Is there a better 30th birthday present than The Celtic Whiskey Shop hosting a whiskey event just for me? Okay well not just for me, but Whiskey Live Dublin happened to be on a few days before my 30th so i’m sticking with the story that it was my birthday party.
This was my first year attending the show in Dublin as it normally falls on or near my birthday and I’m not here for it. This year was almost the same but plans fell through and with about 12 hours before the event I managed to get a ticket, thanks to the folk at the Celtic Whiskey Shop.
The show took place at The Printworks within the grounds of Dublin Castle. You’d be hard fought to find a better setting.
If you’ve ever been to a whiskey show you’ll know upon entering the event you’ve to pick up the most important tool of the day, your glass for receiving that precious liquid gold in. I’ll put a bet on that 9 times outta 10 it will have been one of the world famous Glencairns glass to use. Well not this time, for Whiskey Live Dublin 2017 we had the pleasure of using the new Irish made Túath Glass. I’ll be reviewing the glass within the coming days but happy to quickly say it works.
This year I had a plan, to stay relatively sober, the same plan which has failed 100% of the time at previous whiskey events, speak to a few friends, find and try only stuff under the table that isn’t openly being poured plus a few of the new products yet to come to market.
Unfortunately there was to be no masterclasses for me so first up I went to have a chat with the always well dressed, sound chap that is Ronan Massey, (Irish Bulleit Boss to some) who happened to be working on the Talisker stand. Remember my plan I mentioned about staying relatively sober for the day? Well that was out the window straight away when Mr Massey produced a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength from under the table to my f**king delight. Now if any of you follow Bourbon Paddy & myself on Twitter / Instagram you’ll have seen us at least once or twice
every week really hound Ronan for taste of this! At this point Bourbon Paddy hadn’t made it to the show so it was only fair of me to in no way wind him up by sending him a picture on Whatsapp of the bottle. Fantastic flavours just like the 10 year old Bulleit Bourbon but at Barrel Strength, 59.6% / 119.2 proof. Now when some of you hear “…just add a touch water” you’re ready to grab your pitchforks and have a skirmish, but under the advice of Ronan that’s what one done. Simply wow, it really opened up for a bigger flavour bomb.
It was then onwards to find John Cashman or Stephen Magennis from Beam Suntory / Kilbeggan Distilling Company. Some tweets a few days before the event got a lot of folk talking… A Rye Pot Still from Kilbeggan!!
I approached the stand trying to act casual, (just like when you’re driving and the police go by, even though you’ve done nothing wrong) asking a few questions about the products on display from the Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell & Connemara ranges. While chatting with John I spotted 4 bottles on the floor at the back of the stand. Upon a white label “Rye Pot Still” could be spotted. It was a case of putting on my politest Norn Iron voice to ask if I could have a taste to which my request was granted. I’m unsure if it was my politeness or the threatening tones of Belfast accent. It was 6 years old with an ABV of 61%. Tremendous spice & notes of fruit that a rye would bring to the table but still very much contained that thicker, weighty oil & creaminess of a Single Pot Still. Incomparable to anything I have tried before. Very much unique and a pleasure to say I’ve tried it. Now the wait is on till release. P.s. congrats to John on winning the World Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the year at The Icons of Whiskey Awards 2018.
A week or two before Whiskey Live Dingle released their eagerly awaited Single Malt Batch 2, with the Cask Strength yet to be released. I was lucky enough to get my hands on Single Malt Batch 2 the week previous so Mission – Taste Dingle Cask Strength Batch 2 was a go. Bottled at 60.1% ABV I personally think was just that bit too high. To say I was disappointed is wrong, it’s really nice whiskey, but the normal single malt just works perfect for me at 46.5% ABV. I was in my own little world trying the Cask Strength that I totally missed the fact that they had brought their Single Pot Still along which has everyone talking. Without a doubt I wasn’t passing up on the chance to try it, as more than likely I’ll not get my hands of a bottle when it’s released. From the tiny amount I was able to try as it was in high demand, I got a decent spice, good touch of fruit, a nice coating of the mouth and noticed it was young, but it worked. So on that note… Dear Santa
Dingle may I have a bottle for my 30th & Christmas, please!?
You never know who you’ll bump into at these shows, one such person was Shane Braniff founder of Echlinville Distillery. Now I had only met Shane once before a few weeks previous for an event with Irish Whiskey Magazine in Belfast. So when someone like this stops to chat and knows who you are it makes for a good day.
Echlinville were at the show in full force and had brought along their new Dunvilles Three Crowns Peated. This is again a case of canny wait till it’s released! Mark my word, and not just because I live very close to Echlinville, I honestly think they’re going to be playing with the big boys very soon. I was lucky enough to recently try a few new products, one being a 15y.o Dunnvilles Port Mourant Rum finish, which a few of us still won’t shut up about weeks later and not to forget Jim Murray’s Irish Single Cask of the Year 2018.
Whiskey Live Dublin is run by The Celtic Whiskey Shop so it was only fair I pay a visit to to them, not just because they had their exclusive to the shop Teeling 28y.o Single Cask, Powers Single Cask plus their newly released Redbreast Single Cask 1997 & 2001 1st fill sherry butt single pot stills on offer but the legend that is Beardy Dave was there for a chat.
I highly recommend the Redbreast 1997 Single Cask. A perfect flavour profile of wood, spice & dried fruits.
Two stands that really were aesthetically pleasing had to be Midleton and Powers. I’m told the Midleton stand has been the same as previous years.
Midleton had some amazing treats to taste, Midleton Very Rare 2017, selection of Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest, Barry Crockett Legacy and the Redbreast Range.
Powers had the full works also, Gold Label, Three Swallow Release, Signature Release and John’s Lane Release. There was also a little bottle of something under the table, a 19 year old, first fill bourbon, Powers. Perfect and to die for but sadly never to be released. It’s with mega thanks to a fellow Norn Iron man Joe Magowan I got to try it.
Some quick notes –
- Midleton V.R ’17 – The new bottle looks amazing, and the juice in’t half bad either.
- Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest – Tree 3, simply try Tree 3 if you can. I was lucky enough to try all 6 Trees last week thanks to Whiskey Club.
- Barry Crockett Legacy – first time ever trying it. So yeah I’m 30 tomorrow (28th Nov) if anyone wants to be nice and buy me a bottle!
- Redbreast Range – R.B 21, voted second best whiskey in the world by Jim Murray, it’s top stuff, though R.B 12 Cask Strength knows how to put a smile on this ugly mug.
Liam Sparks from The Artisanal Brand Company, was in town and thanks to Marthinus – Bourbon Paddy he knew of some stuff that Liam had hidden away. for us to try. Four unreal Canadian Whiskeys, from the Northern Border Collection, just ask Marthinus. It was at this stage that the s**t hit the fan for him after free pouring each one which meant he didn’t get to attend the evening show, though I can report back he went home very happy with what he got to try. Kids, remember, please drink responsibly like B.P by pouring full glasses of Lot 40 Cask Strength, G&W Little Trinity – Three Grain Blend, Pike Creek Single Malt Barrel Finish 21y.o and JP Wiser’s 35 y.o. when given the chance.
Jokes aside – Please drink responsibly. Visit Drink Aware for advice.
Across from the Midleton stand you’d find Teeling Whiskey with their trinity, Small Batch, Single Grain & Single Malt. Along with the trinity you could find Brabazon Bottling 2 plus the Irish Whiskey Awards, Irish whiskey of the year 2017, The Revival Vol.IV. Back in April at Whiskey Live London Stephen Teeling brought along a small bottle of Revival Vol.IV for his master class, I wasn’t let down this time either. I bumped into Stephen early during the evening show for a quick chat and took him up on the offer to pop by the stand later for a taste of something special once again. A 26y.o Single Cask pour from a glass milk bottle it seemed. It’s these things that really make the show, so cheers once again to Stephen. Maybe the next show it will be the final Revival??
The last person on my radar to have a chat with was Conor from Black Twist. I met Conor a number of weeks ago during a visit to Dave Mulligans popup bar, Bán Poitín – Bar 1661 and was very impressed with his product, so a catch aswell as a few pours of his hard coffee was the least I could do to help.
Black Twist – Hard Coffee, has a nice 25% alcohol content. Don’t dare think along the lines of Tia Maria, it so much better. This is roasted grade AA Arabic coffee beans, cold brewed in oak aged Irish Whiskey for 7 days and finally non-chilled filtered for maximum flavour. Feel free to use this in your grans Irish Coffee at Christmas to watch the party unfold! Though it is so much better drank cold.
No doubt after all my ramblings, you’re in need of a whiskey / coffee so I’ll wrap this up as quick as I can with the final few stops of my day along with some pics.
- The Dublin Liberties Distillery – try Copper Alley if you get the chance.
- Connacht Whiskey – Strawboys Poitin, thumbs up. Brothership Irish- American Whiskey, was decent but I’ll need to revisit for better verdict.
- The Quiet Man – No longer so quiet, winning awards and making a lot of noise. With a new distillery opened this year up in Derry good things will continue to roll out. Try the Quite Man 12y.o Sherry Finish.
- Walsh Whiskey – Fantastic stand. Solid juice. That Writers Tears Cask Strength is perfect. Sadly didn’t get to try The Irishman Cask Strength. A visit to the distillery is on the cards.
- The Great Northern Distillery – John Teeling is once again banging out the goods with his new distillery. Down the line a force to be played with in the third party world of whiskey. A 18 month old Peated Malt at 40% ABV was a very subtle nod towards the world of Islay Whisky. A few years down the line and you’ll more than likely taste it when someone buys it to bottle. Completely forgot to try the Burks, whoops!
- Glendalough Distillery – Revamped lables, looking well. They’re the only distillery in Ireland using Japanese wood for their Mizunara cask finish, 13y.o. single malt. Yummy to say the least. A distillery is due on the cards.
- Prizefight – emm, better when used with their Once Inch Punch.
- Mitchell & Sons – The new Green Spot Chateau Montelena smells fantastic, tastes okay. It’s simply just hard to beat Green Spot & Yellow Spot in my books. Each to their own I guess.
- Slane – Don’t let the word “blend” put you off. It’s a top end blend for sure. Going to become a big player down the line. Make sure to have a bottle in your bunker.
- Bushmills – Black Blush, FANTASTIC. Red Bush, avoid. Don’t get me started on Bushmills. Please just hurry up and sort things out up there. They can do so much better than steamship & Red Bush.
If you’ve got this far, well done and thank you for reading. Have a whiskey or two.
A few shout outs, cheers to The Celtic Whiskey Shop & Dave for helping me get a ticket. Joe Magowan for passing on his knowledge & listening to me ask silly questions once again. Last but not least David O’Connell for hooking me up with The Aldi – 26.y.o Irish Reserve. I can safely say this was the highlight for some people at the show. I made the mistake of taking it out of the bag to have a look and was swamped by people “Is that the Aldi bottle?” “where did you get it?” “Can you open it now?”.
ANYWAY… That’s me finished.
Until next year folks, Sláinte. Keep safe & keep drinking whisk(e)y responsibly.
Over & out.
Jamie. Whiskey JAC