Showing posts with label Liberties. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liberties. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2019

Pearse Lyons Whiskey Lifts Liberties. More than a distillery

Pearse Lyons Whiskey Lifts Liberties
More than a distillery

We begin our tour in the graveyard of the former church of St. James, now home to the Pearse Lyons Distillery. Here in the Golden Triangle in the heart of The Liberties we end with a sip of the golden Pearse Five-Year-Old Single Malt, the design and packaging inspired by the former church, now restored and with a unique blue glass spire. In addition, there is also a genuine old pub, McCann’s, on site and some of the tours end there for a drink. 

The late Pearse Lyons on video frame
When you have finished the tour, having heard how Deirdre and Pearse Lyons took over the rump of the old church and the overgrown graveyard (where up to 100,000 had been buried over the centuries) and transformed it, you realise that this is much more than just a business venture, more than a distillery.

We are here for the whiskey of course and our tour allows us quite a tasting, beginning with The Original. This has been raised in US barrels (from the Lyons Town Branch distillery in Lexington) and the vanilla shows. It is a lovely whiskey, citrus and smoke on the nose, sweet, light and a little smoky as you sip.

Our patient guide at this stage is James and he has all the answers telling us that our next whiskey, the Distiller’s Choice is a 3 to 9 year old blend of no less than seven Irish whiskies, 6 sourced by Mr Lyons plus their own malt whiskey (ex ale barrel, Lyons also have a brewery Alltech). 

The Lyons distillery is quite new (though they had set up their equipment in Carlow for a few years before opening here in St Jame’s), hence the sourcing. The blend is perfect, again a touch of fruit (including citrus) on the nose, smooth and sweet and very satisfying indeed.

James was quite enthusiastic about the third whiskey, the Founder’s Choice, a 12 year old single malt. Again fruity on the nose with herbal notes too, sweet, oaky, herbal and spicy on the silky palate and finish. No wonder it is James’s favourite!

Number four is the Cooper’s Select, 42% like all the previous drinks. This a blend of 80% Single Malt and 20% Grain and has spent four years in Sherry cask. Dried fruit and coffee on the nose and that rich combination continues on the palate. This is an after-dinner drink and a very nice one too! But if you fancy it, you’d better act quickly as they won’t be producing this exact drink again.  James: “When it’s gone, it’s gone”.

Yeast at work
The future is represented in more ways than one in our final Pearse tasting, the Single Malt. Its bottle shape is different to the previous four and will be standard for Pearse whiskey in the future. The standard within is exceptional. This by the way is all their own malt, raised in first and second fill Bourbon casks. 

“It is the first five-year age statement Irish whiskey to appear from a new distillery in the whole of Ireland in more than 25 years. Presented in 4,000 individually numbered bottles, this limited release 5-Year-Old Single Malt was produced on two small-batch copper pot stills, and aged in bourbon casks.”

It is sweet, oaky, peppery. Still  young, yet full of promise, all very encouraging indeed. And it was also a bottle that I bought before I left!
James, with the Single Malt

Had an enjoyable taste of their Ha’penny Dublin Dry Gin, a small-batch, pot distilled gin featuring 13 expertly selected botanicals including Geranium, Dandelion, Lavender and Blackberry – all of which would have been growing in the nearby Phoenix Park in Victorian times when the bridge was built. The Ha’penny series also features a whiskey.

The counter where we tasted is set up in the church under a stained glass representation of a cooper at work. The stained glass windows are amazing; one commemorates the area’s connection with the Camino to Santiago di Compostela, another depicts how Irish Whiskey is made; the fourth shows the natural ingredients grown for “uisce beatha”. Amazing how the warm amber light from the windows fills up the distillery interior, reflecting on the copper stills and the Caen stone pillars. 

Outside though, the work is continuing and will continue for a long while to come, as our excellent tour guide Bernard told us. Many a story has emerged from the graveyard and no doubt more to come, all exciting much interest locally and further afield.

The headstones shed light on the trades that The Liberties welcomed in the past. Tradesmen and women who worked as coopers, distillers, linen merchants, shoemakers, bakers, bishops and soldiers have all found a resting place here at St. James’ Church alongside many members of the Lyons family. 

The graveyard is next door to Guinness property and one of the more prominent graves, right up by the wall of the church, belongs to Sir Haldane Porter, an assistant managing director of Guinness at his death in 1944.

The oldest person buried here is Florence Walltropp, 105 years old at her death. They also found five leaded coffins, always a sign of a contagious disease; these five are of one family believed to have decimated by the 1832 cholera outbreak in Dublin.

And the Golden Triangle? At one time, close to 40 distilleries were in operation in Dublin, nestled in a one mile radius around here, better known as the “Golden Triangle.”
Cooper at work
The four big distillery players at the time were George Roe and Company, John Power and Son, William Jameson and Company and John Jameson and Son. Today, the Pearse Lyons Distillery is playing a leading role as the Golden Triangle in the heart of The Liberties makes a remarkable revival.

A visit here is Very Highly Recommended. For the whiskey yes but it is, after all, much more than a distillery. Read more here

* Pearse Lyons greets all visitors during an introductory video to the tour but sadly the great man died last year. He will be missed for a long time and will be remembered whenever a person from the Liberties, or indeed a visitor on his or her way to the distillery, spots the distinctive blue spire.
also on this Dublin trip:
The Little Museum of Dublin
Café en Seine

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dublin’s Teeling Whiskey. New Experience in the Liberties

Dublin’s Teeling Whiskey

New Experience in the Liberties
Left to right: 24% - 65% - 85%
The Teeling family and their whiskey is back in Dublin’s Liberties, an area that once was outside the city and indeed, outside the law, home in the 18th century to some 37 distilleries not to mention houses of ill repute. So I found out during last week's tour of the new Teeling Distillery in Newmarket Place.

The official opening took place in June and the fully functional distillery is the first to be opened in Dublin in 125 years and is “the only operational distillery in the city”.  But the Teeling connection with whiskey goes back to 1782 when Walter Teeling set up a craft distillery in nearby Marrowbone Lane.

The new whiskeys are positioned at the premium end of the market and the promise is of “new flavours and aromas”. “The company is small, so the quality must be high.” There will be no Teeling gins or vodka but there is a Poitin. You may read all about their award winning products (and the family’s recent whiskey adventures in Cooley and much more) here.
Our informative tour guide told us that whiskey was invented by Irish monks in the 6th century and was called uisce beatha (water of life). But it was regarded as a medicine. Luckily, you need no prescription nowadays! Treat it with care though, as the Teeling whiskeys weigh in at 46%, somewhat higher than most.

The ingredients are simple: barley, yeast and water. The water is local, coming from the River Poddle that runs underneath Newmarket! The basic ingredients are first processed into a “beer” which has an abv of 8%. Then it is put through the magic of the three stills, the first one ups the abv to 24%, the second to 65% and, at the end of the third distillation, the abv is 85%.
By the way, US Bourbon has just one distillation, Scotch has two, while the Irish has three. Our guide told us the climate here is ideal for maturation “not too hot, not too cold”. At the end of the distillation process, the liquid is clear; flavour and colour is added during maturation in casks that have been previously used for making Sherry, Port, Wine, Bourbon, Madeira and other similar products.

The Teeling Single Grain is made from corn (which makes it that bit sweeter) and it spends six years in wine barrels. The Single Malt (100% barley) is matured in five different types of wine barrels.
A Favourite!

Their flagship whiskey is the Small Batch and is very smooth and is the one that you get to sample if you've paid for the basic tour. You are also given a cocktail; the current offering is a very seasonal and every enjoyable Teeling Summer Ice Tea and the ingredients are Single Batch, Orange liqueur, Pineapple syrup and ginger. Read all about the tours and the distillery here.

It is early days yet at Teeling in Newmarket but, as you may have seen on the recent TV series, this is a serious venture by a family well experienced in the trade. Just the other day, they appointed Sheila Baird as general manager of the visitor centre.
Sheila Baird
Sheila has over 20 years experience working in the hospitality industry, having been with a number of well-known hotels over the course of her career including the Quinn Hotel Group, the Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links and the Marine Hotel in Sutton. Most recently, Sheila worked with the Cara Hotel Group, as the general manager across a number of their properties.
In her new role, Sheila will oversee the day-to-day running of the visitor centre and will work with the marketing team to deliver an exceptional experience for visitors. The experience at the moment is not bad at all but looks as if it could get even better under Sheila: “I am delighted to take up this new role with the Teeling Whiskey Company. It’s an exciting opportunity to be involved in a brand new tourist attraction from the very beginning. I look forward to working with the entire Teeling team to deliver a stand-out customer experience for visitors from both home and abroad.”

Best of luck to Teeling and to Sheila. She could do worse than start with the taxi drivers - I had to give my taxi driver directions!

See also:
Dublin's Chapter One Restaurant
National Botanic Gardens
Dinner of Delights at Restaurant Forty One