Showing posts with label Mitchell & Sons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mitchell & Sons. Show all posts

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Powers 100% Irish Rye Whiskey. On the shelves today! Latest on Cork Whiskey Fest.

Powers Launch their 100% Irish Rye Whiskey today. 

 Latest on Cork Whiskey Festival.

Powers Launch their 100% Irish Rye Whiskey 43.2% ABV, 

RRP €40.00, widely available

The world’s first 100% Irish rye whiskey is on shelves around the world today. The producers are happy: “Proudly honouring the pioneering spirit of Powers Irish Whiskey, this ground-breaking release uses 100% Irish rye for the first time ever. The result is Powers Irish Rye, a complex and flavourful Irish whiskey that is set to shake up the increasingly popular rye whiskey category.”

It appears in your glass as a warm bronze liquid. Aromas are complex, barbecued banana, cherries and vanilla along with spicy notes especially of clove, with pepper and ginger also in mix. The rye announces itself more in the mouth along with the banana and clove and waves of sweetness (sugar and vanilla). A relatively mild but very satisfactory experience in the palate is followed by something similar on the finish, the flavours smoother, the spices enhanced, as they mix in harmony and waltz for quite a while.

Didn’t quite finish the 100ml sample provided on the first go. Went back a second time and was even more impressed. This 100% Irish Rye Whiskey is 100% compatible with this palate. Very happy indeed with it and thrilled to be able “award” a Very Highly Recommended stamp!

A few years ago at the little Micil Distillery in Galway, Pádraic Ó Griallais told me the three conditions needed to become a proper drinker: É a ioc, é a ól, é a iompar  (Pay for it; drink it; carry it.) When it comes to this Powers, I could well meet all three - not too expensive, not too harsh (far from it), and easy to drink and carry! A bigs thumbs up for this breakthrough from Powers. Not every day are you going to come across a whiskey of this quality at such a reasonable price.

The launch of Powers Irish Rye is grounded in the heritage of the whiskey brand, as Carol Quinn, Archivist at Irish Distillers, uncovered. Old mash bills and recipes reveal that Powers experimented with rye over their history, shows how, as the scientific knowledge of distilling expanded throughout the 19th century, they continually strove to innovate with new techniques and processes.  

This new bottle is born from trials at Irish Distillers’ renowned Midleton Distillery in Cork, Ireland, Powers Irish Rye balances the trademark earthy, peppery character of rye with the sweet flavour profile imparted from maturation in a full repertoire of American oak – with virgin oak, first fill and refills in the cask mix.

Rye is mainly grown in northern European countries and used in bread and beer. Not easy to find a farm growing it in Ireland. But Powers persevered and commissioned the planting of rye crops. With a commitment to sustainable farming, the Cooney Furlong Farm in Co. Wexford supply 100% of the rye used in Powers Irish Rye. Located just a short distance from Edermine House, the ancestral home of the Powers family, the farm guarantees ongoing Irish rye supply for this world first release.

In an interview conducted by Royal Commission on whiskey back in 1908, the Powers ethos was best described by James Talbot Power, ‘At Powers, we are producers of flavours, not of spirits`.  They are proud to continue this Powers legacy in 2023. And it is indeed the flavours that catch the attention in this latest release.

Bottled at 43.2% ABV, Powers Irish Rye will be released from 20th February in the US, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Dublin Airport and online at, and via The Whisky Exchange in the UK in the coming months at RRP €40.

The whiskey can be drunk neat but should also catch the attention of mixologists and Powers have already proposed this recipe for a Classic Manhattan cocktail.

Manhattan cocktail

Ingredients: 50ml Powers Irish Rye, 25ml sweet vermouth, 1 dash aromatic bitters, 1 dash orange bitters

Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass; Add ice and stir to mix and chill; Strain into a chilled coupe glass; Express orange oils from an orange zest and discard the zest; Garnish with 3 skewered maraschino cherries.


Cork Whiskey Fest 2023

Shelbourne ace Rory McGee.

The Cork Whiskey Fest 2023 continues to gather momentum and will get another boost with the official launch this coming Thursday.

Some 34 events have been organised over the three days and some have already been sold out. I'm looking forward to two events in particular: the Mitchell Spot Whiskeys & Wine Masterclass and also the Dunville Masterclass

Mitchell and Sons Wine & Spirits Merchants are the sole remaining licenced bonder with Irish Distillers. Their wine finished single pot still Irish whiskeys are a pillar in Irish Whiskey. Midleton legend Ger Garland and Brand Ambassador Mathew Smith will guide us through a selection of Spot whiskey along with their finishing wines, for this stellar masterclass.

Jarlath Watson’s Dunville’s Masterclasses have taken on legendary status. He always digs deep into the Echlinville Distillery’s stash of sherry bombs to blow people’s minds. Expect a lot!

Another event that promises much is the Jameson Tasting in the helbourne Bar on Sunday March 26th at 12 noon. Here, Tommy Byrne who is the lead educator in the Irish Whiskey Academy in Midleton and Deirdre O’Carroll (of the Blending Team) will host a lively informative session, bringing an exciting liquid insight to this historic brand. A masterclass not to be missed!

Tickets for this and all the events here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Is Your Anytime Ace. Not Just Valentine's!

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne

Is Your Anytime Ace. Not Just Valentine's!

Piper-Heidsieck is one of the most famous houses in Champagne. It is known for its structured, fruit-driven house style made predominantly from Pinot Noir, with smaller portions of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The company has its origins in the cloth- and wine-trading company Heidsieck and Co. which was founded in 1785 by Florens-Louis Heidsieck. 

The current winemaker is Émilien Boutillat.  “Émilien was born in the heart of champagne. He has made wine around France, in Chile, in South Africa and in New Zealand. He has a global perspective, a scientific approach and is one of the rising stars of the wine world.” Not a bad intro at all from Liberty Wines MD David Gleave as he introduced Émilien Boutillat during a masterclass last year. Judging by the two wines here, the intro was well deserved.

Piper Heidsieck Essentiel Cuvée Réservée Extra Brut, 12% 

Émilien Boutillat

Through the pale gold colour, fountains of bubbles race in profusion towards the top. Nutty notes in the aromas. It really makes you stop and take notice on the palate, pear and apple amidst the lively citrus contribution. And, after that full and flavoursome combination (enhanced by the contribution of the reserve wines), comes a persistent dry finish. One of the very best Extra Brut champagnes I’ve come across (not that I’ve come across that many) and Very Highly Recommended.


Extra Brut.

Mise en Cave (cellared): 2015.

Degorgement: Jan 2019.

Winemaker: Émilien Boutillat.

Blending: Harvest 2014 and 18% Reserve wines

Grapes: 50% Pinot Noir , 30% Meunier, 20% Chardonnay

The Essentiel wines are produced exclusively for independent merchants and the on-trade. The Essentiel Cuvée Réservée Extra Brut and the Essentiel Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut are made in limited quantities and for the table, with their low dosage (6 g/l and 4 g/l respectively) making them ideal for whetting the palate or serving with seafood.

* I got this bottle as an unexpected gift at Christmas. You can get it in Mitchell & Son (Dublin) for €66.95, details here

Piper Heidsieck Cuvée Brut NV, 12%, on offer €39.95 (was €54.06), O’Briens Wine

This signature Brut has a really bright gold colour, lots of bubbles catching the lights. Aromas - fruity, biscuity.  Again fruity (citrus) and biscuity on the palate and it certainly lives up to the Brut with the persistent finish delicate with that lovely citrus prominent.

So what would you pair this beauty with? Lynne Coyle MW, of O’Briens, suggests it’s perfect with “the antics of Bridgerton and their society parties”.  "Enjoying the antics of Bridgerton and their society parties? then Champagne is the perfect match. Champagne would have been flowing freely during this period, establishing itself as a luxury celebration wine." 

Of course, you would need something to nibble on. Again Lynne has the solution: Rustic Bread & Black Olive Tapenade. Just ask the servants.

I got this bottle in “Deck the Halls” Feast Hamper that I bought from the excellent Glass Curtain restaurant in Cork City at Christmas.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Flirty Nouveau’s on her way but here’s some Beaujolais that will stay around.

Flirty Nouveau’s on her way but here’s some Beaujolais that will stay.

I’ve known for a while now that the annual Nouveau affair is not meant to last very long. She’s certainly a palate pleaser, with "more of a floral bouquet" this year, and even those wine-merchants who talk her down during the year are all so eager to sing her praises while she’s on the premises. By all means enjoy the date. But, when the one-night stand is over, it will be time to take a look for a more long-lasting relationship with Beaujolais and I've got a few mature suggestions from my little black book!

Chateau du Chatelard Brouilly, Karwig €19.25
Karwig Wines have relied on Chateau du Chatelard for years now and I’ve always liked their Brouilly (19.25). There are ten Crus in Beaujolais and Brouilly is the largest. This bottle has concentrated aromas and flavours. It may throw a little sediment so no harm in decanting it. Enjoy and look forward to a longer acquaintance!
Jamie Goode gave a
Beaujolais masterclass in
Cork earlier this year.

Juliénas, Domaine de la Conseillère, €20.95, O’Brien’s
This is pretty much faultless: expressive fruity aromas, well rounded, ripe fruit, long finish.

Chateau des Jacques Moulin À Vent 2012, €28.00 Mitchell & Son
A challenging vintage from the best known cru. Vineyard owned by Louis Jadot since 1996. This is a Burgundian style, oak included, the colour is towards Pinot Noir. At a Louis Jadot tasting with Findlaters earlier in the year, I found it very approachable, fruit driven with a refreshing acidity. In Moulin à Vent, the Gamay grape thrives on the granite soil and this spends 12 months in barrel!

Domaine Jean Foillard Cote du Py, Morgon 2013, €34.20 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
This, from the second largest of the crus, is a standout wine.

Colour is a light ruby. Look closer and you’ll see a little cloudiness - no worries, this is a natural wine. Aromas hint of red cherry, berries too. The palate is out on its own, red fruits and a little spice, that typical balancing acidity again, tannins are fine and then a superb finalé.

The fact that the vines are grown on “one of the best sites of the entire Beaujolais region”, on an extinct volcano, plus the use of minimum intervention (the use of oak is minimal), makes this a rather unique expression of the Gamay. You could well settle down with this single vineyard Beaujolais gem.

Dominique Morel Fleurie (AP) Vieilles Vignes 2015, €23.99 JJ O’Driscoll’s Cork, Manning’s Emporium Ballylickey, Wine Online, World Wide Wines

In Fleurie, Gamay, always refreshing and never short of acidity, thrives on the granite soil. Fleurie is an excellent partner for a wide variety of lighter dishes.

Here the colour is mid ruby. Very aromatic with delicate cherry scents, floral notes too, an inviting melange.The silky palate is bursting with fruit flavours and tannins close to velvety, very elegant indeed with no shortage of the concentration expected here, more heft indeed than you'd expect, and with a long and satisfying finish.

This is an excellent example of the expressive Gamay, no doubt helped by the fact that the fruit was well ripened in the good 2015 vintage.

Beaujolais rocks

Villa Ponciago Les Pierres Bleues Morgon 2016, Searson's 21.95

The fruit is grown on a mix of blue schist and ancient igneous type rocks. Complex aromas, excellent fruit, some grip, acidity too and a superb finish. Very very impressive. In 2016 and 2017, the quantity of wine produced in Beaujolais was down because of hail but the quality was up.

Saint Amour, Maison Jean Loron, Domaine Des Billards, Classic Drinks.

If your love is on the serious side rather than flirty, then this Saint Amour is the Beaujolais for you and him/her. Colour is a youthful ruby with aromas of small red fruits combined with a spicy note of chocolate is unveiled quickly. In the mouth, the attack is round and supple, then a pleasant and persistent. A beauty from the most northerly Cru. The 2017 edition earned 16.50 from 20 from Jancis Robinson.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Riedel at the Grainstore. The Glass that Surprises

Riedel at the Grainstore
The Glass that Surprises
A rather special decanter.
Maximilian Riedel, representing the 11th generation of the Austrian glass-making firm, says Riedel are always up for a challenge. He was speaking during last Thursday’s comparative wine tasting event in the Grainstore at Ballymaloe House.

And Maximilian found a new challenge during his brief visit to East Cork. He enjoyed a tour of the local Irish Distillers facility. He was very impressed with the whiskey and told us in Ballymaloe that his new goal is to develop “the perfect glass for Irish whiskey”.

And taking up challenges is not new to the famous glass-makers (founded 1756) who lost almost everything during the war. But not their glass-making skills and not their love of it. They also loved their wine, still do, and eventually they became known as the makers of the varietal wine glass. So far, they have covered the main varietals but only ten per cent of the total!

But did you know they also make a glass for Coca Cola? Max told us how his father took up the challenge when a man from Atlanta came calling. “Why Coca Cola? We like to be challenged!” Working with a company who employ over “one million people worldwide” was just such a challenge. And they came up with a  glass that satisfied both them and Coca Cola and it was included in the Grainstore tasting.
Calm before the Riedel
He also indicated that the glass is very suitable indeed for your Cuba Libre cocktail! Actually, while the wine glasses are varietal specific, they are versatile enough to suit related varieties. For instance, glass #1 in the tasting was New World Pinot Noir (6449/67). But Max said it was “..the best champagne glass, full stop! Try it, you’ll be surprised”. Maybe not so surprising when you think that Pinot Noir is one of the champagne grapes. It is also suitable for Nebbiolo.

And it was with #1 that we started. Like #3, it holds a full bottle. But we weren't that greedy! The Pinot Noir glass has a “flare” at the top and this has helped reduce the acidity and so improve the whole experience. Beautiful aromas from the dedicated glass, reduced in #2 (for Old World Syrah) and further reduced in #3 (Cabernet).

“It is below room temperature, because I like it that way! Very well balanced, fresh, fruit, long, sweet and smooth… in #2 we are losing the fruit…. if we drink it from #3, people won't like Pinot Noir, it is heavier, drier, bitter…. the wrong glass could turn people off..” A further demo, using Lindt white chocolate, again showed a big contrast between #1 (good) and #3 (bad).

The Pinot Noir by the way was from Oregon. Wine #2 for glass #2 was a French Syrah (St Joseph 2013). In the proper glass, the Syrah showed a beautiful nose and then fruit, minerality, acidity, pepper, a beautiful structure and great aftertaste”. In #3, the message was diluted “aromas not bad, but not as intense….extreme spice and tannins on the palate..and where did the fruit go?” With Number 1 glass, he remarked: “a perfectly made wine in the wrong glass”.

 Max, and Riedel generally, do have a sense of humour and it showed again with his next demo, again with the Syrah but now in a plastic cup. “The nose is gone, lost….but not as bad as the wrong Riedel glass!”

“Bourdeau, toujour Bordeaux,” he remarked as he poured the third wine, a special treat: St Estephe 2009, into #3 glass. “... depth, structure, enough acidity, very elegant, dark berries, all in the right glass. In Number 1, it was no way close, fruit down...bitter and! Number 2 was worse again, “less fruit, more alcohol and bone dry”. And he showed the engineered pattern of the flow from the various glasses and it is this pattern that causes some of the variations.

Riedel didn't have any at Thursday’s demo but they also have a range of stemless glasses, the range invented by none other than Max himself. “The stem has no influence on the wine.” And then we were into the Coca Cola demo. That glass was developed with the help of the American company's Twenty Noses, their travelling tasters.

And again, the Riedel glass came up trumps: “You can almost see the secret Coca Cola formula here, the various fruits, a little cinnamon.... In the plastic cup, it goes flat faster, gets warmer faster, no aromas, more acidity.” The glass itself is very thin. “The thinner the glass, the longer it stays cool,” said Max.

The wines
By the way, he got no arguments all evening, all around me seemed to be agreeing, both during and after. And I have been a Riedel convert for a while now.

The wines, from Mitchell & Son:
1 - Dundee Hills Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2012
2 - Yves Cuilleron Les Pierres Séches Saint Joseph 2013
3- Chateau Ormes de Pez Saint Estèphe 2009

The wine glasses, all from the Riedel Veritas range:
1 - New World Pinot Noir, 6449/67
2- Old World Syrah, 6449/41
3 - Cabernet, 6449/0
The reference for the Coca Cola glass is 0414/21. Check them all out here. Mitchell’s are also the Irish agents for Riedel and you may see their glass selection here.

The next wine event in Ballymaloe is also a gem and features a dinner this Wednesday (18th) with Manuel Lozano of the famous Sherry producer, Bodegas Lustau. Full details here.
Max with plastic!
Strictly for demonstration purposes!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

World Rediscovers Irish Whiskey. Dave Broom’s Breakfast-style Whiskey.

World Rediscovers Irish Whiskey
Dave Broom’s Breakfast-style Whiskey.
Whiskey ageing silently in Midleton.

It was a tax dodge that led to one of the great whiskeys!

Leading whiskey (sometimes whisky) authority Dave Broom was talking about Green Spot, the first drop up for tasting during the Roaring Silence - Silent Stills Awaken, the title of a session on the irish whiskey renaissance at Ballymaloe’s LitFest at the weekend.

Because of  a punitive tax on malted barley, the Irish distillers decided to use a portion of unmalted barley in their mix and that style became known as Single Pot Still and is now part of the astonishing revival of the Irish spirit. Dave did take the opportunity to point out that John Jameson was a Scot.

Tomas Clancy (left), Dave Broom and Brian Nation (right)

Quite a bit to go yet though according to Tomas Clancy, another of the speakers on the panel. he would like to see the industry here mirror that of Scotland with a mix of both small and large operators. He pointed out that the Scottish industry is worth three billion while, at present, the Irish weighs in at three hundred million. “Investment here, he said, “is heavy.”

Dave may not always be sure of which time zone he is in but he knows his whiskey and obviously likes the Green Spot: “..stimulating nose (a signature of Irish whiskey and it dangerous drinkability!)...oily, coating the tongue..sweet...fresh acidity….
Brian Nation the enthusiastic Master Distiller at Jameson Ireland explained how the malted/unmalted mix and the triple distilling “imparts a creamy mouthfeel. The style has orchard fruits and sweet spices (from the distillate) and is toasty from the wood.”

He pointed out that maturing in wood casks had been started a long time ago by Mitchell & Sons Wine Merchants in Dublin, still associated with Green Spot. And he also paid tribute to his predecessor in Midleton, Barry Crockett, whose foresight “in laying down stocks” was crucial to the current revival.

Late in the 19th century and in the early part of the 20th, Irish whiskey was the world leader but over the decades lost out in the UK and US markets because of various factors, including prohibition, World War 1, War of Independence, and the Irish Civil War. And the decline continued right through the Second World War with all the American soldiers in Britain being wowed by Scotch.

Boosted by a Royal Commission 1909 finding in its favour, the Scots were benefitting hugely from improved versions of Aeneas Coffey’s 1830 Column Still invention. French born Coffey was an Irish tax inspector but the industry here dismissed his breakthrough invention, to their cost. “We were the masters of the Pot Still,” said Tomas Clancy. “But Irish Whiskey was too good, too early.”

Feeling's Single Malt
Broome, who described Coffey’s invention as “a good piece of kit”, now introduced Teeling Whiskey Single Grain, made from maize. It is matured initially in American oak and is “a great whiskey, creamier and sweet, with banana notes, and a short finish. It is gentle and light, a breakfast style whiskey. Good for cocktails too, very versatile.” 

This weighs in at 46% abv and Dave suggested adding some water. I did and got a good result!
Brian told us that this Single Grain, made with maize and malt, is produced in the column still. “It is a fruity, floral style. Jameson, by the way, is a blend of single grain and Single Pot Still.”

In the 1940’s, people, especially Americans, began to look for lighter whiskeys and Tullamore Distillery deliberately blended for the palate. Now there is, since 2013, a brand new distillery there. It has impressed Dave Broome. “It is an astonishing piece of work - go see it.”

The piece of work we had in front of us at that point was the Tullamore Dew Phoenix. Brian Nation said you have to be innovative to meet demand for styles and brands. “Don't sit on your laurels. Look to innovate and stay ahead of the game.”

On the whiskey itself, Dave remarked that the Single Pot Still comes through. “It has a rich dark character and you also note the effects of the sherry barrels. At 55%, it need water. It is lovely, well balanced, with good characters.”

Tomas Clancy said our ancestors didn't want to waste anything. So the empty barrells from Jerez and Porto and other places were put to use to mature whisky. “Colour was one of the main impacts as the barrels changed a dirty looking spirit into an inviting looking liquid.”

Lots of praise for the “innovative, cheeky Teelings” from Broom as we sampled  their Single Malt. “Keep an eye on them,” he continued. “They are raising the bar”. Clancy agreed:”They are fantaiusci, will get even more so. They are not in it by accident, they have seen where the opportunities are and should have a fascinating future.”

The introduction of our Glendalough 7 year old Single Malt provoked a discussion about the future. The past first though as Tomas said the current 9 to 10 per cent annual growth is down to Midleton. The stills at  Midleton are artisan, don't lose sight of it. Micros are okay but won't be the industry in 20 years time. He remarked too that distilleries need to be encouraged and instanced the fact that one of the bigger new ones had received a half million euro water bill even before they had started operating!

Whiskey making, old and new
Dave encouraged us consumers to celebrate the diversity and encouraged producers to differentiate.. “can't all be Jameson copies.There is craftsmanship at every step, at every level.” Big is not necessarily bad.

Brian Nation said at present Ireland has four per cent of the world market and the plan is to grow that to 12 per cent by 2030. “There is plenty of room for other distillers but we need to see the quality kept up. One bad apple….”

We had earlier met Dave Broom’s breakfast whiskey. Now he introduced us to his desert island tipple, the one he'd grab if the ship was going down, none other than the local Redbreast 12, “a style of whiskey the world has fallen in love with, really well priced.”

Brian explained that the key difference here is the cuts during the distillation. “It is full bodied, robust, lots of flavours. On the nose you have the fruitcake aromas, a contribution from the Oloroso casks. The feel is creamy and there are spices there too and also that dried fruit. For me, this is an exquisite whiskey.”

Dave, who had been totally encouraging all along about Irish Whiskey, rounded it all off by saying the category was “on fire”. “Everyone wants Irish Whiskey!” Sláinte to the panel and to Colm McCan and his volunteers at LifeFest who, year after year, come up with the goods.