There are not many things worth waking up or getting out of bed early for on a Saturday morning now that S.M.T.V Live or Live & Kicking are no longer on our screens. However when you’ve a coach to catch to Dublin for a tour of the Powers Quarter thanks to the folks at Powers Whiskey N.I then it’s fairly easy to find a spring in your step.
Trainers on, coffee drank it was then a case of Bloggers Assemble! (Yes, yes I have recently watched Avengers Endgame).
Belfast –> Endless amounts of M&S treats –> Dublin.
So what is the Powers Quarter – Well with Dublin being the original home to Powers in 1791 before it moved a few miles South to Midleton, Co. Cork in 1975 what better way to celebrate the history for one of Ireland’s most loved whiskeys.
The tour is a collaboration between Powers and six Dublin Bars/Pubs plus a number of locations along the way that have a connection to the brand.
The tour can be either self guided by downloading a map or a guided tour – Details here – Powers Quarter Tour
Stop 1 – The Oak
The Oak’s side bar is fitted out with wooden panelling that was once used on the RMS Mauretania, a luxury cruise liner that crossed the Atlantic from 1906 until 1934. The connection to Powers Irish Whiskey, well Powers was the drink of choice on the Mauretania. You were able to purchase 5 bottles of Powers Gold Label and have them delivered to your state room, tax free. Something that was well ahead of the time.
P.s. Pop up into the restaurant for a look at the Powers Quarter Map, a fabulous display mirror for the Mauretania, oh and don’t forget to try some of their oysters served with Powers Gold label.
Drink Choice – Powers Gold Label Irish Coffee topped with Terry’s Chocolate Orange
Side note – When walking between The Oak and The Thomas House take a look down at the ground around the Spar on your left and you’ll see the old Dublin City Walls. This is also marked with a change in colour of paving slabs, about a meter wide and runs across the width of the road. Once you cross over, you’re now outside the old city walls of Dublin and now in an area that was called “The Liberties”.
Stop 2 – The Thomas House
This pub being within a hop, skip & a jump away from the Johns Lane Distillery and lodgings, back in the day many of the staff could be found frequenting these premises after work maybe even on their lunch having a quick tipple or two.
Fun Fact – The Thomas House sell on average 4L’s of Powers Gold Label a weekend.
Drink Choice – Powers LVA
Nose: Vanilla notes followed by Pot Still Spices. Nutmeg and Black pepper are balanced by fruity notes of Red apple and Black Cherry.
Taste: The initial sip delivers a smooth mouth-coating with sweet fruity notes of Red apple and Citrus zest, balanced with the Herbs and Spices of this style of Pot Still Whiskey. Barley contribution along with American Oak are ever present adding to its complexity.
Finish: The richness of the Spices and Fruit is slow to fade, leaving the final word with the Barley.
Stop 3 – John’s Lane Distillery
What was once one of the biggest distilleries in the world is now home to The National College of Art & Design. Powers may be long gone but the Pot Stills are still standing. Take a look up at the buildings facade and you’ll see the old “P” for Powers branding. There are a few more, so try and spot as many as you can.
Take a walk through the grounds of the N.C.A.D and you’ll find 3 of the old Powers Pot Stills are still standing.
Stop 4 – St. Catherine’s Church
The Powers family were held in high regard, not only by their staff but by the wider general public. They done a lot for the local community, so much so the name “Power” can be found in a stained glass window (front right of church) and two pews dedicated to them (middle right & middle left).
Please remember this is a place of worship open to members of the public, so please be respectful.
Stop 5 – Fallon’s
A wonderfully old style pub that dates back to 1620. Not much has been changed since the Victorian times, a lot of the fittings remain in place. Take a look at their wooden back bar it’s got some serious character, not just because it’s slightly uneven.
Make sure to take a look at the original Powers mirrors made using gold leaf, they’ve got a few. If you had a mirror back in the day this was a sign of how good your pub was. Staff from Powers were sent around the pubs of Ireland to keep the mirrors in good condition.
Drink Choice – Powers Three Swallow
Nose: Pot Still spice combines with crisp barley character. Delicate herbs give way to green banana and grapefruit while a nutty note of marzipan reflects the wood contribution of specially selected casks.
Taste:In true Pot Still style, an initial taste delivers smooth mouth-coating barley followed by an eruption of green apple and citrus notes. Herbs and spicy avour are complemented by a touch of cedar wood for extra complexity.
Finish:Spicy sweetness gives way to Pot Still barley character balanced with a hint of sherry and leading to a crisp cereal finish with toasted oak notes.
Stop 6 – The Swan Bar
Back in the day The Swan bought barrels of whiskey directly from the distillery. Some of them barrel heads can still be seen within the bar today. It’s not just a history with Powers that The Swan has. Back in 1916 during the Easter Rising, The Swan Bar was caught in the middle of gun fire. To escape, staff & customers broke through walls. If you look closely you’ll still find evidence of this.
Drink Choice – Powers John Lane
Nose: An abundance of earthy aromas, leather, tobacco with layers of charred wood, dark chocolate and treacle toffee.
Taste: Full bodied spice front followed by vanilla, honey and dried apricot.
Finish: Lingering honey sweetness on toasted oak.
Stop 7 – Idlewild
Home of the “Baby Powers”. Back in 1889 this is where the first miniature spirit bottle in the world was produced. It just happened to be Powers Whiskey. Look up and you might just find some of the “Baby Powers” on display.
Drink Choice – Powers (Powered Up) Old Fashioned
An old fashioned that comes with a bottle of Baby Powers to top up your old fashioned when the ice melts or you may happen to like it a little stronger.
Stop 8 – The Market Bar
Unfortunately short on time we didn’t get to stop here.
Built in 1889, this building was once the Foreign Export & Bottling Hall where bottles of Powers Irish Whiskey were sent on their way around the world.
All in all another fantastic day at a Powers event with some of the best company you could ask for.
I’d highly recommend a guided tour for a hassle free day getting around and with the added benefit of all the knowledge your tour guide will bring. A week later I took a friend on the self guided tour, it was still good fun.
Some more photos –
Until next time, keep safe & keep drinking whiskey responsibly.
Over & out.
Jamie. Whiskey JAC