Ireland Feed

Irish Whiskey was once one of the most popular spirits in the world and declined from thousands of distilleries down to just two by the late 1900s. Sales are once again skyrocketing on the back of Jameson's success, but things were pretty grim for a while. I knew many of the causes of the decline in Irish whiskey, but learned a few more in conversation with Kilbeggan brand ambassador John Cashman. Here are reasons that he laid out. 1. The Irish Temperence Movement in the late 1830s that flared up again later in the century. 2. The invention of the... Read more →

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A while back I visited the Kilbeggan Distillery in the middle of Ireland. Kilbeggan is in partnership with the Cooley distillery, a much larger one (without a visitors' center) that was once independent but is now owned by Jim Beam. They make not only Kilbeggan Irish whiskey, but also Tyrconnell, Greenore, and Connemara. The distillery dates back to 1757 and they claim it is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. You'll note that Bushmills claims they were founded in 1604 but Kilbeggan disputes that. While today Kilbeggan is a working distillery, the stuff that is working is a tiny part... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

A while back I enjoyed a brief visit to the Bushmills Irish Whiskey distillery, located at the northern tip of Northern Ireland. Bushmills is located super close to the Giants' Causeway, a natural phenomenon that brings tons of tourists through town every day. Pretty much all the tours also stop at Bushmills, whether that's for a full distillery tour or just a meal in the visitors' center restaurant. 92,000 people visited the distillery in 2012. Bushmills doesn't have column stills; all the whiskey made here is triple distilled from 100% malted barley. (Thus the same as single-malt scotch except that... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Jameson, Redbreast, Green Spot, Midleton Very Rare, Powers John Lane, Paddy: These Irish whiskeys and more are all made at one distillery: Midleton in County Cork, Ireland. On a recent trip the distillery for a big celebration (I wrote about that here), I learned more about the differences between various products, and gained some perspective on where Irish whiskey sits in with other products. To hugely oversimplify what are the constants and what changes in different types of whiskey: Single-malt scotch whisky is made from 100% malted barley and distilled in pot stills. They typically make one distillate, and the... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

A couple of months ago I returned to the Midleton distillery in Cork, Ireland, for a party they were throwing to celebrate the newly-expanded facility. I wrote a one-page story about it for November's issue of Tasting Panel magazine, which you can read here (digital magazine, go to page 149), but I have more to say than just that. I last visited the Midleton distillery in early 2011 (as well a a stop into the former distillery and current visitor's experience in Dublin). A write-up on that visit is here on Alcademics. The Midleton Distillery looks like it did a... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Ask an Irish Whiskey Distiller!

Have questions, big or small, about distillation? Whether you're going to Portland Cocktail Week or not you might be able to get some of them answered. We're fortunate to have Barry Crockett, Master Distiller for Jameson Irish Whiskey with us at Drink.Write for one seminar. He'll be on hand to answer questions about Jameson, Irish whiskey, and/or distillation in general. I'll be happy to ask any respectful questions that people leave in the comments and report back on them. So, anything you want to know? I'm curious, for example, to know about the flavor of salt and distillation. I asked... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

When Pot Distilled Whiskey Is Not Pot Still Whiskey

What is pot still whiskey? The obvious answer is "whiskey that's made in a pot still," but apparently that's not true if you're in Ireland. I was on a trip recently with whiskey writer/expert/class clown/author Dominic Roskrow and was showing off my sexy Irish whiskey distillery diagram, when he called me out on it. He said that the Cooley distillery makes no pot still whiskey. "But they have pot stills in which they make whiskey, so obviously they make pot still whiskey," I said. It went back and forth for a few days, but the argument comes down to this:... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.