Tag Archives: Waterford

Johnnie Fox’s & Henry Downes & Co No 9 Irish Whiskey, Blends, 40%

Johnnie Fox’s is a well known pub which does a roaring tourist attraction trade in the mountains just outside of Dublin.

They released a whiskey a few years ago & this is my 1st time to try it.

I’d never heard of Henry Downes before – so had to look them up. Turns out they are also a bar – situated in Waterford City – but originally started out as spirits merchants.

Nice to see some traditions last with this release!

Obviously these are both sourced whiskeys from unnamed Irish distilleries – so what did I find?

Image courtesy apoma.dk

Johnnie Fox’s, Blend, 40%

Pale straw in colour, a fruity little number with hints of darker depth, clean fresh grain palate develops some pleasing spiciness towards the rear finishing with a little spirity kick.

An attractive blend to entice you into the Johnnie Fox’s establishment!

Image courtesy Whiskey.Auction

Henry Downes No 9, Blend, 40%

Whatever happened to the other 8?

A slightly darker shade of pale straw, soft malty nose with hints of wet leather, sweet biscuity palate finishing with a dry peppery spice & slight frisson of excitement.

Grand.

Thoughts

For me Johnnie Fox’s came over as a fresher & livelier style of whiskey which instantly appealed to me.

Can’t help thinking Henry Downes was beginning to suffer from being too long in the bottle & might have been more enjoyable when originally released.

Happy however to have tasted a couple of early pioneers who paved the way for the positive explosion of Irish Whiskey brands entering the market today.

Sláinte

Johnnie Fox’s website here.

Henry Downes bar information courtesy Publication website here.

Samples purchased from Drams Delivered here.

Waterford, Ballykilcavan 1.2, 50%, Single Malt

The thing about terroir is you have to try at least 2 bottles made the same way with the only variable being where the barley was grown.

This posed a little problem.

Feeling like an eegit for forking out 70 yo-yos for a bottle of young malt – gotta admire the marketing capabilities of Waterford Distillery – I’d no intentions of buying another.

Ballykilcavan 1.2 c/othewhiskeynut

Step forward a fellow whiskey fan who had the alternative offering!

An exchange was duly arranged – as an aside, if you want to swap samples from my 60+ list of opened bottles, drop me a message.

Then I learned of another problem.

Bannow Island & Ballykilcavan are aged in different cask!

I checked the codes!

Up Laois! c/othewhiskeynut

Both had ex-bourbon & French casks – but only Bannow had virgin oak – which may account for the extreme dryness I experienced.

Kind of negates the whole terroir experiment – which is a big part of the sell!

Ah well – I got my chance to sample Ballykilcavan.

Is it any different?

In a word – yes!

The absence of virgin oak allows more of those rich & juicy notes from the French oak & ex-bourbon casks to come through.

It’s a more balanced & accessible malt with some of that aggressive youth tempered.

I’d still say it’s a work in progress however.

At the moment, Ballykilcavan would be my favourite, but how they develop in the next few years could all change with those cask influences working off that youthful exuberance & raw edges.

As for the terroir?

That will have to wait for another day.

Sláinte

Another New Irish Distillery

I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of Irish Whiskey – but every now and then a curve ball hits me just to let me know that in fact – I know nothing!

Islay Ship Wreck c/o IslayShipWrecks
Islay Ship Wreck c/o IslayShipWrecks

Islay is revered by whisky drinkers around the world as the holy grail of good quality whisky – generally of the peated kind that I find hard to get a handle on.

Laphroig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore, – do you want more?

Port Charlotte, Kilchoman, Bruichladdich, Gartbreck, Bunnahabhain, Port Ellen, if your taste buds haven’t exploded with the mere thought of tasting only a few of these esteemed distilleries expressions – then you’re on the wrong blog.

But what has all this got to do with Ireland?

Apart from the fact that Islay is visible from the Antrim coast – and depending on which way the wind blows – pleasant smells may also be experienced.

Connemara Peated Whiskey c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop
Connemara Peated Whiskey c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop

And in Connemara, Ireland has it’s own award winning peated whiskey to challenge those of Islay.

Nothing really.

That was until now.

Mark Reynier c/o The Spirit Business
Mark Reynier c/o The Spirit Business

Would it excite you if I said the former CEO of Bruichladdich was opening a distillery in Waterford?

After Mark Reynier’s successful turn around in the fortunes of that Islay distillery – the sale of Bruichladdich to Remy Cointreau – and the continued rise of whisky sales – is it any wonder he was on the lookout for a new venture?

Former Guinness Brewery Waterford c/o RTE
Former Guinness Brewery Waterford c/o RTE

Following on from the Scottish acquisition of Tullamore DEWWaterford now seems to be the happy recipient of the rise in Scottish whisky popularity.

I can’t wait to taste the results!

Slainte

Whiskey Nut