’ & ‘honesty’ are attributes to be exalted in the spirits world – I’d suggest pouring your preferred tipple & sitting down to read this riveting book.

It may not change the flavour of that tipple – but it might colour the experience.

Sláinte

Havana Club 7, 40%, Cuba

I couldn’t review Bacardi’s 8 without looking at Havana’s 7.

Cuban rum products aren’t readily available in America – ever since the 1959 revolution.

Bacardí assets were nationalized & they set up business abroad while Pernod Ricard latterly took a stake in Cuba & released Havana Club.

Havana 7 c/othewhiskeynut

Despite no longer producing in the country Bacardí claim Cuban heritage & there is a long running dispute between the 2 companies over labelling & trademark.

Cuban rum meanwhile has a set of rules – one of which is only rums produced there can display the ‘Republica De Garantia’ logo – as shown on Havana 7.

Guaranteed Cuban c/othewhiskey

Golden brown in the Tuath Glass exhibiting thick legs.

Sweet dark caramels, toffee & hints of woody oak on the nose.

Easy enveloping mouthfeel develops a tingling spiciness which grows towards the finish.

Gentler, sweet dark fruitiness fades away softly.

Back label c/othewhiskeynut

A characterful rum.

Havana Club 7 is readily available in Ireland.

Sláinte

Sources;

Cuban Rum Embargo – https://globalcompliancenews.com/us-government-further-tightens-cuban-sanctions-targeting-cuban-travel-hotels-cigars-and-rum-05102020/

Havana Rum Wars – https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/01/08/the-rum-war-rages-bacardi-insists-its-havana-club-forever-cuban-despite-criticism

Cuban Rum Rules – https://www.cubaron.com/en/our-company/dop-cuba-menu-en/505-la-denominacion-de-origen-cuba-para-el-ron

Goslings Black Seal, Bermuda Black Rum, 40%

Goslings are a long established name in Rum.

Now part of the Castle Brands portfolio – which in turn is owned by Pernod Ricard.

2 (1 of 1)-2
Bermuda heritage, Irish distribution. c/othewhiskeynut

This Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum is a popular seller from their varied range.

A decent pungently dark molassey treacle on the nose.

Easy delivery on the palate.

Mild mannered with a touch of spice at the end.

2 (1 of 1)
Distinctive labelling! c/othewhiskeynut

No rough edges & perfectly balanced.

A pleasant easy sipping rum that just lacked a little character for me.

Sláinte

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