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Friday, October 20, 2017
Great to see the Powers John’s Lane, one of my favourite whiskeys coming out on top at the Irish Whiskey Awards last night. Thanks to the Celtic Whiskey Shop, you can see all the winners below....
Friday, October 7, 2016
Review: The Whiskeys of Ireland
by Peter Mulryan
“Whiskey. Irish for droplets of pure pleasure.” WB Yeats.
You’ll find tour guides in the many new Irish distilleries telling you that whiskey is a corruption of the Gaelic Uisce Beatha (water of life). No need to believe those novices! Yeats got it right and his interpretation is quoted on the back cover of the Whiskeys of Ireland by Peter Mulryan.
Whenever I get my hands on a new Irish food or drink book, I usually flick through the opening pages to see where it was printed and am invariably disappointed. This, printed in the Czech Republic, is no exception. If we are expected to support the Irish food and drinks industry, then our food and drink writers should do all they can to support Irish printers. But that's about the only gripe (one more - there is no index), I have against this excellent book.
|The new Connacht Distillery in Ballina|
Because, for a long time, there were spirits galore but no definition of whiskey, Mulryan says it is difficult to trace its evolution. But distilling was alive and well, if not up to FSAI standards, in the 15th century and the Crown passed a law in 1556, in vain, to put a stop to it. Eventually, after the collapse of the Gaelic order, a licensing system was imposed.
The first Irish patent was granted in 1608 but cronyism and corruption led to the collapse of the system. Taxation reared its head in 1661 and that reinforced the illegal side of the trade. And the same happened when a stiff tax regime was imposed in 1779. The underground operators sold their poitín and that became “the drink of the people”.
A more benign tax regime led to a booming whiskey industry in the 1820s and onwards. But that led to widespread alcohol problems and in stepped Fr Matthew. Distilleries closed by the dozen.
|On display in Teelings, Newmarket, Dublin|
The respectable side of the business examined the newly invented Aeneas Coffey column still and he had some initial success here before turning to a warmer welcome in Scotland. Ireland, pants down in Mulryan’s phrase, missed the revolution and would pay dearly.
Close to the end of the century though, the big players in Irish whiskey, including Allman’s in Bandon, were flying high again. Phylloxera dealt the French distillers a hammer blow and that too helped the Irish in what Mulryan terms “the Golden Years”.
Scotland too was on the rise but the bubble would burst as the century turned, fraudulent trading, recession, wars, and increased taxes all contributing.
|With the author (left) in his Blackwater Distillery|
Ireland now had its own problems: wars and then partition. We were behind internationally and now the domestic market collapsed. And, in the US, prohibition was looming. Closure followed closure.
There were back doors to the US market. The Scots didn't hesitate, the Irish did. Then we Irish had the “Economic War” with England and next came WW2. After they were over, in the US, the Scots were in and, except for Irish Coffee, the Irish were out.
It was a long tailspin, halted only in 1966 when the three (yes, 3!) remaining distilleries amalgamated. Eventually a new outlook led to a new distillery in Midleton (1975). John Jameson was the brand that led to the current revival, the brand that eventual and current owners Pernod Ricard used as a wedge to once more open the international market to Irish Whiskey.
|Cyril (left) and Barry of St Patrick's in Cork|
Meanwhile, Mulryan relates that an opportunity was spotted by John Teeling at Cooley and, thanks to the eagle-eyed entrepreneur, the Irish industry acquired a new and vibrant arm, an arm that is still reaching out. Now virtually every county has a distillery, many of them micro. The consumer, home and abroad, has never had it so good. Cheers to John Jameson (5 million cases in 2015) and the French marketeers.
Those marketeers include a salesman selling Jameson in a Vendeé supermarket sometime in the 90s. He was an insistent guy and I bought a bottle (the price was good too!) and I still have the free cassette tapes that came with it!
Mulryan's fascinating book covers the history, the rises and the falls and the stunning re-birth, in a lively manner, great for the experienced and novice alike. It is well worth seeking out for the history alone. But he also casts his keen and experienced eye (he founded and runs the Blackwater Distillery) over the current scene (sending out a warning to mid-sized operators).
|Whiskey by Hyde's|
The closing chapters take us, in plain and engaging English, through the making and blending and, most importantly, the tasting of our beloved Uisce Beatha, sorry droplets of pure pleasure. Slainte!
The Whiskeys of Ireland is published by the O’Brien Press and is widely available. I spotted it in Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork selling for €19.95.
|Hands on research in Dingle recently|
Monday, November 23, 2015
Ireland’s First Cask Aged Gin
Blackwater Distillery have launched Ireland’s first aged gin.
Blackwater Juniper Cask Gin which goes on sale this week has rested in casks made from juniper wood for at least thirty days. The barrels are specially made for the West Waterford distillery and because juniper trees aren’t very big, they can’t be larger than 50 litres.
The Juniper Cask Gin contains the same 12 botanicals found in the company’s award winning Blackwater No.5, though here they are different proportions. The sweeter roots like liquorice are increased so the gin isn’t overpowered by the astringent juniper wood. The result is a copper coloured gin, complex and aromatic with plenty of character and a wonderful long finish.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Unit 3 Cappoquin Enterprise Park
Co Waterford, Ireland
A Christmas Collection
Whiskey and Wine
Have yourself a very whiskey Christmas!
Have yourself a very whiskey Christmas this festive season with some cracking gifts for the whiskey lover in your life.
From Single Malt to Small Batch to mini gift packs and distillery tours, Teeling Whiskey has a gift to suit all tastes and budgets. All of the below is available to purchase from the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, www.teelingwhiskey.com as well as good independent retailers; The Celtic Whiskey Shop, James Fox’s and Dublin Airport to a name a few.
Whiskey lovers should also check out the Teeling Whiskey Distillery which opened its doors in June. The first working distillery in Dublin in over 125 years, it offers daily tours and has extended its opening hours for the festive season. What better way to round off an afternoon of Christmas shopping?
1. Teeling Whiskey “Revival”- RRP €100 - €120 – brand new to the range, this Single Malt Irish Whiskey was specifically bottled on a limited edition run to celebrate the launch of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. This whiskey is a 15 Year Old Single Malt which has been fully matured in ex-rum barrels.
2. Mini Trinity Pack – RRP €18 –the Trinity pack includes all three of Teeling Whiskey’s non-aged portfolio - ideal for whiskey lovers and those who aren’t sure which is their favourite tipple but would love to sample them all over the festive season. It includes the Teeling Irish Whiskey Single Grain, Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch and the Teeling Whiskey Single Malt. There’s a different finish in there for everyone!
3. Small Batch Gift Pack – RRP €45 - For those who know their whiskey and like to enjoy it in the comfort of their own home, TWC also have a special Small Batch Gift Pack which comes with two stylish Teeling tumbler glasses.
If you know someone that’s a fan of the whiskey and history, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery offers brilliant tours running daily. The tour itself involves a walk through the exhibition space which brings you through the history of whiskey in Ireland, then venturing to the inner workings of the distillery where visitors can experience the heat and sweet smell from the stills and witness the whiskey making process first hand. Gift vouchers for the distillery are available online from www.teelingwhiskey.com and in the distillery on Newmarket Square.
If you would like to book your Teeling Whiskey Distillery experience now, you can do so by calling +353 (0)1 531 0888 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the Teeling Whiskey Company and its award winning Irish Whiskeys, visitwww.TeelingWhiskey.com
Try a little Heritage
HÉRITAGE N° 290
To celebrate its 290th anniversary, Barton & Guestier launched Héritage N°290, the Ultimate wine brand and an innovation in the world of wine!
For almost 300 years, Barton & Guestier has been excellent at vinifying, ageing, fining and shipping the best wines from France. 290 years ago, these wines were those produced at Margaux, Lafite, Haut Brion... The cellar masters were adding their final touch to the wine and Barton & Guestier's 1st cellar master, Germain Rambaud was shaping the best wines of the 18th century.
Barton & Guestier has been sucessful in keeping the tradition and continues to select, make and ship the best wines from France.
In 2015, inspired by the spirit of the B&G founders, winemaker Laurent Prada is bringing Héritage by Barton & Guestier, the 1st brand to offer consistency in quality, in price and in availability to winelovers worldwide. Like the great Cognac, the most exclusive Whiskies, the most illustrious Champagne, Héritage is non vintage to offer consistant style and quality.
More about the wine:
Héritage N°290 offers a rich wine, full of character just like the 2 founders of B&G.
- Dark red colour with violet highlights.
- Rich nose developing intense black fruit aromas (morello cherry) and spices. On the second nose, violet notes appear.
- A wine with a harmonious structure, balance, mixing intense flavours of fruit and toasty and vanilla hints.
- Food & Wine pairing:
- Perfect with lamb, duck, beef, dark chocolate, strong cheeses and spicy dishes - Best at 18-20 °C.
- Good ageing potential for 5 to 10 years.
Heritage comes in an original bottle, with a capsule supported by a strong B&G branding and a label design based on the personality of its founders featuring their embossed portraits with a pearly white varnish to bring a touch of modernity and the brand name Heritage N°290 in black varnish.
Heritage is available in personalized carton outershippers of 6 x 75 cl.
B & G are represented in Ireland by Richmond Marketing
Serego Alighieri Vaio Armaron from Masi Becomes the First-Ever Venetian Wine to
Make the Wine Spectator Top 10
Masi’s Amarone Classico, Vaio Armaron Serego Alighieri 2008, is the first wine from the Venetoto be included in Wine Spectator’s “Top 10”, the most eagerly awaited list in the wine world.
The result was unveiled last week by the prestigious wine magazine, which put this emblematic wine from Valpolicella in 8th place with a score of 95/100.
Commenting on the achievement, President of Masi Agricola, Sandro Boscaini, said, “This is the first time that a wine from the Veneto has reached the Olympus of the world’s 10 best wines.
"This is proof of the potential of our territory and of its most historic and representative wine: a unique product sometimes jeopardised by the politics of production – or rather over-production – and low-end market orientation.
"This achievement confirms how our land is naturally suited to high quality production, without any compromises.”
Serego Aligheri Vaio Armaron is an Amarone Classico that Masi makes in collaboration with the Serego Alighieri family, descendants of the poet Dante. This multi-award-winning wine with a noble history back to 1353, which already received 95/100 points from Wine Spectator last April, now enters the firmament of great icon wines with territorial provenance.
Masi is exclusively distributed in Ireland by
Findlater Wine & Spirit Group // www.findlaterws.ie