Out and about on my holidays in Southern France I did as many of the locals do and took a day trip into Spain for a spot of shopping, sightseeing, Spanish sausage & chips and a cold San Miguel.
The border is only about an hour away set in the stunning scenery of the Pyrenees mountain range.
Les is the first town you reach on the particular crossing I ventured on. What greets you on the outskirts of town is a car park full of French vehicles taking advantage of the cheaper tax regime on a variety of goods including fuel, tobacco and booze.
I eagerly browsed a couple of shops looking for some Spanish whisky – none were available.
There we’re some interesting American & Scottish offerings however.
How about some Buffalo Bill Bourbon?
Or perhaps William Peel, Black Vulture & Sir Edward might please your palate?
These are only a few of the locally based brands that are widely obtainable in France or Spain – yet are rarely encountered in the country of origin.
Maybe you’d feel safer with more familiar brands like Jack Daniels, William Lawson’s or Ballantines.
Amidst all this liquid there was only one Irish representative – Jameson.
Where are all the new Irish Brands?
Where are all the locally branded & marketed French based Irish Whiskeys with fancy names like Green Dragon, Seamus Shaughnessey or even Shamrock Sile?
Now I realise this market is more about quantity rather than quality.
There are no pretentions to provenance and terroir is trodden underfoot with trollies laden with 4.5 litre bottles of your favourite whisky bound for a celebratory social occasion or party.
Yet even within this segment there are a variety of styles, tastes and prices.
I know Irish Whiskey is capable of producing a decent tipple at a bargain basement price – Irish Reserve 4 Year Old springs to mind – so why not here?
I have nothing against Jameson – but by my purely anecdotal browsings you’d be forgiven for being unaware of the explosive growth of Irish Whiskeys on the market.
Irish Whiskey is seriously under represented in this segment.
Apart from Jameson – it’s not even in the market.
I was a customer in that market. I bought a Scotch I hadn’t tried before. That’s a missed Irish opportunity.