Tag Archives: The Liberties

The Dublin Liberties Distillery

A bright sunny Monday morning had me waiting outside Dublin’s newest whiskey distillery – Dublin Liberties Distillery – eagerly looking forward to being one of the first customers within it’s doors.

The building has been transformed since my last visit. Gone are the whitewashed walls, black doors and empty industrial space inside. Now it’s showing off the original stone walls, immaculately varnished wooden doors and a modern yet comfy cafe combined with an extremely well stocked distillery shop displaying it’s attractive wares.

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The way it used to be. c/othewhiskeynut

The staff were warm & friendly – if a little apprehensive at the start of their new roles as whiskey ambassadors for a bright shiny recently opened distillery.

The Liberties location is featured heavily in the opening story – a story of rebels, rascals and raconteurs.

Being beyond the city walls the area had certain freedoms – liberties – that weren’t available within. Business & industry grew up here – especially the brewing & distilling industry with it’s associated trades. As well as a reputation for entertainment & thrills – which the freshly redesigned & elaborate whiskeys of the Dublin Liberties Distillery range reflect.

The Dubliner Honeycomb Whiskey Liqueur at 30% is offered at the start of the tour as an easy starter into the brand.

Rich sweet honey up front gently morphs into a smooth warming whiskey heat that slowly fades on the palate.

A lovely little liqueur to lure you in!

Despite honouring the past – this is a modern distillery.

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Women who whiskey. c/othewhiskeynut

The washback & fermenter room is full of gleaming stainless steel tanks, pipe work & monitoring gauges.

The grain mill is enclosed beyond protective glass to prevent potential fire risk – as well as saving the guides shouting over it’s noisy operation!

The highlight of the tour – apart from the tastings obviously – are the shinning copper pot stills themselves – which have to be photographed outside of the still room – with just a peek of the up-to-date control room above.

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Dublin Liberties Distillery Stills c/othewhiskeynut

Interestingly the first still – usually called the wash still – already exhibited a darker shinier copper hue than the others. Simply as more production cycles have been put through. The rest will no doubt follow in due course.

The all important tasting room – resplendent in wooden beams, benches & tables, as well as comfy seats & a modern bar – had the obligatory samples waiting to enjoy.

The Dubliner Irish Whiskey at 40% was first up. A young, fresh easy going pleasant blend showing delicate honey sweetness with a lovely warming malty heat.

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The tasting room c/othewhiskeynut

The Oak Devil 5 Year Old at 46% – which I enjoyed very much in it’s original non aged statement (NAS) guise here – and preferred over the Dubliner blend – still retained that rich vanilla & caramel warming notes brought out by the charred ex-bourbon casks maturation. Quite what the 5yo age statement adds to the blend will have to wait for a back to back tasting.

It’s a pity the distillery exclusive Tannery Edition blend at 40% wasn’t offered as part of the tasting – but I rectified that by having a glass at the bar.

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The Tannery Edition c/othewhiskeynut

Honeycomb sweetness combined with a soft maltiness & grain heat. A decent gentle warming made this a very easy going winning blend in my book. Nothing too fancy – not too expensive – yet different enough to warrant a purchase – after all – it is a distillery exclusive!

Being the only person at the bar, I took full advantage of the bartender’s attention and went for a double bill of the new 13 Year Old Murder Lane  & 16 Year Old Keeper’s Coin Single Malts.

Now I should state all the current offerings are sourced product from an unnamed Irish Distillery – or distilleries for the blends – until Dublin Liberties Distillery distillate is fully matured. Even then the grain element will continue to be sourced as only single malt will be made at the site.

That’s not to diminish the current offerings – all resplendent in elaborately designed artwork & presentation boxes.

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Murder Lane 13yo c/othewhiskeynut

The 13 Year Old Murder Lane at 46% is matured in ex bourbon casks with a finish in Tokaj Wine casks.

I’d not heard of Tokaj before  – but it’s an area in Hungary famous for it’s wines – which kind of makes this a rather unique Irish Whiskey offering!

Warming vanilla, slight spice with richness & depth to boot. Smooth on tasting. Growing peppery spice with sweet dark fruits coming through. Long finish with a sweet spicy appeal.

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Keeper’s Coin 16yo c/othewhiskeynut

The 16 Year Old Keeper’s Coin at 46% is also ex bourbon matured but with a PX cask finish.

Rich dark sweetness with plenty of depth. Smooth, soft, the dark PX sweetness coming in with a lovely drying prickly spice. Long lasting loveliness.

There is another even older offering – the 27 Year Old King Of Hell – but at 2700 euro – and not available by the glass – I declined the opportunity.

The Dublin Liberties Distillery is fully open for tastings, tours, shopping & relaxing in the cafe. It’s a wonderful addition to the ever expanding Irish Whiskey scene both within the Liberties area of Dublin as well as the country as a whole.

They have very attractive & tasty offerings to suit all tastes – as well as budgets – and I wish all connected with the distillery a hearty toast to their future success.

May the road rise with you!

Slainte

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Teeling Single Pot Still, Batch1, 46%

It’s been a long time coming.

Whiskey distillation has returned to Dublin!

I remember visiting the building site that became the Teeling Whiskey Distillery here.

I remember my first visit to the working distillery here.

And I remember drinking their new make Poitin – distilled in Dublin – here.

So it’s a great treat to eventually getting round to tasting their first official whiskey.

All previous Teeling releases are sourced. I’ve enjoyed a fair few of them over the years so this young Single Pot Still has a very high bar to follow – some might say an impossible task – so does it make the grade?

Well – it Smells Like Teen Spirit!

The idea that a just-over-3yr-old Single Pot Still can match the complexity & depth of flavour of malts matured in a variety of barrels for at least 5 years or more – much more in many cases – is frankly ridiculous.

This Single Pot Still is fresh, lively & exuberant.

There’s plenty of sweet fresh fruit on the nose with just a hint of sour new make in the background.

Initially a smooth fruity mouthfeel develops into a dry peppery spice with a good deal of prickly heat.

The dry spices fade leaving a clean tropical fruit finish.

I actually really enjoy it – but it’s hardly an easy smooth tannic laden whiskey of hidden depth & character. It’s a little rough around the edges – nothing a few more years wouldn’t sort out.

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Teeling Single Pot Still & Tuath Whiskey Glass c/othewhwiskeynut

But then this whiskey was never meant to be the finished item.

It’s a work in progress to highlight the maturing process – to keep the adoring fans happy – to keep Teeling in the limelight and to earn a bit of return too.

It’s a historical bottling with a release of 6,000 at an affordable price.

It’s presented at 46% – and like all Teeling releases – there is no chill filtering nor added caramel.

A nice touch is the light blue label which mirrors the Dublin GAA colours.

Let The Spirit Of Dublin roll on!

Sláinte

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Pearse Lyons Distillery, The Liberties, Dublin

The Pearse Lyons Distillery officially opened it’s doors to the public on August 26th 2017.

I happened to be in Dublin myself that day – but as I (and a few other whiskey heads too) were busily judging the blended whiskey category for the upcoming Irish Whiskey Awards in another part of town – the alcohol took it’s toll on me and I was in no fit state for any distillery visit.

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Blind whiskey tasting in progress c/othewhiskeynut

Luckily for me the next week provided a further opportunity in the single grain, single pot still & cask strength category judging at which I paced myself rather better with adequate water & food intake.

So by 4pm I happily had the chance to be shown round the week old distillery by the friendly & informative guide – sorry – storyteller – Bernard.

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Now let’s go inside & have a whiskey! c/othewhiskeynut

The distillery is highly unusual in that it is housed in an old church – complete with graveyard dating from the 1100’s!

Bernard himself did a sterling job exploring some of the many stories that make up both the past, present and future of the current whiskey distillery.

The stories continued inside the distillery building that had the wonderfully gleaming copper pot stills placed in the old alter area surrounded with stunning stained glass windows.

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The whiskey window c/othewhiskeynut

The pot stills themselves are a rather unusual design for Irish whiskey. To begin with there are only 2. Mighty Molly – the larger wash still and Little Lizzie – the spirit still – which along with the familiar bulbous pot also has a rectifying column on top.

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Mighty Mollie & Little Lizzie c/othewhiskeynut

Both were manufactured by Vendome in Louisville, Kentucky, where Pearse Lyons has his Town Branch Distillery. Interestingly, these stills were previously used in County Carlow to produce some of the whiskey that ended up in Pearse Whiskey blends –  which we got to taste later in the all important sampling – where all good distillery tours finish – in tasting the actual produce.

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The tasting trio c/othewhiskeynut

Pearse Irish Whiskey comes in 4 styles & flavours – all presented at 42%

There are 3 blends. Blends are whiskeys that contain both grain whiskey and malt whiskey.  2 of the Pearse blends contain malt that has been made using the stills now situated in the former church.

The Original started off our introduction to the Pearse family whiskeys.

Aged in bourbon barrels for 3 to 5 years this light whiskey came across crisp & clear to me – very enjoyable & approachable – even after the single pot stills I’d enjoyed earlier in the day.

The Distiller’s Choice is also a blend using slightly older malt & grain components with final maturation in sherry casks. This gives the whiskey a slightly sweeter taste which I must admit didn’t wow me as much as The Original.

The final offering was the Founder’s Choice. A 12 year old single malt from an un-named source. This also  had the fairly soft, light & approachable character of an Irish bourbon cask matured single malt.

By now I was chatting with fellow distillery tourists to find out which expressions they enjoyed. We did ask about the last bottle – the Cooper’s Select – and despite being on sale in the distillery – it wasn’t offered for tasting.

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Cooper’s Select c/othewhiskeynut

Would it be available in the nearby McCann’s Bar?

‘Probably’ came the reply.

A plan was hatched. My new whiskey buddies – a young American & an English couple would meet there after our distillery purchases.

Now McCann’s is currently hidden behind scaffolding & hoardings as the whole block is undergoing renovation as part of the Pearse Lyons Distillery project – I can’t wait to see the final result of the refurbishment to this fine old bar,

Inside were a large crowd of regulars enjoying the craic & watching the late afternoon sport on the telly. My new american friend was already enjoying a Guinness – well the brewery is just next door! – but I insisted on ordering some Cooper’s Choice.

Cooper’s Choice is an aged blend matured in bourbon barrels with final maturation in sherry casks. It’s also a sourced whiskey while Pearse Lyons own distillate is quietly resting in wooden barrels.

I really enjoyed this one. As did my friend who was now joined by the English couple.

Spotting the bar also stocked the output from Pearse’s Town Branch Distillery I couldn’t resist the Town Branch Rye.

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Town Branch Rye c/othewhiskeynut

At 50% it delivers that powerful peppery spice kick on both the nose & mouth that I simply can’t get enough of – big, bad, beautiful & bold. Lovely!

Meanwhile one of the chatty locals insisted we had some traditional Irish whiskey – so a glass of Paddy’s it was.

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Paddy Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Oh dear.

Yes it was smooth & easy – but it lacked the full blown character & hit of the rye we just tried previously.

I could have stayed longer – but I had a train to catch – so made my way to the station with just enough time to grab an Iarnród Éireann cup of tea & sandwich to sober up.

Whiskey for me is a journey of discovery.

I discovered a lovely new Irish whiskey distillery along with some beautiful new expressions – and hopefully led others to discover more too.

My thanks to the Celtic Whiskey Club & Pearse Lyons Distillery for  a wonderful day out in Dublin.

Sláinte.

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Dr. Gearóid Cahill, an interview.

The Alltech Craft Brews And Food Fair continues to open the annual round of large drink themed shows in Ireland.

Now in it’s 5th year, the numbers attending are still growing. This reflects the increasing awareness and appreciation of craft beer, food and distilled spirits among the discerning drinking public.

Being my 3rd visit, I’m always amazed at the growing number of Irish Craft Beer breweries, cider makers & distilleries producing a bewildering array of fine tasting alcoholic beverage.

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Pearse Lyons Distillery, Dublin c/othewhiskeynut

The other reason for attending the show this year was an opportunity to interview the Head Distiller of Dublin’s soon to be opened Pearse Lyons Distillery in the historic Liberties area.

Dr. Gearóid Cahill.

Whiskey Nut (WN) Is the timetable for the distillery opening going according to plan?

Gearóid Cahill (GC) We’re fairly confident in the proposed July opening. But we’re already a full year behind our original plans. At the start of the project the former St James’s Church wasn’t a listed building. A Protected Structure was subsequently applied to the site which we were happy to comply with but this understandably slowed down our schedule. Being a former church surrounded by a graveyard also meant that everytime we wanted to dig a trench for cabling or pipework human remains were unearthed. These had to be treated with respect. All of them were carefully catalogued, analysed for historical data and then reinterred at the graveyard. We have cooperated with the relevant authorities over these and many other issues which have arisen during the construction and done our utmost to comply with all the conditions.

WN Will there be a visitors centre?

GC  There will be a visitors centre adjacent to the church inside which the actual distillery is situated. We want to take visitors into the working distillery to feel the heat, experience the noise and smell the aromas of a working distillery, as well as showing them the entire whiskey making process from grain to glass.

WN  What style of Irish whiskey are you intending to produce?

GC  Dr. Pearse Lyons, the Founder & President of Alltech has a vision and passion to produce a malted barley Irish whiskey in his home town of Dublin. I’m thrilled and equally passionate to be charged with making sure that vision becomes a reality.

WN  I’m very excited by the return of rye as an ingredient in Irish whiskey manufacture. There is already a rye cask finished Irish whiskey on the market. Midleton have planted fields of rye near Enniscorthy and Kilbeggan/Cooley are currently maturing a rye single pot. Are there any plans for this style of whiskey at St James’s?

GC  The design of the distillery and the dynamism of Alltech allow for a high degree of flexibility & innovation. We can produce beer at the distillery, over and above that required for distillation. We can access any type of grain we require through the Alltech agricultural division and we will be using the best casks from our Lexington distillery in Kentucky. Together with the relatively small size of the, what you can call a boutique distillery we are about to open, we can respond & react to any change in style or vision we wish in the coming years.

WN  You come with a very impressive career both academically and practically mainly founded on brewing. Has distilling always been a dream for you?

GC  I’ve worked for many years in the brewing industry and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I love working for Alltech as the passion and enthusiasm Dr Pearse Lyons has for brewing & distilling is something I share. It’s that enthusiasm that drives our team to hold the Alltech Craft Brews And Food Fair every year to showcase the growing rise of craft beer, cider and spirit making in Ireland. A lot of our staff give freely of their time to help organise & run the event and we see it as showcasing the best that is out there. There is also a growing blurring of lines in the types & styles of beer now available. Just when does a heavily hopped dark porter stop being a porter & become an IPA? It’s a question I often have to adjudicate on being a judge at the show. Those blurred lines are also entering the whiskey market with stout aged whiskey, IPA aged whisky and other variations. This also feeds back into the growth of barrel aged beers. These are exciting times.

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Town Branch Rye c/othewhiskeynut

I’m very confident and comfortable in the field of brewing which is the first step in whiskey production. I’m also very comfortable with the science and technique of distilling. The whole process of maturation in wood is a much less understood area and still a bit of a mystery – although I’m getting much valuable advice & experience from the team over in Lexington.

WN  There are some who say up to 70% of the flavour in a whiskey comes from the influence of wood maturation. Would you agree with that?

GC  I wouldn’t go that high. It’s true wood plays a yet not totally understood role in the final  flavour profile – but the spirit you put into the barrel in the first instance has to be of good quality. No matter how long you age a bad distillate it simply won’t become a stunning whiskey. Understanding the variables of wood maturation, temperature fluctuations, types of wood, charring levels and previous contents all play their part in the final whiskey. They will all become a major part of my – and my teams work – over the next few years.

WN  When you get time to relax at home,

and at this a wry smile suggested this wasn’t a common experience

What would be your drink of choice?

GC  Erm, well when I get the time, I like to sit down with a good bourbon, usually over ice. I enjoy a malted Irish too but I wouldn’t be a fan of a heavily peated Scotch.

At this point I finished my interview by thanking Gearóid for giving me the time out from his busy schedule for the talk and fired off a couple of photos for the blog.

During the small talk I discovered he’s originally from Collinstown in Westmeath!

Whoa!

Westmeath gains another notch in the wonderful world of whiskey!

And talking about Westmeath, why not finish with another of Westmeath’s finest – Joe Dolan – here singing a song titled Sister Mary. Chosen by me for Gearóid Cahill building the Pearse Lyons Distillery in a former church!

I wish all the team at Alltech future success with the Pearse Lyons Distillery – and eagerly await the opening.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can worship at the shrine of whiskey and celebrate the mystery of wood.

Sláinte.

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A Masterclass with Dublin Whiskey Company

One of the joys of attending a masterclass at Whiskey Live Dublin is gaining access to some of the movers & shakers and characters of the Irish Whiskey scene.

Darryl McNally – master distiller at the Dublin Whiskey Company – is certainly an engaging as well as entertaining character who led a highly enjoyable talk about his new Irish whiskey adventure.

Darryl regaled us with stories from his time at Bushmills. Originally with Irish Distillers, then Diageo and now Jose Cuervo before he decided to go his own way with the Quintessential Brands owned Dublin Whiskey Company.

Being a new player in the market doesn’t mean bringing a lack of knowledge or experience to the table. Darryl has an abundance of those qualities – as well as a knack of casually throwing in some whiskey stories from his many years in the industry.

In his early days at Bushmills he was intrigued by a tap marked 2D and 3D. Eventually plucking up the courage to ask someone, it turned out to be a flow valve for double distilled or triple distilled spirit. The distillery could – and probably still does – have the ability to produce either.

During the Diageo owned days the 2D was switched off to concentrate on the production of 3D spirit to fit in with the marketing strategy at the time.

The 2D stock that had accumulated beforehand no longer fitted the ‘core brand story’ and was subsequently off loaded.

Jack Teeling happened to have some ready cash from the Cooley sale to Beam and – as the story goes – 10 million worth of 2D stock now forms the bulk of current Teeling whiskey expressions having been selected and finished to Alex Chasko’s exacting standards.

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Artists impression of Dublin Whiskey Distillery c/othespiritsbusiness

Ironically the site chosen for the soon to be developed Dublin Whiskey Distillery is Mill Street in the Liberties area of Dublin – right behind the award winning Teeling Distillery!

The Liberties is once again gaining it’s former glory – or notoriety – of being the major whiskey production area of Ireland with the Pearse Lyons Distillery in nearby James’s  Street almost complete.

The Dublin Liberties Irish Whiskey also happens to be the family brand name for a range of attractively designed expressions that cleverly combine the rich historical heritage of the Liberties area with a modern image and story.

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Oak Devil c/othewhiskeynut

My eye was immediately drawn to the bottle of Oak Devil I encountered last year in the lovely Dingle Whiskey Bar on Nassau Street. A glass duly sat in front of me for my pleasure – and it certainly was pleasing.

It had a rich malty, almost woody note to begin with followed by some lovely spices and a warming finish. It struck me as being a little bit different to the standard offerings of other blends out there and it struck a chord with me – just like the old Cult classic tune did as I quietly hummed it to myself whilst savouring the whiskey.

In the masterclass this 46% non-chill filtered blend was paired with some lovely salmon sushi from Yamamori – did I mention we were provided with some lovely food to compliment the tasty whiskey? – and Oak Devil only reaffirmed my enjoyable original tasting experience.

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Whiskey & food pairings c/othewhiskeynut

Copper Alley is the new release. Also at 46% non-chill filtered but this time a 10 year old single malt finished in 30 year old sherry casks. It’s a more refined smooth tasting whiskey than Oak Devil which despite the sherry influence still retains the lovely maltiness and spice I like. Lovely.

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Copper Alley c/othewhiskeynut

The Dubliner brand is also part of the portfolio and will make up the bulk of the Dublin Whiskey Company core sales.

The Dubliner Blend at 40% chill filtered proved to be a pretty decent standard entry expression with just enough spice to keep it entertaining. But I was blown away by the extremely tasty food pairing of a chocolate donut infused with Dubliner whiskey!

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Dubliner Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Still munching on the donut the Dubliner 10 year old single malt at 42% chill filtered matured in bourbon casks also went down very well. This release was paired with some beautiful tariyaki beef strips and concluded the session.

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Dubliner 10yo c/othewhiskeynut

Asked for a favourite – I was about to shout out ‘The donut’ when Darryl joked that anyone who did so would be ejected from the show!

Oak Devil still won me over however with that blend of malt, spice and grain combined in a cool bottle wrapped  up with a pleasing story.

I just can’t wait for the distillery in Mill St to be up and running so I can enjoy more donuts – sorry,  whiskey! – whilst relaxing in the proposed visitors lounge overlooking the still room floor where all the action is.

Slainte.

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