Tag Archives: Proper Twelve

Spirit Of The Age, The Story Of Old Bushmills, Alf McCreary

I always find it fascinating looking back into the history of Irish Whiskey.

This 1983 publication on Old Bushmills catalogues the rich tapestry of the distillery through it’s folklore, scenery, politics, changing fortunes, characters & calamities.

The book clearly displays there’s a lot more to simply enjoying the glass of whiskey in front of you – there’s always a whole back story.

Illustrated with many photographs & tales of the people involved – both from the boardroom as well as the distillery floor – Spirit Of The Age is a testament to the longevity of Irish Whiskey.

At the time of publication Old Bushmills was owned by Irish Distillers – but history is ongoing & Tequila makers Jose Cuervo are now in control.

Ironically one of Bushmills biggest sellers no longer bares it’s name – Proper Twelve has now overtaken the lead sales position Bushmills used to enjoy – and marks yet another chapter in the changing faces of Irish Whiskey.

I found this highly informative & entertaining publication through Libraries Ireland – well worth reading.

Long may Old Bushmills continue producing Irish Whiskey!

Sláinte

Old Bushmills website here.

Jose Cuervo buys Bushmills here.

Irish Distillers website here.

Proper Twelve sales growth here.

2 Controversial Whiskey Blends, John L Sullivan, 40% & Celtic Nations, 46%

Both these whiskeys attracted a degree of controversy when originally released.

Most of it centred around the interpretation of ‘rules’ – but I was curious to taste the results.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey, 40%

Named after a famous Irish/American boxer of the late 1800’s – which attracted initial upset – an original bottling of John L Sullivan displayed the legend ‘Irish Bourbon’.

Image courtesy Whiskey Jug

Attempting to celebrate the Irish/American heritage with a blend of Irish & Bourbon whiskeys fell foul of labelling laws & the bottle was withdrawn.

Before me is a sample from a bottle labelled John L Sullivan Irish Whiskey – aged in bourbon casks.

Pale straw in colour, shy nose, not giving much away, smooth easy palate, gentle growing warmth with a hug of sweet vanilla & caramel, flourish of mild spice on the rear.

An easy going entry level offering.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Celtic Nations, 46%

A collaboration between the Irish Teeling Whiskey Co & Scotch Bruichladdich Distillery to create a harmonious blend of single malts to celebrate the 2 nations spirits.

Didn’t meet the approval of the SWA & was banned.

Pale straw colour, gorgeous expressive nose of gentle peat coming through, the palate displays more soft Irish notes before the embers of a peat fire warms up the finish.

An entertaining soft peater.

Thoughts

Both of these whiskeys had great potential.

The pugilist inspired John L Sullivan pre-dated the global success of Proper Twelve & there’s been subsequent Irish/American Whiskey/Bourbon collaborations on the market since.

Cross nation blends have been a staple earning for both Scotch & Irish distilleries over the years – mainly for the lower end of the market. Perhaps this high profile open & transparent offering was just too much for the SWA?

Whatever the reasons – controversy is not a tasting note I encountered in either of these blends.

Sláinte

Whiskey Nut’s Readers Favourite Blogs Of 2021

It’s nearly the end of 2021 – and what a year it’s been!

A little reflection of the previous 12 months is in order.

The blogs below are my readers favourites for 2021.

1) Proper Twelve V’s Jameson, Dec 18.

Proper 12 must be the most divisive Irish Whiskey ever – yet it’s already outselling Bushmills 400 years of heritage in the American market after only 4 years. Go figure!

2) Kyasuku World Whisky, Oct 21.

Rising to 2nd spot in only a couple of months is a remarkable achievement for this Aldi brand from Japan.

3) Dundalgan Single Malt IPA Cask, Nov 20.

This popular range of whiskey continues to be an attractive & affordable purchase.

4) Irish Whiskey Distilleries, Dec 21.

The only page to make the list! My constantly updating list of Irish Whiskey Distilleries!

5) Púca Blend, Nov 20.

These mischievous spirits make a welcome return to the Top 10 – as well as Aldi shelves!

6) Ron Rumbero Miniature Pack, Dec 19.

The 1st of a number of rum entries into the list – and a great introduction to the category.

7) Liberté Rum, May 20.

This affordable white rum charmed me with it’s attractive range of flavours.

8) Black & Blue Whisky, Jan 19.

This Nigerian Whisky brand made in India with UK connections demonstrates the global reach of whisky.

9) El Bandido Beer, July 20.

While I can’t say I love this beer – there’s clearly a lotta love for it out there!

10) Ardfallen Whiskey, Jun 19.

A no nonsense Irish Whiskey blend at an affordable price.

A big thanks to all my readers – without you I’d be drinking on my own!

Sláinte

By pressing on the links you’ll be directed to the original blogs.

Plain Packaging, Branding & Celebrity Spirits

For health reasons Plain Packaging is now enforced for tobacco products in Ireland & it could well follow for alcohol.

Plain packaging c/oPackagingNews

A recent report highlighted the issues involved – from the brands position – but It did set me wondering.

I drink whiskey to enjoy the taste.

Fancy packaging, back stories & celebrity endorsements may enhance the experience – but the liquid inside the bottle & how my palate perceives it is paramount.

As I’m currently judging this years Irish Whiskey Awards I note all the samples come in plain packaging – albeit without the health warnings.

Blind whiskey judging c/othewhiskeynut

This is to strip out any bias – conscious or unconscious – towards particular brands or distilleries & lets the whiskey speak for itself.

Branding clearly works. It’s why companies spend vast amounts of money establishing a ‘relationship’ with the customer.

Celebrity endorsements are an extension of that process & are part of the cultural fabric today.

McGregor c/oProperTwelve

From Conor McGregor to Graeme McDowell – note the different reception shown to both – George Clooney to Rita Ora – celebrities boost sales.

Prospero Tequila c/oSpiritsBusiness

Whiskey bloggers also court celebrity status promoting merchandise & image over and above actual content.

Love it or loath it – branding abounds.

Whether your whiskey comes in Plain Packaging or not, is promoted by a superstar or just recommended by a popular blogger or not, rest assured the whiskey flavour remains the same.

How your palate experiences & interprets that flavour is unique to you.

Whiskey in a Tuath glass c/othewhiskeynut

Pour yourself a measure & let the whiskey do the talking.

Sláinte

Kilbeggan Black, Lightly Peated Irish Whiskey, 40%, Blend

For a long time Irish Whiskey was defined more by what it couldn’t be rather than by what it could.

Truths About Whiskey 1878 c/othewhiskeynut

When the whisky market was clearly shifting to blended whisky in the late 1800’s, Messrs J Jameson, W Jameson, J Power & G Roe brought out the ‘Truths About Whisky’ pamphlet which railed against this new confounded ‘silent spirit’ & thereby shunned the opportunities available.

Proper Twelve c/othewhiskeynut

Celebrity endorsed brands are making big waves across the globe right now – yet within the Irish Whiskey community there is almost universal rejection of Conor McGregor’s Proper Twelve Whiskey – despite it leaping to become the 4th most popular Irish Whiskey in the world.

Sods of turf drying in the sun. c/othewhiskeynut

Many also adhere to the myth that Irish Whiskey can’t be peated.

Which is a pity.

Peated whiskey displays a gorgeous smoky flavour which many customers seek out – customers like myself.

Peated Kilbeggan c/othewhiskeynut

So when Kilbeggan Distillery recently added the Kilbeggan Black Lightly Peated Irish Whiskey to their range – I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Label info c/othewhiskeynut

The double distilled blend of malt & grain whiskey from Cooley Distillery in County Louth is presented in a no nonsense screwcap bottle at 40% ABV with added colouring.

It’s clearly positioned at the mass market peated blend category previously dominated by Scorch – and I fully welcome Irish Whiskey’s entry into this arena.

Delicately smoky c/othewhiskeynut

A subtle kiss of smoke rises from the honeyed blend.

Soft & easy palate.

Gently drying smokiness envelops the finish in a warm tingly embrace.

Now that the pubs are slowly opening after a long COVID shutdown – it’ll be great to reach for a lightly peated Irish Whiskey.

Go on Kilbeggan!

Sláinte

Irish Whiskey, Open for business?

A recent Business Post article highlighting a new player into the Irish Whiskey scene being criticized by a blogger & thereby allegedly losing a business deal struck me.

c/oCraftIrishWhiskeyCo

As a blogger myself I’m aware words can have consequences – & try to act accordingly.

When it comes to Irish Whiskey my ethos is very clear.

Proper Twelve c/othewhiskeynut

I’m welcoming of new players to the category.

It’s a sign of the buoyancy and renewed confidence of the scene that companies are not only attracted to it – but willing to spend time & money building it further too.

I also welcome each and every new bottle of Irish Whiskey to reach the shelves – & look forward to tasting them.

Irish Whiskey c/oBahaWhiskey

Sadly – this is not the case for others.

Over the years I’ve had disagreements with folks who think it fair game to critique, laugh at & generally abuse newcomers for a whole heap of reasons;

The poor label design, the wording, whether it’s sourced or single malt, the character behind the product, the name of the brand – the list can continue but you get the flavour.

Or rather not.

As in most of these cases the author hasn’t touched a drop of the whiskey.

They’ve judged by other parameters & imposed their personal views on the subject.

This sends out messages.

Rather than a hearty ‘Céad Mile Fáilte‘ it’s Father Jack sitting in the corner shouting ‘Feck Off‘ & grabbing the same old bottle of whiskey.

Hyde 10 Year Old Rum Cask c/o whiskeynut

It limits the diversity & scope of Irish Whiskey.

I believe it damages the category & will inhibit other players &

I think it reflects badly on Ireland’s reputation as a welcoming place.

This self appointed ‘community’ of commentators do not speak for me – and I reject their rather narrow & limited outlook of what Irish Whiskey should be.

I’m for an open, innovative & expanding Irish Whiskey category.

What are you for?

Sláinte