The popularity of the Peaky Blinders show continues to enthrall viewers with the much anticipated last series – and talk of a film too!
This very well researched & easily readable book traces the origins of the Peaky Blinders – or rather peaky blinders – a generic term attributed to street thugs operating in Birmingham from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
As in a lot of popular culture – the facts paint a different picture to the highly stylised fictional tales of the Shelby family.
Those looking for historical authenticity would do well to read this book – it doesn’t preclude you from enjoying the show – & may even add to the experience.
Another way of heightening the enjoyment might be pouring a glass of Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey!
Halewood International have played a – ahem – blinder in releasing a range of spirits to accompany the success of the show.
So much so they’ve announced the building of a new distillery in Birmingham to satisfy the demand!
The recently released diverse range from Dundalgan Whiskey have benefited from a fresh restyle – especially their standard blend.
Sporting a classic red topped green bottle livery – the labelling proudly displays it’s West Cork Distillers origins & establishes an attractive uniformity to the series.
After being impressed by the IPA cask finished Dundalgan Single Malt – I thought I’d get back to basics with this ex-bourbon matured blend. Well – over 95% of Irish Whiskeys are blends – so says the Irish Whiskey 2010-2020 report.
Golden brown in colour – a soft light honeyed nose greeted me.
Very easy on the palate – gentle vanillas & richer darker caramels gradually made their presence felt.
A frisson of tingly spice on the finish gave a lift to this elegantly simple sipper.
L.Mulligan Whiskey Shop – along with other establishments – offer a variety of virtual whiskey tastings over the internet.
I’d highly recommend them.
The opportunity to try a flight of whiskeys – some possibly beyond your budget – with an introduction by the brand ambassador or owner & interactions from fellow whiskey fans.
What’s not to like?
Well – 2 things.
The vagaries of a courier system overwhelmed with demand due to COVID resulted in some folks not getting their physical tasting packs in time.
Your computer skills – or lack off – or outdated software – may need an update.
Thankfully it all came together on the evening as I sat down to enjoy 6 samples of Gelston’s Whiskey.
Samuel Gelston first began a whisky merchants business back in an 1830’s Belfast. Later joined by HJ Neill, the company successfully bonded, blended & bottled the whisky of the day. The current Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey has been founded by direct family descendents who wish to revitalise the family tradition.
Gelston’s Single PotStill, 40%
Being independent bottlers, Gelston’s source their spirit from a number of sources – in this instance West Cork Distillers (WCD) using a 50/50 malted/unmalted barley mix. Displaying some nutty notes, oily mouthfeel & an enjoyable spice on the finish – this is a very easy going, accessible & engagingly pleasant introduction to the Single Pot Still category.
Gelston’s 5 Year Old, Single Malt, 41.2%
Again WCD supply the base malt – a combination of sherry cask & bourbon cask matured barrels that have been married together to produce this characterful 5yo which exhibits a fine degree of richness & depth for it’s young age. Very satisfying.
Gelston’s 10 Year Old, Single Malt, 40%
A very fruity & fresh exbourbon cask matured malt signified a marked doubling in age – along with a change of supply – a triple distilled Cooley. It was also stressed acquiring these barrels can often happen at very short notice with little prospect of future supply to guarantee a core & consistent product. Makes it all the more enjoyable to taste such an engaging whiskey!
Gelston’s 15 Year Old Single Malt, 43%
The higher up the years we go – the flavours were enhanced – the price escalated & the availability of barrels decreases – Bushmills malt sourced via John Teeling’s Great Northern Distillery (GND). I found a rather quiet nose belied the delights within completed with a gorgeous flourish on the finish. A beauty of a malt.
Gelston’s 26 Year Old, Single Malt, 54.2%
I was enveloped in the warm embrace of a joyously returning old acquaintance on tasting this one! Again – GND sourced Bushmills malt. This is probably my 3rd or 4th encounter with these venerable old barrels. Various independent blenders, bonders & bottlers have a cask or 2. Simply stunning!
Gelston’s Single Pot Still, Pinot Noir Finish, 40%
How do you top a beautiful, rare & superb single malt? How about a soon to be released SPS finished in Pinot Noir casks supplied by the Gelston/Neill family descendents vineyard? Rich dark fruits on the nose, great depth & complexity & a lovely long luscious finish. The Pinot Noir casks had added so much more to the original WCD SPS we started with at the beginning – and rather being an unicorn bottling – this one is set to become part of the core range! Fabulous!
Gelston’s Irish Whiskey
Gelston’s Whiskey are a wonderful example of the fine art of independent bottlers.
Sourcing from all and sundry – blending where needed – finishing in self sourced casks – releasing limited stock that might be deemed too small to market by the big companies.
May the current generation Gelston/Neill family be every bit as successful in the Irish Whiskey scene of today as their relatives were in the past.
A highly enjoyable & enlightening whiskey tasting!
I was immediately taken by this one. The reveal surprised me being peated – as I didn’t detect it on tasting! I did get a very enjoyable & characterful whiskey!
The above two captivated me – I’d happily purchase both – leaving the rest somewhat in the shadows.
3rd place, Sample 4, Bushmills 10 Year Old Single Malt, 40%
‘Clean & fresh ex-bourbon cask, soft & mellow, prickliness on rear, drying, hint of smoke?’
A standard of Irish Whiskey. It just didn’t shine against the new entrants.
4th place, Sample 2, May-Lóag Small Batch, Single Malt, 40%
‘More mellowed, sweet & earthy, flatter on palate, nice spice on long lasting finish.’
Lacked a certain ‘oomph & character’ of it’s peated sister. Pleasant easy sipper.
5th place, Sample 3, West Cork, Virgin Oak Cask, Single Malt, 43%
‘Honeyed hint of smoke?, soft mellow & earthy palate, prickliness on rear.’
The reveal surprised me again. I’d have expected richer vanilla & caramel with some peppery spice from the virgin oak casks. Obviously being ‘finished’ rather than ‘matured’ hadn’t brought out enough flavour for my liking.
So there we go.
A very enjoyable tasting session where 2 of the newest entrants to the Irish Whiskey scene excited me.
“About a week ago I saw a post on Twitter by a whiskey reviewer, @2DramsofWhiskey of Westmeath Whiskey World, in which he showed a picture of some vials of whiskey and informing us that he was going to be doing a blind whiskey tasting. I replied to his tweet asking what was a blind whiskey tasting and how does one go about doing it. Not really expecting an answer, I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got a reply telling me that it could easily be arranged!
This was followed with some private messages in which I then had to admit that I know next to nothing about whiskey (which may surprise some of you, considering I sell whiskey stones but how and ever…)
That didn’t put the reviewer off and before I knew it, here I was with 3 samples of whiskey to try out.
I have to admit, it took me a few days to get around to doing it and a certain amount of mental preparation (don’t know why but I was quite daunted by this task!).
Anyway, today was the day. I got out the samples, I found three glasses, got a spittoon glass at the ready and a bottle of water to clean my palate between tasting.
I got a pen and paper out ready to make some notes and cracked open Sample D. I poured some into a glass and first took note of the aroma, which struck me as quite sweet. I sipped and let it rest in my mouth, closed my eyes and thought for a moment about the flavours. The two flavours that struck me the most was citrus and wood. I then added a wee drop of water to see what flavours this would release and the sweetness became more intense. I found this sweetness too much for my liking to be honest.
I washed my mouth out with some water and proceeded to try out Sample E. Again, the first thing I noted was the aroma. This time I could almost detect the freshness of the sea. (probably not remotely a technical whiskey tasting term but it fits for me). This whiskey had a very pure taste and I found it very pleasant indeed.
On to Sample F I went. As soon as I opened the bottle, I could catch a hint of peatiness. I like peat but not too much of it so I was wary. However, this was not overbearing at all. I tasted. Wow, what an explosion of flavour in my mouth. There was an almost orange tang of it but it was a little sharp for me. Having said that, I think this would be an amazing after-dinner tipple.
I gathered my notes and what you have just read is my semi-coherent interpretation of them.
So, there you go. My first whiskey tasting. I actually really enjoyed it and it was a good challenge to write about it too!”
Many thanks to Irish Whiskey Stone Company for sharing their thoughts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all Irish Pubs are closed for St Patrick’s Day!
That didn’t stop a gathering of Irish Whiskey Fans over on the #SundayNightSup twitter site from gathering online to partake of the world’s first seaweed charred whiskey!
Yes – you heard that right – seaweed!
Irish Atlantic Kombu Kelp is a natural resource harvested, dried & then used to char virgin oak casks at the West Cork Distillers premises. Their triple distilled single malt is then finished in these casks for three months.
The results are simply fantastic!
The nose had an intriguing earthy, almost savoury appeal.
The palate started off soft & malty smooth – very approachable – as those meaty umami flavours grew to coat the mouth in a creamy silkiness.
A drying white peppery spice added a final flourish to this fabulously engaging whiskey.
Congratulations to all the team at both West Cork Distillers and Origin Spirits for putting this highly innovative Irish Whiskey together.