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Irish pot still

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Irish pot still

Postby Megawatt » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:43 pm

People seem to make a big deal out of Irish pot still whiskey, attributing unique flavours to it and elevating pure pot still whiskey to a higher plateau than an ordinary Irish blend.

My question is, what makes it any different than Scotch, in terms of the stills? Malt Scotch is made in pot stills too, but no one makes a big deal out of it. Is it the pot-distilled unmalted barley which separates pure pot still from common Scotch and Irish blends, as far as flavour is concerned?
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:31 am

Megawatt wrote:Is it the pot-distilled unmalted barley which separates pure pot still from common Scotch and Irish blends, as far as flavour is concerned?

Essentially, "Partially so." Irish pure pot still whiskey is produced exclusively from barley (which can be both unmalted and malted) distilled only in pot stills. No other grains. No spirit from continuous (variously termed Patent or Coffey) stills. Just the 'good' stuff. Redbreast is, amongst others, a classic example.
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:47 pm

Megawatt wrote:People seem to make a big deal out of Irish pot still whiskey, attributing unique flavours to it and elevating pure pot still whiskey to a higher plateau than an ordinary Irish blend.

My question is, what makes it any different than Scotch, in terms of the stills? Malt Scotch is made in pot stills too, but no one makes a big deal out of it. Is it the pot-distilled unmalted barley which separates pure pot still from common Scotch and Irish blends, as far as flavour is concerned?



Hi Megawatt,

And welcome to the Forums (Belatedly :wink: )

Firstly the term Pure Pot Still (PPS) has been in existance probably longer than the term Single Malt as a category of Whisk(e)y. However Pure Pot Still basically is a descriptor for a style of whiskey and describes the end product rather than the apparatus that is used to create it.


Secondly I would argue that people make more of a big deal out of Single Malts than anything else but because it is the norm people don't fully appreciate the hype behind Single Malts.

I would not say there is a big deal made out of PPS but it does rank higher than a regular quality Irish blend for a lot of us but not all. But because of the term Pure Pot Still there is always a small bit of confusion as to what exactly it is and therefore there is always a lot of discussion about it and it's make up.

It's make up is pretty much unique to Ireland as it is (currently)a mash of malted & unmalted barley and distilled as a single product. The single distilled spirit is then casked and aged as normal. But when it is bottled as a PPS it has not been blended in anyway so therefore is considered more of a premium whiskey like single malt.

Flavour wise all ... all whiskies have their own unique flavours as Laphroaig versus Talisker versus Glenrothes would attest.

However people do say it has a certain profile .... good PPS is a heavy oily whiskey with spice and fruitcake flavours and more often than not contain sherry matured PPS (eventhough it is also matured in Bourbon cask also).

Many Irish blends are Pure Pot Still based ... Most of the Jameson range and Powers

Redbreast & Greenspot are PPS whiskies.
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby Ganga » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:17 pm

IWC and Cathach sort of led the forums through a tasting of Irish Whiskies this past November. It was very interesting how different the flavors were between PPS, blended, single malt and single grain.

My hats off to our Irish folk for the choices provided as the choices covered the full spectrum. Interestingle enough the singel malt was one of my least favorites of the ones I tried while the PPS was among my favorites.
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:48 pm

Another issue to be wary of is that Irish is not as popular as Single malt Scotch on this forum. Therefore you find that a lot of the comments made on Irish topics are by people already fans of Irish whiskey and therefore you get a fairly biased view point with everybody saying how great this that and the other is .... and remember there are only 2 PPS readily available Redbreast 12yo & Greenspot and both are great eventhough you do come across some people that don't get Greenspot.

Lastly Redbreast 15yo which was a finite batch is now becoming a legend and is pretty much unavailable to buy any more. The 15 has convinced more malt drinkers to the delights of Irish than probably most other Irish whiskeys. And Irish enthusiasts extolled it's virtues ever before Jim Murray rated it 94points.

So that may be another reason why it sounds like PPS is always been hyped.
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby Megawatt » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:54 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
Megawatt wrote:People seem to make a big deal out of Irish pot still whiskey, attributing unique flavours to it and elevating pure pot still whiskey to a higher plateau than an ordinary Irish blend.

My question is, what makes it any different than Scotch, in terms of the stills? Malt Scotch is made in pot stills too, but no one makes a big deal out of it. Is it the pot-distilled unmalted barley which separates pure pot still from common Scotch and Irish blends, as far as flavour is concerned?



Hi Megawatt,

And welcome to the Forums (Belatedly :wink: )

Firstly the term Pure Pot Still (PPS) has been in existance probably longer than the term Single Malt as a category of Whisk(e)y. However Pure Pot Still basically is a descriptor for a style of whiskey and describes the end product rather than the apparatus that is used to create it.


Secondly I would argue that people make more of a big deal out of Single Malts than anything else but because it is the norm people don't fully appreciate the hype behind Single Malts.

I would not say there is a big deal made out of PPS but it does rank higher than a regular quality Irish blend for a lot of us but not all. But because of the term Pure Pot Still there is always a small bit of confusion as to what exactly it is and therefore there is always a lot of discussion about it and it's make up.

It's make up is pretty much unique to Ireland as it is (currently)a mash of malted & unmalted barley and distilled as a single product. The single distilled spirit is then casked and aged as normal. But when it is bottled as a PPS it has not been blended in anyway so therefore is considered more of a premium whiskey like single malt.

Flavour wise all ... all whiskies have their own unique flavours as Laphroaig versus Talisker versus Glenrothes would attest.

However people do say it has a certain profile .... good PPS is a heavy oily whiskey with spice and fruitcake flavours and more often than not contain sherry matured PPS (eventhough it is also matured in Bourbon cask also).

Many Irish blends are Pure Pot Still based ... Most of the Jameson range and Powers

Redbreast & Greenspot are PPS whiskies.


Thanks IWC, that is a wonderful reply (no disrespect to the other posters :wink: ). By "make a big deal", I meant how people like Jim Murray will praise a particular whisky for its high pot still content, and I never understood exactly why this was noteworthy when there are plenty of other non-Irish whiskies distilled exclusively in copper pots.

Now I think I understand what makes pure pot still whiskey different and desireable. So thanks again for that.
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:22 pm

Megawatt wrote:

By "make a big deal", I meant how people like Jim Murray will praise a particular whisky for its high pot still content, and I never understood exactly why this was noteworthy when there are plenty of other non-Irish whiskies distilled exclusively in copper pots.

Now I think I understand what makes pure pot still whiskey different and desireable. So thanks again for that.



Fair point ..... yes I suppose from that point of view you are correct ... Murray has always tried to talk it up (As do the likes of me and a few other PPS lunatics :wink: ) ... I like think more out of getting IDL (Irish Distillers Ltd) to up the ante in the PPS stakes and possibly release another Redbreast 15yo type PPS NCF at at least 46%. Has not worked yet thus far :( .




Collector57 wrote:
Megawatt wrote:Thanks IWC, that is a wonderful reply
Oh, Adrian knows his Irish! Great source of knowledge to tap there...
And lots of documentation on his website (follow the website link under his avatar on the right of his post)


Actually Nick I have neglected to put up some basic information like what is PPS :oops:

I really need to put up some explainations on the website soon.

I was fairly side tracked with just archiving/cataloging as many bottles as I could.
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby mulinho » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:21 pm

Ganga wrote:IWC and Cathach sort of led the forums through a tasting of Irish Whiskies this past November.



where might one find said tasting? is it on the forum somewhere, as this interests me. I've been tipping away at the single malts, but am keen to re-acquaint/introduce myself to some of the Irish whiskeys again. recently picked up a redbreast 12yo, and it's re-awakened some taste buds...

cheers,

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Re: Irish pot still

Postby cathach » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:51 am

If you're still interested this is the link, it's over on the ''whisky tastings'' section.

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=10168
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby mulinho » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:18 pm

cathach wrote:If you're still interested this is the link, it's over on the ''whisky tastings'' section.

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=10168


had a snoop around and found that, thanks.
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby cathach » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:24 pm

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Re: Irish pot still

Postby Jobi » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:50 pm

cathach wrote:For our American brethren:

http://.NOBAY./REDBREAST-15YR-IRISH-WHI ... 1|294%3A50


I wonder what the reserve price is....
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Re: Irish pot still

Postby Pure Pot Head » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:10 am

Hi All, jsut wanted to add my halpence worth on the Irish Pot Still discussion. You can tell by my user name that I'm a bit of a fan (as opposed to hash!). Yes, I'm Irish and biased etc but what I think is important as well as the taste is the historical relevence. We all know about the column still revolution, the subsequent rise of the Scottish Blend. The practice of combining grain whiskey with Pure Pot Still amongst the big Irish Distilleries happened very late in life. The Pure Pot Still represents the most direct link along with Scottish Single Malts to the heritage of the whiskey craft/production process, whatever you want to call it. Only about 5000 cases of Redbreast are made each year if even that so there's not a huge amount of money in it for a big international conglomerate like Pernod Ricard. It's kept alive more out of a desire to maintain the roots and traditions of the past, to never lose that historical methodology. It's a little bit like Jaguar always producing an E Type exactly as it was in the past and keeping it on sale along with the modern cars. Every whiskey fan should absolutely seek it out and include it in their repertoire along with great Scottish Single Malts and whiskies from other countries that represent those countries core traditional style. Some whiskies are like branches of a tree, some are part of the main trunk and some are the very roots themselves. Redbreast is very much part of the later category. The Irish Pure Pot Still is part of the very essence of the overall whiskey story. Jameson and Powers still include a major component of Pure Pot Still but Redbreast remains very much the representative style of Irish Whiskies as they were produced through the late 1700's, through the 1800's and right up to the second world war when they finally gave in to commercial pressure and brought in grain production. But isn't it great that they keep this tiny tiny brand alive as a sort of deferential nod to their past and their history. As for the taste versus say a Scottish Single Malt that also uses Pot Stills - two key diferences, the third distillation and the addition of green malt but that al cmes down to personal taste. The proportion of bourbon the sherry casks, the quality of those casks, the amount of times they're used, the relative temprature between Midleton in the South of Ireland and more Northern Scottish distilleries, the distillers cut between light Pot, Medium Pot and Heavy Pot and how these are combined all determines the taste. It's up to the whiskey enthusiast to look for these nuances in the taste and ultimately judge for themself what they like.
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