Tag Archives: Vodka

VodQuila, WhisQuila, RumQuila – An Exploration of Blending.

Red Eye Louie’s brand of blended spirits caught my eye.

They do a line of Vodquila, Whisquila & Rumquila which had me tempted.

Unlikely to appear in Ireland – I decided to make my own.

Rather than blending from the same spirit category – Red Eye Louie’s mix up the spirits creating something new & exciting. Not knowing the percentages used nor the original spirit donors – I simply went with what I had & settled on a 1 third to 2 thirds mix weighted towards tequila.

My donor bottles were;

Tequila Azteca, 38%

Absolut Vodka, 40%

O’Neill’s Irish Whiskey, 40%

Ron Pelicano Jamaican Rum, 40%

Pressing on the coloured highlights will take you to my original blogs on the liquids.

VodQuila

Not sure what to expect here – or if the spirits will ‘marry’ together – but no venture no gain!

Well the pungent agave nose survives! Shouldn’t have been too surprised. Vodka after all is a neutral spirit suitable for mixing. An oily mouthfeel, more agave notes warming to a pleasant peppery finish.

Could have easily confused this for an actual tequila!

I had to re-check with Azteca to get a comparison. If anything the agave notes were more pronounced with the original – but the vodka had provided a boost to the body of the mix.

I’ll take the Azteca nose, VodQuila body & Azteca finish with this one!

WhisQuila

This might be more of a challenge!

Both whiskey & tequila have distinctive characteristics – will they gel together?

In a word – yes!

The agave still came through – but with added vanilla, caramel & a touch of oak. All contributions from barrel ageing. The peppery spice still provided a flourish on the finish.

This blend strayed into reposado style tequila.

I must say I found it very entertaining!

RumQuila

The final push!

How will a funky Jamaican get on with a tasty Mexican?

It’s the funk that plays the nose on this one!

The fruitiness is somewhat subdued by an almost savoury agaviness on the palate & then it all comes alive on the finish. The funk just got peppered!

That’s a new experience for me!

Thoughts

I must say I’ve been mightily impressed with the results!

All 3 blends gave additional body, flavours and/or joie de vivre to the individual components – making for an entertaining & highly enjoyable tasting extravaganza!

I think Red Eye Louise’s are onto something with their pre-mixed drinks – but there’s nothing to stop yourself from experimenting at home.

I’m certainly glad I did!

Sláinte

Red Eye Louie’s website here.

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Lough Ree Distillery Tasting in Dead Centre Brewing

It’s not everyday you come away from a whiskey tasting championing a vodka,

But then it’s not everyday you encounter such an innovative drinks producer like Lough Ree Distillery.

Mike Clancy from Lough Ree entertained us with a highly informative talk & introduction to 5 of the companies offerings.

We kicked off with Bart’s – the company’s core Irish Whiskey blend – which I’ve always found very attractive. Read my blog here.

The Dead Centre collaborative Single Malt Whiskey duo were equally well received – with No1 just winning it for me in this 2nd tasting. Read my original thoughts here.

The limited release Bethlehem Bridge Series Single Grain Whiskey proved to be a favourite all round with it’s rich, deep & dark flavours captivating the audience.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

The final spirit was introduced blind.

I began with fresh citrus, another added smokiness, more enjoyed the smooth yet drying mouthfeel topped off with a slight spicy tingling.

Somewhat surprised to learn this was a vodka infused with Irish peat!

Such an entertaining, easy & enjoyable tipple to round up an excellent showcase for all the exciting developments at Lough Ree Distillery.

Sláinte

Lough Ree Distillery website here.

Dead Centre website here.

A Visit To The Shed Distillery, Drumshanbo

Herself had booked a 2 night stay in the fabulous new Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway lodges – only a short trip down the road from Drumshanbo.

Meeting friends in the lovely Jackalope Café of the distillery itself for a tasty meal I suggested a tour would be in order & a couple of us tagged along on the last one of the day.

An introductory video led us through the Curious Mind of PJ Rigney – leading onto an explanation of not only whiskey production – but gin & vodka too – The Shed Distillery do all.

No photos are allowed on the tour – but we did see the magnificent copper pot stills that make all the lovely spirit – separate stills for each category – with the attendant malty aromas too!

In the well presented tasting rooms we were led through our 1st sample – the delightful Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey with it’s creamy mouthfeel from the Barra Oats used in the mash-bill.

Interestingly on display were additional grains – including rye – as well as barrel staves – I spotted acacia wood – pointing to exciting future developments from The Shed Distillery.

A gin lab – full of exciting spices & botanicals – complete with replica Sausage Tree for the vodka – rounded off the highly informative & immersive tour before being led to the Honey Badger Bar for a complimentary drink.

A number of choices are available – my curious mind opted for the Sausage Tree Vodka. I can’t say vodka is my usual tipple – but there was some additional depth to the flavour of this extremely well presented offering.

Suitably sated – I had my eyes on the main event – the 2021 Galánta Single Malt release.

Introduced as a limited edition annual release Galánta is delivered non chill filtered, natural colour & 46%

Gentle warming vanilla & caramel offering clean & clear aromas on the nose. Easy gentle mouthfeel develops fuller, richer flavours as it slowly warms the palate. Finishes with a slight prickliness fading away slowly.

A very elegant & softly stated single malt.

Meanwhile an Express The Curiosity cocktail – from an exciting menu – presented with flair & panache was thoroughly enjoyed by my touring partner.

The Shed Distillery excels all round.

Set in the gorgeous Leitrim countryside – we later walked the Shannon Blueway, indulged ourselves at Beirne’s Bar in Battle Bridge & enjoyed the Gunpowder Gin, Sausage Tree Vodka & Drumshanbo Whiskey all made at The Shed Distillery.

Isn’t it about time you visited?

Sláinte

The Shed Distillery website here.

Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway website here.

Shannon Blueway website here.

Beirne’s Inn website here.

Luigi Francoli, Grappa Di Muscato E Brachetto, Barrique, 41.5%

It’s great to see the independent drinks specialist Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) launch a course in Ireland courtesy of Spirits Training.

When I completed my Spirits Level 2 module a while ago I visited the UK to sit the exam.

It shows a growing appreciation of and increasing demand for the spirits sector in Ireland.

My extra curricular training in Manchester proved to be very entertaining nonetheless! Visit my blog here.

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WSET Spirits L2 c/othewhiskeynut

The Spirits Level 2 course doesn’t just cover whiskey – all distilled spirit categories including Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Mezcal & more are explored.

Many I’d little knowledge of – let alone tasted – which is an integral part of training.

I grew to understand each sector has it’s own rules & regulations, history & customs,  as well as creative interpretations & representations of those traditions across the world.

At the end of the day however – it all came down to which spirits excited my palate.

One I’d never encountered before was Grappa.

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Long tall Luigi c/othewhiskeynut

Grappa – by definition – is an Italian based spirit distilled from grapes – the leftovers that is from wine production – or pomace as it’s known – and tends to be made by small producers.

The only grappa I could easily find in Ireland was by Luigi Francoli in my local O’Brien’s store.

Presented in an attractive bottle at 41.5%,  it stated the grape varietals used – Muscato e Brachetto – as well as ‘Barrique’ aged – in contrast to the usual unaged Grappa’s.

Oh – the distillery was founded in 1875.

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Italian Grappa c/othewhiskeynut

The grape influence was evident – but not in a sweet way – which usually puts me off – more of a nutty, earthy kind of experience.

A lovely soft mouthfeel grew in depth adding fruitiness & more of that nuttiness too – before finishing with a gentle spiciness to add character.

I’d happily enjoy one or two of these after a meal – which is the custom – and possibly explore other offerings as well.

If anything the WSET Spirits course has expanded both my knowledge of the spirits world & introduced my palate to a greater repertoire of tasting experiences.

Isn’t it about time you did the course?

Sláinte

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