Thursday, June 30, 2022

Annes Grove Gardens Are Now Open

Annes Grove Gardens Are Now Open

Since 2015, the Office of Public Works has carried out extensive works to the house, outbuildings and gardens and re-opened the site to the public in June 2022. There is still much work to be done but, even so, there is quite a lot to enjoy in your walks.
And more facilities will open up in the months and years ahead.

Close to Castletownroche (and Doneraile), Anne’s Grove is an historic estate, the home of the Annesley family from the 1600s until 2015 when it was gifted to the Irish state and entered the care of the OPW.

All pics taken 20.06.2022

The Woodlands Garden holds some of the earliest rhododendrons introduced to Ireland.
A work in progress.

In the walled garden.

Richard Arthur Grove Annesley inherited Anne’s Grove in 1892 and developed the landscape in the Robinsonian style in the early 1900s. 

The oldest part of the gardens is this Walled Garden,
originally laid out in the 18th century

This is a country garden site featuring rough terrain, uneven surfaces, steep drops and open water. Appropriate footwear and clothing  required.

Annes Grove is a 190 acre historic estate with 30 acres of renowned gardens.
The Awbeg river flows through; work on the island has been completed
and that should lead to expanded access shortly. Much of the estate is situated above the river and glen, the landscape reminiscent of poet Edmund Spencer's The Fairie Queen which
was written nearby in Kilcolman Castle (OPW booklet)

The front of the house.

Wildflowers too, of course, like these foxgloves

A tearooms has been mentioned but at the moment
there is a food truck called The Little Farm. Just as well 
as most of the local restaurants were closed on the
Monday we visited. We enjoyed a toasted sandwich (ham and cheese is
the only choice) and that came with an excellent relish and handfuls
of O'Donnell's Potato Crisps. They had a choice of three cakes
plus lots of hot and cold drinks, along with a selection of
Leahy's Farm ice cream. Plus these two cool and refreshing drinks.
No shortage of outdoor seating (unshaded).

The walled garden, not yet fully restored but open, is a highlight especially
this border.

Rear of the house.

Mayo Food and Drink Showcase is a fitting finale

Mayo Food and Drink Showcase is a fitting finale


Beer vobiscum. Killian O'Morain the Mescan Monk!

The hugely successful final event of the Mayo Food and Drink Programme, a Showcase and Meet the Buyer event, exceeded all expectations of both producers and buyers. Both were there to do business and it was clear from the outset that this event was exactly what was needed to make the vital connections between artisan producers and both distributors and retailers as well as agencies offering essential support. Enthusiastic networking was interspersed with relevant and interesting panel discussions and a keynote speech from Blás na hÉireann founder Artie Clifford. The event took place at Breaffy House Hotel on Thursday 23 June 2022 and was attended by 75 producers and buyers.

Artie Clifford Blas na hEireann


Programme Manager Oonagh Monahan acted as MC and first introduced Artie Clifford who had travelled from Dingle for the event. His engaging presentation covered his own chequered history as a small food producer, not hiding the pitfalls nor glossing over the challenges of the business. He wryly recalled falling into the trap of retail buyers early in his business life, embarrassed to admit he didn’t understand the terminology and accidently agreeing to impossible discounts. Perhaps because of this, his main message for fledgling producers is to have belief in themselves and their products. He urged artisans not to be afraid to admit when they don’t know acronyms or how the system works but to be confident enough to speak out. The Blás awards grew from his surprise that there was no formal awards system recognising quality in food and drink. He founded it 14 years ago and it has increased exponentially in both scope and size every year since.


Padraig Gannon Croagh Patrick Seafoods (left), Dean Diplock Exec Chef Breaffy Resort

“This is a fitting finale to a busy year of training and networking”, said Oonagh Monahan, “The Mayo Food and Drink Programme is all about helping producers to do business and it was rewarding to see that in action today. The feedback has been overwhelmingly good”.


Four lively and informative discussion panels consisted of chefs, distributors/wholesalers, retailers and food tourism representatives. The common thread carrying through every discussion was the importance of communicating clearly and regularly. Suppliers must talk to chefs, distributors and retailers keeping them informed of what’s happening and potential issues which arise. In this arena silence is most definitely not golden.


The Mayo Food and Drink Programme is a LEADER funded response to the challenges and opportunities identified in the Mayo Food & Drink Strategy 2025. It puts into action the specific priorities identified by producers and is totally food and drink focused. This was the final networking event but training continues for another month with some online classes and one-to-one specialised training and mentoring all of which is free of charge and available exclusively to Mayo food and drink businesses. Booking for these free courses is through the website or Eventbrite and links on social media (@mayofoodanddrink).

The Mayo Food and Drink Networking and Training Programme is supported by South West Mayo Development Company and Local Enterprise Office Mayo. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Two shining examples of Chenin Blanc, one from Saumur, the other from Swartland

Two shining examples of Chenin Blanc, 

one from Saumur, the other from Swartland

Metallic notes in Saumur


Domaine de Sable Verts Saumur (AC) Blanc 2020, 13%, 

RRP €25.99 The Vintry Redmonds of Ranelagh The 1601 Blackrock Cellar Baggot Street Wines Drink Store

Colour of this Chenin Blanc (from near the Loire city of Saumur) is a mid gold. It is fresh and floral, intensely so, with flavours of grapefruit, apricot and pear and a superb acidity, with a mineral touch. Quite a classic Chenin Blanc, fresh and fruity, it has a long dry finish with citrus notes. Highly Recommended.

Liberty, the importers, tell us that Caroline Meurée & Hervé Malinge are a young winemaking couple who met while studying in Bordeaux. “Despite neither of them being from the Loire Valley, in 2019 they bought Domaine des Sables Verts in the heart of Saumur Champigny and embarked on their first vintage.” 

Just one hectare from their 15 is planted with Chenin Blanc (the rest with Cabernet Franc). Their Chenin grapes for this wine come from three separate parcels. The final blend is assembled and bottled in January. Characterised by layers of fresh citrus notes and ripe apricot, the wine is beautifully textured with a backbone of lively acidity. 

The potential of their forty-year-old vines persuaded Caroline and Hervé to produce a single-vineyard wine. Vinified and aged in new four hectolitre French oak barrels, the wine is kept on fine lees for 12 months to add both richness and texture.

Food and wine pairings from Caroline suggest: “…from land to sea! From a veal blanquette to a grilled sea bass, via an asparagus risotto…”

Hervé has the serving tips: serve at 10-12°C, don’t hesitate to decant it!

Caroline and  Hervé are vignerons at Varrains which is about 30 minutes west of Chinon ( an excellent base for visiting the vineyards and chateau of the Loire Valley). On your way to Varrains, visit the amazing  Fontevraud-l’Abbaye on the way. 

Quite a lot of Chenin Blanc is grown in Northern France (from Vouvray to Saumur) but South Africa (in Stellenbosch and Paarl) grows more than any other country with the French second and the USA third.


Spice Route Chenin Blanc Swartland (South Africa) 2020, 14.0%, 

RRP €26.99 Fresh – Stepaside Fresh – IFSC/Smithfield/Grand Canal Hen And Hog

This South African Chenin Blanc has a light gold colour. Aromas are mostly fruit, peach and tropical. On the palate, it is quite complex, quite concentrated, the fruit flavours well balanced by a very lively acidity.  Highly Recommended.

Quite an outstanding balance actually and deliberately induced. The Chenin Blanc for this wine was picked at different maturity levels. The first picking was done slightly earlier to retain freshness and acidity, the second lot was picked in mid-February, with some slightly raisined grapes in the bunches bringing more richness to the blend. The lots were vinified separately. 

Don’t want to get to technical here but worth continuing I think as we can learn how the techniques employed shaped the final product. Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were gently destemmed and pressed. After 48 hours settling, the portion that was picked earlier was fermented in stainless-steel tanks to preserve freshness and elegance before then being matured in matured in clay pots known as Qvevries (also amphora) for eight weeks. The late-picked portion was fermented and matured in old French oak barrels for 10 months, before the two components were blended and bottled.

The Swartland is 65kms north of Cape Town. The climate is hot and dry. Viticulture here it is not straightforward, according to Fairview and Spice Route owner Charles Back. “You have to be very careful to select good moisture retaining soil in the first place, soil that can trap the moisture and slowly release it later when needed.”

Winemaker Charl du Plessis told us about another “surprise” development here, their importation of 20 qvevris from Georgia. A qvevri is huge earthenware amphora (800 to 1200 lts) sunk into the ground and used for wine fermentation and storage. The hand-made terracotta pots have been fired and coated inside with beeswax. He did a vintage in Georgia in 2018.


Chenin Blanc is South Africa's most widely planted grape - and the resulting wine is in demand around the world. Last year, South Africa exported 53 million litres of white wine, mainly to Germany, the United Kingdom, and America.  

With Chenin Blanc, Fresh wines are mostly made in stainless steel tanks which accentuates fruit flavours and acidity. And then you have the more complex Fruity Styles along with Rich Styles (more dominant presence of oak).

This leads to such a diversity of wines that shoppers can be confused especially when purchasing bottles from supermarket shelves. 

The local Chenin Blanc Association in association with Stellenbosch's South African Grape and Wine Research Institute have come up with a style indicator (similar to wine wheels) to help. More on this Business Insider story here.


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #111 with Cotton Ball, Lough Gill and Athletic Brewing

 A Quart of Ale± #111

On the craft journey with Cotton Ball, Lough Gill and Athletic Brewing

Cotton Ball Lynch’s Stout 4.3%, 500ml bottle O’Donovan’s

The Lynch’s Stout from the Cotton Ball brewery is an excellent one, flavour, smoothness and a long dry finish the striking characteristics. 

You get the hints of your old toffee bar in the aromas, coffee there also, and on the palate; the flavours last, still a pleasure well after the swallow. The beer is available on draught at the bar and also in bottle.

Lynch's at The Cotton
Humphrey Lynch, an American Civil War veteran and a cotton mill foreman, returned to his native Cork in 1874 to set up his own public house which he called the Cotton Ball. It is still here today and the current generation are brewing a selection of craft beers named after their great great grandfather who left the West Cork countryside as a teenager. The brewery, under the Mayfield pub, was founded in 2013.

A day or two after finishing the bottles in bought in O'Donovan's, I headed up to the nearby Cotton Ball for a quart± from the tap. Excellent stout and excellent company.

Hand crafted from five malts and traditional flaked barley, moderately bittered and late hopped with US and New Zealand hops, they say: “This stout is as dark as our great grandfather Humphrey’s black humour and has a warm and mature flavour. With a phenomenal marriage of coffee roast, caramel lush, balanced by a clean bitterness exploding into a tangerine, mandarin aromatic delivery.`’

They reckon it’s a great accompaniment for hearty meat dishes, stews and steaks. But, with a shameless piece of name dropping, they say that the ultimate food pairing is "our Famous Cousins’ Clonakilty Black pudding"!


Lough Gill Mo Chara Hazy Seisiún IPA 4.8%, 440 ml can 


This hazy IPA is a collaboration between Lough Gill and their friends at Mo Chara. 

It is pale in colour, almost lemon, hazy for sure with a white head that soon sinks down to leave a circular trace. Citra and Mosaic are the hops so I’m expecting Citrus and Mango and that’s what I get both in the aromas and, after a little shyness, on the palate. It’s not a big tiger of a beer, more like a pussycat, gentle and compatible over a session I’d say.

Lough Gill indicate that the Norwegian Yeast called Kveik has been used here and that does help bring out fruiter notes and that is the case here with exotic notes including Mango, Pineapple, Papaya, Tangerine and Passion Fruit. Quite a pleasant posse of flavours indeed.

Dundalk based Mo Chara are craft beer supporters, big time. “With 24 taps of craft beer, wines & cocktails, we have one of the biggest selections in Ireland on tap. Ten of our taps are rotational which means we change to a new beer after every keg so you can try something new every time you call in for just the one.” 

Dundalk’s First Craft Beer Taphouse are not just about the drink. Here you may also get coffee, sambas and pizzas, And lots of craic by the look of it!

Athletic Brewing Run Wild Alcohol Free IPA <0.5%, 355ml can Bradleys

The American producers of this beer tell us Run Wild is the ultimate sessionable IPA for craft beer lovers. “Brewed with a blend of five Northwest hops, it has an approachable bitterness to balance the specialty malt body. Always refreshing and only 70 calories.”

Nice slightly hazy golden colour on this IPA with a decent white head that’s not for hanging around. Aromas, citrus and hoppy, are modest. And it looked as if the palate would continue that trend. But I gave it a good swirl around and that approachable (modest) bitterness made its appearance. Refreshing enough but not deeply so.

Still I’d be happy enough to agree with their assertion that "This isn’t your traditional watery, tasteless alcohol-free beer.” It is certainly more than that and better than many on the market. It could certainly do the job for a night if you are driving. And I’d also see it useful to alternate it with an alcoholic beer over a session where you want to exercise restraint. No major sacrifice! And I could say much the same about the Golden Ale, though with less enthusiasm.

When I picked it up first, I thought it was Irish but Athletic Beer are US producers with an office address in Dublin. And the US connection is written on the can which comes in a slightly different size to the usual European one. By the way, why do most non alcoholic beers, with the exception of the German ones (probably the best of the style), come in smaller sizes?

They say: Whether you’re looking to cut out alcohol for life or just for a night, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your ability to be healthy, active and at your best, to enjoy great beer.

Run Wild is the ultimate sessionable IPA for craft beer lovers. Brewed with a blend of five Northwest hops, it has an approachable bitterness to balance the specialty malt body. Always refreshing and only 70 calories.

Geek Bits

INGREDIENTS: Water, Organic Vienna Malt, Malted Barley, Oats, Hops, Wheat, Yeast.

Pair with: Burgers, Pizza, Tacos

Hops: a blend of five Northwest hops

Calories: 70.

Atlantic Brewing Upside Dawn Alcohol Free Golden <0.5%, 355ml can Bradleys

Made in a “classic craft Golden Ale style", this is the other Athletic Brewing alcohol free beer that I recently picked up in Bradleys.  Again it is a pale orange colour with haze and a white head that doesn’t hang about. Aromas are more floral than fruity (citrus). On the palate it is not that dissimilar to the IPA but is that bit milder, easier-drinking.

They say: Classic craft Golden Ale Style. Refreshing, clean, balanced, light-bodied. Aromas subtle with floral and earthy notes. Brewed with premium Vienna Malt along with combo of English and traditional American hops. Crafted to remove gluten*.

While Upside Dawn is crafted to remove gluten, it may still contain gluten. Here’s why: “This product is fermented from grains containing gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.”

Ingredients: Water, Organic Vienna Malt, Malted Barley, Oats, Hops, Wheat, Yeast.

Vegan - yes


Style: Golden Ale

Monday, June 27, 2022

Beer of the Year. The June Long List. Plus monthly favourites to date

 Best of June (long list)

What would you pick from this list?

Larkins with Dot Brew American Breakfast Stout

Wicklow Wolf Mescan Wit or Without You Belgian Wit 

Kinnegar Brewers at Play 23 Mango Gose 

Third Barrel Some Dance To Remember Extra Pale Ale 

Whitefield “Bradley’s Row” Dortmunder Style German Lager 

Whiplash “Prisoner of Love” Cascade Pale 

Porterhouse Rambler Juicy Pale Ale

O Brother Singularity IPA 

Whitefield “Eastwood” Irish Pale Ale 

Rascals Hazy In Love IPA 

Porterhouse XXXX Full-On Stout  

Lough Gill I’ll Be Late Oat Cream IPA 

West Coast IPA: Lineman Green Light;

Brú Howling at the Sun. 

Blond Ale: Lineman Stopover 

IPA: Dot Brew General Population 

Stout: Cotton Ball Lynch’s Stout 4.3%

Session: Lough Gill Mo Chara Hazy Seisiún IPA 4.8%

Non Alcoholic: Athletic Brewing Run Wild Alcohol Free IPA and 

Atlantic Brewing Upside Dawn Alcohol Free Golden

(list is in no particular order)

Monthly Favourites to date

May: Wicklow Wolf Locavore Spring 2022 Barrel Aged Farmhouse Ale

April: Whiplash True Love Waits Dry Hopped Pils

March: Lineman Schadenfreude Schwarzbier

February: Wicklow Wolf  “Apex Cherry” Black Cherry Oatmeal Stout.

January: Whiplash Dry the Rain Double Decoction Dunkel

December: Lough Gill Mac Nutty Macadamia Nut

Spirit Safe: Clonakilty Distillery announce sustainability commitments

press release
June's Spirit Safe: Clonakilty; Rebel, Jameson 18, Kinsale, Gold Spot Irish Whiskey, istil 38. Redbreast Dream Cask.

Clonakilty Distillery has announced

 future sustainability commitments

The distillery has outlined a number of pledges in an attempt to increase awareness of sustainability and will focus on reducing overall energy usage with the aim of eliminating the use of single-use plastic from their whiskey packaging by the end of the year.


The purpose behind these commitments is to increase biodiversity in Clonakilty by working with the local community to provide food and habitat for native birds, bees, and insects. The Distillery has outlined a number of commitments, including planting over 100 mature trees and 400 natural hedgerows and shrubs by 2023, as well as establishing a permanent wildflower meadow.


Michael Scully, Managing Director at Clonakilty Distillery said, “We take our environmental responsibilities seriously, prioritising sustainable actions where possible”.


He added that “We work closely with our colleagues and the local community in Clonakilty while constantly seeking improvements to implement best practice so that we at Clonakilty Distillery can make our own difference in helping to shape a better world”.


The distillery has already made a direct and significant impact on the economic and social well-being of the community by taking over a former bank building in a prime waterfront location in Clonakilty town.


Other sustainability commitments are as follows:

  • By the end of 2022 the distillery will reduce average glass weight by 15%.
  • By 2025, a minimum of 40% recycled glass will be included in the standard bottles, with the intention of increasing this even further as technology allows.
  • By 2025, 100% of packaging materials will be reusable, recyclable and/or compostable.
  • The Distillery has promised to continue assisting local charities and groups on a yearly basis, as well as creating and cultivating relationships with local sustainability community groups.  By 2023, 100 percent of production will take place in the local area and community. This will involve processes such as blending, bottling, and packaging.


News from Cork's Rebel City Distillery...

We are open for tours!

We are delighted to finally be able to say we are opening for tours on 1 July.

We are the first distillery to open in Cork city for 50 years. Come take a tour. Beginning with a signature Maharani gin & tonic at the Custom Oak Bar before entering the distillery and learning about the fine balance between alchemy and artistry underpinning each spirit crafted here.

Book now to avoid disappointment!

Book Now

Jameson, the world’s favourite and most awarded Irish whiskey, has unveiled a new liquid and packaging evolution for its iconic Jameson 18 Years.

Jameson 18 Years’ exceptionally balanced blend of distillates, matured in hand selected American and European oak barrels for a minimum of 18 years, is one of Jameson’s most awarded whiskeys. The much loved whiskey has undergone an important evolution including a sustainable packaging revamp and a higher ABV liquid.

Putting sustainability at the forefront, Jameson 18 Years will now be presented in new, lightweight packaging with the original box redesigned as fully recyclable cardboard complete with foiled accents.

The packaging redesign aligns to Irish Distillers’ and Pernod Ricard’s broader sustainability commitments by focusing on minimising waste at every step by fostering and applying a circular mindset across the business.  

Alongside the new and lighter weight packaging update, Master Distiller, Kevin O’Gorman and his team have introduced a significant change to the celebrated Jameson 18 Years whiskey.

Kevin O’Gorman explains: “Made from a selection of some of our oldest and most precious distillates, which are then married and finished in first fill American bourbon barrels for a minimum of 6 months, Jameson 18 Years is already an exceptional whiskey in terms of quality.
“And to truly allow the complexity of this whiskey to shine, we have increased the ABV from 40% to 46% and removed the need for chill filtration. This modification helps to concentrate the signature flavours found in Jameson 18 Years balancing Jameson’s characteristic smoothness with the depth of the whiskey in its natural state.”
In addition, the new packaging will feature a scannable QR code which will direct Jameson fans to a virtual guided tasting hosted by the Master Distiller, Kevin O’Gorman.  
Brendan Buckley, Global Marketing Director at Irish Distillers commented: “At Irish Distillers we are committed to reducing our environmental impact. We understand that our packaging plays an important role in the protection and in the delivery of the overall experience of our whiskey, but it is also one of the most carbon-intensive activities in the value chain when you take into consideration the manufacturing process, transportation, and its lifecycle.

“Over the past number of years, we as a business have been successful in devising and implementing new ways of reducing the environmental impact of our packaging through redesign and experimentation with new materials all of which is reflected in the updated Jameson 18 Years packaging. We will continue to innovate to minimize our environmental impact and preserve our natural resources by reusing, reimagining, recycling and reducing, adopting a truly circular mindset.”

The new look Jameson 18 Years will be rolled out globally in high-end, specialist off-trade and leading on-trade outlets over the coming months for an RRP of €200 (70cl).






Having only entered the Asian market one year ago, Kinsale Spirit Company in Cork has completely surpassed expectations at The DB Asia Summer Tasting awards by taking three medals. Founders Ernest Cantillon, Colin Ross, and Tom O’Riordan, are thrilled to see Spanish Earl Irish WhiskeyRed Earl Irish Whiskey, and Kinsale Gin, take the top spots in their categories at the competition.


Last summer, the Drinks Business Asia launched its Summer Tasting competition to find the best drinks brands on the world stage. Chaired by The Drinks Business Asia’s Managing Editor Alice Liang, and assessed by a panel of leading industry experts, including Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, senior buyers and leading mixologists, the judges blind-tasted the best of wine and spirits, and awarded Silver to Red Earl Irish Whiskey, Gold to Kinsale Gin, and, for the most outstanding expressions, the coveted Master medal to Spanish Earl Irish Whiskey.




Spanish Earl Single Malt Irish Whiskey starts its ageing in ex-Bourbon casks for nearly 4 years and then is split into two finishing casks, ex Imperial stout and ex aged golden Jamaican rum. The two triple-distilled malt Irish whiskeys are then recombined after at least 3 months apart, and bottled. The stout element is inspired by Spanish General, Juan del Aguila’s, time spent in Cork, renowned the world over for stout production for hundreds of years, while rum, being the preferred drink of seafarers of old, lends sweet toffee to the dark chocolate of the stout.


Red Earl Blended Irish Whiskey is a combination of ex-bourbon-barrelled grain Irish whiskey and ex-sherry triple distilled malt, matured for 45 months and then merged to spend a further minimum period of 4 months in ex-Rioja casks. The company chose Rioja for its spicy fruits, and as a mark of respect to the resting place of the eponymous Red Earl, Hugh O’Donnell, near to the Rioja region of Spain.


Kinsale Gin, the original product in the Kinsale Spirit Co. range, is a multi-award winning gin distilled using botanicals hand-picked around Kinsale. Notes of meadowsweet, elderflower & elderberry combine with aromas of lemon verbena and lemon grass to dance with spicy juniper.


Speaking of the win at the DB Awards, co-founder Ernest Cantillon says:


Spanish Earl, the Master Medal winner, will be released in China this Summer, along with Great Earl.  Our Red Earl has been in China for the past two years and sells very well both online and in shops and bars. Cork is twinned with Shanghai and we have spent the past 4 years building up relationships in China. The Chinese market is a challenging one but with big potential rewards, so we always felt it was worth the work. While our other whiskeys have done very well in similar competitions all over the world, this is our first time winning the very top prize in such a big competition. It is the perfect launchpad for our latest whiskey expression to be released into the Chinese market on top of building on the reputation of Red Earl amongst our existing customers there.”


​​Kinsale Spirit Co will have space to hang their medals soon with their new distillery build beginning in Kinsale this year.



The Spot family shines brighter than ever with a limited-edition whiskey honouring the colourful 135-year legacy of wine & spirits merchants, Mitchell & Son

Irish Distillers, makers of some of the world’s most enjoyed whiskeys, together with the Mitchell family are marking 135 years of whiskey bonding among the Mitchell family, one of Ireland’s last remaining wine merchants, by crafting a celebratory vibrant Spot release, Gold Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.  

This limited-edition expression pays tribute to the colourful history of the Mitchell’s whiskey bonding business which commenced in 1887 when the bonders sent empty wine and fortified wine casks to the local Jameson Distillery, in Bow Street, to be filled with new single pot still spirit for maturation in its underground cellars. Once filled, the fortified wine casks would be marked with a daub or ‘spot’ of coloured paint, to determine the age potential with Blue Spot, Green Spot, Yellow Spot and Red Spot, respectively indicating the 7, 10, 12 and 15 years of the celebrated expression within the Spot range.

The colour gold symbolises quality, prestige, specialness and celebration and so the Mitchells chose this colour to signify their enduring relationship with whiskey bonding over seven generations and 135 years.  This special release commemorates the past and nods to the future of whiskey innovation by embodying the unmistakable qualities of single pot still Irish whiskey.

Matured for a minimum of nine years, the expression builds on the foundation of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, typical of the Spot whiskey style, and is married together with a unique proportion of hand selected Bordeaux wine casks and port pipes. The inclusion of port casks – sourced from Irish Distillers’ long-established partners in Portugal’s Douro Valley– is a first for a modern iteration of Spot whiskey.

Working in collaboration with the Mitchells, the team at Midleton Distillery was inspired by archive documents dating back to the late 1800s showing significant quantities of port casks imported into Ireland which, once emptied, would have been used to mature whiskey. The combination of the four different cask types imparts exceptional flavours of vibrant fruits enhanced by delicate oak tannins and wood spices, with the port wine-driven cask inclusion adding an additional layer of complexity and character, alongside a taste of history.

Katherine Condon, Distiller at Irish Distillers, comments: “It has been a privilege and a joy to work with the renowned Mitchell family as they took us on a journey through the rich history of their business, handed down through seven generations.

“Gold Spot truly is a liquid time capsule with the wine-driven casks treading a beautiful balance of tradition and innovation and marking their 135-year history of whiskey bonding in Ireland. We
cherish these opportunities to collaborate with the Mitchell family and look forward to welcoming even more whiskey fans to taste a piece of whiskey history within the Spot family.”

Jonathan Mitchell, Managing Director at Mitchell & Son, adds: “As the oldest family run wine and spirits merchants in Ireland, we’re delighted to continue the legacy of the Spot family, and our family’s historic role in Dublin’s whiskey bonding era.
“It has been fascinating to once again collaborate with Katherine Condon and the talented team at Midleton to celebrate the colourful story of our family business, utilising casks that would have been originally introduced to Irish whiskey in the late 1800s. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this wonderful family of whiskeys.”
Unveiled at Whiskey Live Dublin, the non-chill filtered release is bottled at 51.4% ABV or 102.8 Proof – a reference to historical methods of measuring alcohol content as noted in the Mitchell’s archive. The whiskey will be available online from from 12pm Irish Time and at Whiskey Live Dublin on the 10th of June and from all good retailers from Monday the 13th of June at the RRP of €120.  It will be available to buy in Ireland, France, the UK and Global Travel Retail, and the USA from mid-July.

Check out the video here.


istil 38 Pot Still Irish Vodka


 Pouring at Taste of Dublin 2022


The recently launched istil 38 Premium Irish Vodka has been gathering great momentum. With three expressions in its range, the best cocktail bars, gastro pubs and independent off licences around the entire country have all been huge supporters of this independently owned brand. It would only be fitting that it should feature at one of Ireland's premier food & drink festivals, Taste of Dublin.


For this year's annual event in Iveagh Gardens, istil 38 will be the pouring vodka at the main bar. This will give the thousands of customers attending over the three days from June 16th-19th, a fantastic opportunity to enjoy Ireland's most exciting vodka. The brand's creative director Pippa Ormond O'Connor (above) adds,

"I've always loved attending Taste of Dublin. It's such a well run and exciting gathering of the finest chefs and food & drink producers. We're extremely honoured to be placed amongst such incredible national talents. Our team has worked really hard to pull together a fantastic menu that is perfect for sultry summer evenings at such a delicious and fun-filled festival."



At the main festival bar, attendants will be able to enjoy:

- istil Vodka Soda & Lime

- Vanilla Mule

- istil Pink Berry & Citrus Tonic


About istil 38 Premium Irish Vodka

istil 38 was founded and is operated by Sugarloaf Beverages. The brand's management team is composed of lifelong drinks industry veterans, Shane Davey who works as managing director and co-directors Niall O'Dwyer and John Reynolds. They are also joined by business woman and lifestyle guru Pippa O'Connor Ormond. She has invested in the brand and taken on the role of creative director.

Produced in a traditional copper pot still, but made to be enjoyed with thoroughly modern serves, istil 38 Irish Vodka has three expressions in its range. A classic vodka and two flavours, Pink Berries and Vanilla. Each one is specifically designed to be mixed into long drinks and into some of the world's most loved cocktails.  

It is slow distilled four times thus leaving the vodka so pure that it needs no further filtration, leaving istil 38 with a highly finessed quality of liquid. This distillation process also gives the vodka a softer, velvety mouthfeel.

The classic istil 38 Pot Still Irish Vodka is smooth and rich enough to enjoy neat but also works wonderfully mixed with soda and fresh lime.

istil 38 Pink Berries is flavoured with Irish berries to give it a fruity sweetness that pairs wonderfully with citrus tonic waters.

istil 38 Vanilla is crafted with Madagascan Vanilla and its recipe was specifically formulated to be the ideal vodka for two of the world's most popular cocktails - the Espresso Martini and the Pornstar Martini.


Another key element behind istil 38, is their environmental and sustainability policy. They are proud to be officially partnered with Hometree with whom they are working to establish and conserve permanent and native woodland in Ireland. 5c from every bottle will be donated to Hometree. And istil 38's actual bottle was chosen due to its shape and weight, which meant less CO2 emissions when transporting. As a brand, they have committed to being a carbon neutral company from the very start of their journey.



Irish customers given rare chance to win a bottle of latest Redbreast Dream Cask release by finding a golden cork in a bottle of Redbreast 12 Year Old

Redbreast Irish Whiskey, produced by Irish Distillers at its world-renowned Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork, is offering whiskey lovers the chance to win a bottle of its eagerly anticipated fifth annual Dream Cask release – Redbreast Dream Cask Double Cask Edition, simply by finding one of three golden corks hidden among bottles of its award-winning Redbreast 12 Year Old.

Available exclusively to Irish customers through O’Briens Off Licences, Celtic Whiskey Shop and Brown Thomas Grafton Street, Dublin from Wednesday, 1st June, the competition represents a rare opportunity to secure one of the most sought-after limited edition expressions in the annual Irish whiskey calendar. Now in its fifth year, the annual Redbreast Dream Cask release features a small selection of the very finest whiskeys in Midleton’s exceptional inventory which are finished in ‘dream’ casks to create a sublime expression.  This year’s truly unique release, Redbreast Dream Cask Double Cask Edition, marries two dream casks for the first time, hand selected by Master Blender, Billy Leighton and Blender, Dave McCabe.  The 30 year old single pot still Irish whiskey captures the quintessential Redbreast style while celebrating innovation and craftsmanship.

“Bottling these outstanding casks together at precisely the right moment has resulted in an incredibly complex Irish whiskey that harmoniously balances the vanilla sweetness and caramel creaminess from the bourbon barrel and the deep, dark fruitiness from the sherry butt,” explains Leighton.

“With an ABV of 56.9%, the resulting liquid is rich in robust spice with wood-driven characteristics and notes of dark-roasted coffee, sweet liquorice, orange peel and smoked almonds amplified by the wine cask’s influence.”

Jessica Norris, Marketing Director Ireland at Irish Distillers, comments: “Our new ‘golden cork’ campaign offers three lucky winners the chance to win a bottle of the latest Redbreast Dream Cask release. We’re delighted to partner with O’Briens Off Licences, Celtic Whiskey Shop and Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin on this exclusive opportunity giving our loyal customers a chance to find a golden cork in each of these retailers. With the Dream Cask ballot now closed this is an incredible opportunity to win one of the last few remaining bottles of this special limited edition release. However, those who are not lucky enough to find one of the hidden golden corks can take consolation in enjoying the multi award winning single pot still Irish whiskey, Redbreast 12 Year Old.”