Splash it on all over

Jameson Grace, a 1990s release aimed at the Asian market, which doesn’t explain why it looks like this: Grace even came in the same quantities as CK One – a startlingly tiny 20cl.  Still, if you think that packaging is odd, look at this ‘not snazzy enough for the Tesco Value range’ number:

More like Erin Go Blah, amiriteguise?

Today in ‘Things I Was Not Invited To’

If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise – I’m not there. Neither was I there yesterday for all these shenanigans. Half of Twitter was, but not me. That last tweet is from a UK drinks PR firm. I met one of their guys when I did the Irish Whiskey Academy here in Midleton last year. He told me I should start blogging, I felt like telling him I had been blogging like a champ for four years and a long time previous to that I had nearly been fired for a blog I had on MySpace (ask your folks). Anyway, here I am with an award-defying whiskey-themed blog and still no invite to the woods-based social event of the year, the launch of the new pot still whiskey from my hometown. Here’s the blurb:

Pernod Ricard has announced the launch of Midleton Dair Ghaelach, its first ever Irish whiskey to be finished in virgin Irish Oak Hogsheads.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach (58.5% ABV) meaning ‘Irish oak’, is the result of a six-year exploration by the Midleton Masters into using native oak to mature Irish whiskey. Led by Master Blender, Billy Leighton, and Kevin O’Gorman, Master of Maturation.

The project had two prerequisites. The first was to ensure that all Irish oak was sourced exclusively from sustainable Irish Oak forests that could guarantee both a long-term supply and the re-generation of native wood, while the second was to explore what new taste profiles could be created from Irish oak maturation to craft a new and outstanding Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

In collaboration with professional Irish forestry consultants, O’Gorman and Leighton selected Grinsell’s Wood within the Ballaghtobin Estate, Co. Kilkenny, to provide the oak for the first in a series of virgin oak releases in the coming years. Each bottle can be traced back to one of ten 130-year-old Irish oak trees in Grinsell’s Wood, which were felled in April 2012.

To craft the oak into casks, fellow artisans at the Maderbar sawmills in Baralla, north-west Spain, used the quarter-sawing process to cut the trees into staves under the watchful eye of the Midleton Masters. The staves were then transferred to the Antonio Páez Lobato cooperage in Jerez, where after drying for fifteen month the staves were worked into 48 Irish Oak Hogshead casks and given a medium toast.

At Midleton, a selection of traditional Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey distillates, matured for between 15 and 22 years in ex-Bourbon casks, were married together before being filled into the Irish oak Hogsheads. Leighton and O’Gorman nosed and tasted the whiskey each month and after almost one year, judged it to be beautifully balanced with just the perfect contribution of Irish oak.

Analysis shows that the Irish oak contains higher levels of some lignin derivative compounds, such as vanillin and vanillic acid, and furfural, in comparison to American and Spanish oak. These compounds further enhance the whiskey with vanilla, caramel and chocolate flavours, which are detectable on the nose of Midleton Dair Ghaelach and perfectly balance the classically rich, spicy Single Pot Still taste profile.

Commenting on the new release, Midleton Distillery Master Blender, Billy Leighton, said: “The process of maturing in native oak has enabled us to showcase our Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey style in a new and innovative way; the casks impart much more generous toasted wood, vanilla and caramel flavours than what we expect from American bourbon and Spanish oak, which we hope whiskey lovers will appreciate and enjoy.”

This uniquely Irish expression is the latest addition to the Midleton Single Pot Still family of whiskies, satisfies the growing appetite among whiskey lovers for discovering new and innovative styles of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, will be available through specialist retailers from April for a RRP of $250.

250!!!! Still, that’s only half me week’s dole, wha.

Mano, yano?

The official blurb is here:

Introducing Redbreast ‘Mano a Lámh’, the latest edition to the Redbreast Family available on limited release exclusively to our Stillhouse members.

Redbreast Mano a Lámh (meaning ‘hand in hand’ in Galician and Gaelic) is a story of craftsmen separated by almost 2000 miles from Jerez to Cork but drawn together by their shared passions, passed down from generation to generation. It is a story of collaboration and cooperation, of working hand in hand. Or to put it another way, ‘Mano a Lámh’.

Available exclusively to our Stillhouse members, ‘Mano a Lámh’ is a limited edition release of only 2000 bottles, priced at €65 (excluding shipping). It is now available to purchase via our online shop at www.singlepotstill.com/stillhouse/shop.

REDBREAST SINGLE POT STILL IRISH WHISKEY ‘MANO A LÁMH’ IS MORE THAN A FINE WHISKEY. IT’S THE COMING TOGETHER OF TRADITION AND PEOPLE, THEIR TALENTS AND THEIR PASSION.

IT’S ARTISANSHIP AND ABILITY. IT’S THE BEST OF EVERYTHING… HAND IN HAND.

Redbreast ‘Mano a Lámh’, celebrates the relationship and shared passions between the Midleton Distillery and the collective of artisans in Spain, which have crafted our sherry butts for more than 20 years.

Once felled in the forests of Galicia, north-west Spain, the 150 year old wood is treated by some of the country’s most prestigious craftsmen. The Antonio Páez Lobato Bodega crafts the oak into casks, which are then seasoned with Oloroso sherry for two years at the Páez Morilla Bodega in the nearby sherry capital of the world, Jerez. The sherry is then decanted and the butts are transported by boat to the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, to be filled with new-make Single Pot Still Irish whiskey for maturation.

Kevin O’Gorman, Head of Maturation.
“We selected three very special casks. We focused in on the sherry element of Redbreast, people love the sherry contribution- the dried fruits, the sultanas, the raisin the nutmeg, the cinnamon, that sort of flavour profile. We’ve taken this out of Redbreast 12 and focused in on it for ‘Mano a Lámh’.”

Billy Leighton, Master Blender.
“For me, Redbreast ‘Mano a Lámh’ offers a distinctive, rich whiskey with intense flavours of dried fruit, which gives way to the perfection of the Spanish oak, but I look forward to hearing what our Stillhouse members think of this rare expression.”

Here’s what I think: I bought two and am currently trying to find a way around the purchase limit to buy two more. And I have no job. 

Mouth wide shut

Ever wanted to try a full-bodied 30-year-old? On Valentine’s Night? Course you didn’t! Anyway:

There’s one idea that’s been percolating in Bompas & Parr’s collective consciousness for a little while now but has lain dormant while we considered the practical and ethical considerations of hosting an anatomical whisky tasting. This involves a fine, 25-year-old single malt paired with a 25-year-old performer, 30-year-old spirits with a 30-year-old and onwards, up to august, rare 50-year-old drams coupled with a half-century-old partner.

What makes it anatomical? The spirits will be drunk from the natural contours of the performers’ bodies, each born the same year the liquid was put in a cask.

There are gustatory and intellectual benefits to the practice, The heat of the body will raise the temperature of the whisky, helping to showcase the flavours as guests form a uniquely intimate bond with the performers.

Visit the Ace Hotel London Shoreditch on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, 14th February to use your tongue to explore the fancy body-shot and reflect on the implications of ageing of spirits and humanity alike.

Of course, older spirits are typically seen as more desirable. So there’s recompense for the fact that you are sipping your 50-year-old whisky from the naval of a half-century-old Hell’s Angel (well, that’s how we envisage it at least)!

Each performer will furthermore be asked to tell the compelling story of their life – the same length as that of the spirits to being sampled. This will both help elevate the practice of body-shots and grasp the full magnitude of the years the spirit has lain in cask, slowly gaining in complexity and maturity.

Because nothing says ‘exciting Valentine’s night out’ like sucking hooch out of the crevices of a 40-something in a hotel function room with 30 other demented weirdoes.

Just don’t order a 12-year-old single malt.