Showing posts with label Hyde Whiskey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hyde Whiskey. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hyde No. 1 President's Whiskey. Reaches Maturity In The Mild West

Hyde No. 1 President's Whiskey
Reaches Maturity In The Mild West

“Casks have to be treated with care, almost like plants,” said Conor Hyde MD of Skibbereen based Hyde Whiskey.

The Hydes (Conor, his brother Alan and nephew Peter) have been getting used to handling used Oloroso casks over the past few years. “There is still some sherry inside when we get them. And then we have to water the empty casks every few days, so that they won't dry out and fall apart. You don't want that happening as they are expensive.”

And he told me that the casks can be dangerous too. You need to be careful extracting the bung, especially on hot days as it could shoot out and do damage! 

Their first whiskey, the double distilled President’s No. 1 Cask Single Malt, is based on a ten year old Cooney whiskey (aged in Bourbon casks), and is aged further by Hyde. “The ten year old is a very good base and our intervention improves it and gives it an extra twist”.
The Hydes had no previous whiskey experience when they formed the company three years back. Following a pattern of other start-up whiskey producers, they are buying in in the early days with the aim of establishing their own distillery in the near future.

In the meantime, they are concentrating on building a brand and reputation through adding their own touch. Plans at present include a Rum cask finished whiskey in September, a gin in January and a six year old Single Grain Whiskey is planned for 2016.

They have got off to a terrific start with the President’s, finished in the Oloroso casks in their facility in Skibbereen and distributed by Classic Drinks. “There has been a big thumbs-up from those who have tasted it over the last two months or so. We try to be innovative and we do not use chill filtering.”

He explained that chill filtering can degrade the whiskey. The barley has oils and these oils tend to be lost, to be taken out, by chill filtering. But that is not the case with Hyde and it is appreciated by the connoisseurs. ”You are tasting the true whiskey.”

The President's Men (l to r): Alan, Peter, Conor
Whiskey from the cask can be very strong in alcohol and to get it down to acceptable levels (46% in the case of the President’s) water is added. This is known as “cutting” and Hyde’s cut with West Cork spring water, “no messing, no additives”.

He is delighted with the way sales are going at the moment. “The Germans love it for a combination of factors, including the non-use of chill filtering. They are our best market.” The number of countries taking it is rapidly rising towards the twenty mark and includes New Zealand, USA, UK, Australia and Belgium.

It is available in quite a few places locally, including The Oliver Plunkett, Soho Bar and Bradley’s Off Licence. And Cork Airport spontaneously quadrupled the size of their initial order when placing the second. Quite a vote of confidence for the President’s.

So what is all the excitement about? Take a look at it in the glass and you’ll see some additional colour, from its extra time in the sherry casks. The aromas are complex, vanilla, some fruit, spice too. As you'd expect, after all the ageing, it is smooth and well rounded on the palate, creamy almost, the long finish rich and spicy. Overall, it compares very well indeed with other Premium Irish whiskeys. One of this limited edition of 5,000 bottles would sit very well in any Presidential drinks cabinet.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cork Summer Show No 209! Numbers Rise Again, Up To 60,000!

Cork Summer Show No 209!

Numbers Rise Again, up to 60,000!
If you’re going to bring tens of thousands of visitors to your show in the fields, then you'd better arrange food for them. The 209th annual Cork Summer Show certainly attracted the visitors in large numbers and, yes indeed, there was no shortage of food, ready to eat on the spot. Lots of tables and benches as well.

All kinds of food were being served up, anything from Asian to Italian to good old Irish and, in between I spotted an Argentinian grill! When I began to get a little hungry I was quite close to O’Crualaoi’s and they had quite a choice and, as is the case in their cafes, the items were well priced. We got two burgers (one steak, one chicken, and a drink) for a tenner all in. Quite a substantial lunch.

Cathal at De Roiste

While there were many selling food to eat, I was disappointed that there were so few producers at the show. I was really expecting to see more. Wasn't expecting though to see Mag Kirwan from Kilkenny but it was a pleasure to again meet the woman (there is also a man!) behind the innovative Goatsbridge Trout Farm. By the way, you can get her gorgeous fresh trout at the fish counter in Dunne’s Stores. Just look out for the Irish farmed trout sign as it is not packaged!

I had been in early enough and that allowed me the chance to have a chat with some of the stallholders before things got hectic. Cathal was fine-tuning the De Roiste displays and had all their black and white puddings and sausages lined up. Excellent products and you could hear the pride sizzling as he spoke. He also introduced me to their Breakfast Time pack, which includes rashers, sausage meat, black and white pudding, egg and mushroom. Easy for the lazy!

Mobile banking!

Also spent a bit of time in the Craft Drinks Tent, especially with Barry Fitzgerald, Brand Manager of the new St Patrick’s Distillery who are based in the old mills at Douglas. They are different to other distillers in that their spirits are potato based. There are easier ways of producing alcohol but the Douglas team believe that it is well worthwhile as their spirits are naturally smooth with the added bonus of a grain free process given a naturally gluten free result.

Certainly that smoothness, some little sweetness too, is evident in their Potato Gin, a classic juniper gin. They won't divulge the full details but most of the regular botanicals are in use here and the potato makes it that bit different from all the others! Worth a try. Widely available around Cork, not so widely (yet) in other counties. See the stockists here.

The drinks tent was fairly well populated with producers. There was beer from the Cotton Ball, Franciscan Well and Blacks of Kinsale, cider by Stonewell and Hyde’s whiskey (which I have yet to try!). But generally, there was a lack of producers overall and I’d personally like to see many more of them for the 210th anniversary next year. Don't know exactly what the problem is. But hard to ignore sixty thousand punters in over the two days.

I hadn't been to the Summer show for a few years and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great space there for the stands and the parking and everything seemed to be very well run indeed.
Walk this way

It is a terrific place to bring the kids. They had their own “zone”, which includes a small animal pet farm, Bouncy castles and a fairground with some super high flying machines. For something more gentle, there was the option of taking a trip around the Show on board the magical mystery train (Noddy Train).

A family event!
 No shortage of musical entertainment either with a marching band liable to turn up anywhere. The main focus though was the big stage in the Entertainment Zone which saw everything from Crystal Swing to Gospel, Ska to Soul, Funk,Trad (even magic!) and some of the best voices of Ireland. There is also face painters, balloon makers, stilt walkers, and clowns in this area to entertain the kids. And convenient as it is packed with tables and benches and situated right next to the Food Zone.
Too hot for this guy!

In addition there was the equine events, the farrier’s tent, the dog show, trade stands, cows, sheep and poultry and more including a vintage rally zone, farm machinery, and home and garden show.

It is a fantastic day out both for adults and children, for town and country. A record sixty thousand punters is a massive endorsement. Here’s to the 210th edition next year!

He was in the petting enclosure.
I didn't chance it 
Out of the blue