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After experiencing a total K.O. in the early 1900s during the Easter Rising and War for Independence in the UK and losing a valuable market to Prohibition in the USA between 1920-1933 (not to mention the great Trade War of 1930s), Irish Whiskey slowly but bravely got up on its feet again ready to fight back. Today, new, craftier brands continue the fight for respect. Young, highly driven, innovative, and independent, these Heroes of Hibernia represent the Irish Spirit at its strongest and most vital.
Let’s meet them:
In the first vial, hailing from Powerscourt Estate distillery, you’ll find Fercullen, a ferociously characteristic 10 Year Old Single Grain Irish Whiskey. Matured entirely in white oak for more than 10 years before being transferred to fresh Bourbon barrels, its balance is superb, its body light, and its flavour sweet and subtle.
In the second vial, from Clonakilty Distillery at the waterfront of the Atlantic Ocean, Clonakilty Galley Head Single Malt Irish Whiskey. Made from the hardiest of local natural resources, aged and finished in a combination of oak casks, re-toasted Wine barrels, and Bordeaux Red Wine barrels, and weathered by the sea, this is a complex maritime Whiskey with notes of oak spice, red berries, dark chocolate, and an insanely long, smooth finish.
In the third vial, coming from Walsh Whiskey distillery, it's Writers' Tears Copper Pot Whiskey. Known also as “Writers’ Deblocker”, this blend of Single Pot Still and malt Whiskey is triple distilled, 100% Pure Pot Still Whiskey matured in oak Bourbon barrels. Light, sweet and wonderful, it's a longtime Flaviar crowd favourite.
In the fourth vial, born in West Cork Distillers, “the Cork with the Torque” West Cork Black Cask Blended Irish Whiskey. Crafted from the perfect blend of grain and malt Whiskeys, this one’s body was chiselled in first-fill Bourbon casks for 3 years and perfected in heavily charred Bourbon casks for 1 year for a pleasant combination of malt notes, vanilla, and a lingering sweetness.
In the fifth vial, from the small Dingle Distillery, comes the final contender, the Dingle Single Malt Batch No.5. Trained by the moist and mild coastal micro-climate of the Dingle peninsula, this complex Whiskey received a steady ageing diet of Bourbon, Pedro Ximenez, and Madeira casks. Its flavour titles include delicious spice, honeycomb, and raisins.
1) There are three general Irish Whiskey varieties: ‘grain Whiskey’, primarily derived from corn, ‘malted barley Pot-Still-Distilled’, and ‘Pure Pot Still’ (or ‘Single Pot Still’ as it’s now officially known) — a combination of malted, unmalted ‘green’ barley distilled in copper pot stills.
2) Today, over 30 distilleries in Ireland are already up and running or in the process of being built, making Irish Whiskey one of the most dynamic Spirit categories out there. We’re suckers for a good comeback story.
3) Whisky or Whiskey? The spelling differs geographically. In Scotland, Japan, and some other parts of the world, distilleries usually spell it Whisky. In Ireland and the USA though, they spell it Whiskey.
4) Ireland has a proud history of producing great fighters — boxers, to be exact. One of their finest: Mike McTigue, the light heavyweight boxing champion of the world from 1923-1925. His 1923 bout against Battling Siki went on for a grueling 20 rounds before McTigue was proclaimed the winner. After a forced retirement at age 38, McTigue went on to run a successful bar on Long Island.
5) Poitin is a much lesser-known Irish Whiskey cousin. Thought of as one of the first Spirits ever made, this clear drink is distilled from the good ol’ potato—making Poitin (or Poteen) essentially an Irish Vodka.
6) The Buena Vista Café in San Francisco has served over 30 million cups of Irish coffee. Here’s the recipe: heat together four parts of coffee and one tablespoon of brown sugar in a pre-heated, clear-stemmed glass. Then, when the sugar dissolves, add two parts of quality Irish Whiskey, stir, and then wait for the brew to still. Over the backside of a hot teaspoon, pour the lightly whipped fresh cream (neither stiff nor runny), capping the mix below.
7) The official emblem of Ireland is the Harp, not the shamrock. The reason for shamrock’s fame is Saint Patrick as the legend goes he used it as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity — where the three leaves represented God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And here’s yet another misconception: shamrocks always have three leaves, while clovers can have a fourth leaf—thus the lucky four-leaf clover.