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Irish whiskey-for a scothdrinker seeking new experiences...

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Irish whiskey-for a scothdrinker seeking new experiences...

Postby Eirik » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:08 pm

Hi

I just wanted to know which irish whiskey is good, which ones are your favourites? Anyone know what the irish themselves prefer?

I've just tasted Tullamore Dew 12 yr which was all right. Want to get to know more whiskies than just those found on Islay...;)

thanks,
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Postby hpulley » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:28 pm

I like Redbreast 12yo and Jameson 18yo but I prefer most scotch to both of them.

Harry
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:52 pm

The Bushmills 10 is nice and if you have a chance try the Midleton Very Rare, it's one of the better ones.
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Postby SasquatchMan » Sat Nov 13, 2004 1:04 am

It kind of depends on what you want... as far as I can tell, the Irish drink a lot of beer.

If you want an Irish that is similar to Scotch, then maybe the Bushmills 16 yr... but if you are looking for something that is different than Scotch, something more along the lines of Redbreast or some other pure pot still whiskey would interest you.

I like Bushmills 10 as well, Lawrence. Very malty but balanced.
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Postby Aidan » Sat Nov 13, 2004 1:54 am

The Irish drink Powers mostly, but it's now a close run thing. The real taste of Iri sh whiskey can be found in the pure pot still and the blends with a good deal of pure pot still in them.

There's a lot of snobbery when it comes to whisk(e)y, which I believe is holding Irish whiskey back. Try the Jameson 12, Jameson 18, Middleton 2003, Redbreast, Powers, Powers 12, Greenspot for a good representation of Irish whiskey. The best whiskey in the world for me, and completely unique to Ireland.

If you like malt and would like to try Irish, then there's the Cooley brands and Bushmills. Connemara, Connemara 12, Tyrconnel, Locke's, Blackbush, ....
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Postby SasquatchMan » Sat Nov 13, 2004 2:52 am

Aidan, while I won't argue about the snobbish element in the Scotch drinking crowd - I would point to the Bruichladdich situation for example. A whiskey that if it sold for $30 instead of $60, people would spit out. But sell it with a glass and charge a lot - well, it MUST be good.

Snobbery notwithstanding, I think what's holding Irish Whiskey back is that it doesn't have a bunch of things that Scotch drinkers like Scotch for. It doesn't have the range of flavours, the range of potencies or sweetness, variety of peatiness etc that Scotch does. In addition to that, the pure pot still whiskey has a very distinct flavour which some (and I am one) do not find very enticing. I was REALLY disappointed with Redbreast, for instance. Kind of like sucking on a penny. Bad Whiskey? No. Fabulous whiskey, which I happen not to like.

I think Irish and Canadian whiskies are both in the same sort of market. The Scotch crowd finds them bland, and the rest of the liquor hounds would rather drink tequila, or rum, or any of the million other drinks that are around. Which is to say, the market is kind of limited.
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Postby Frodo » Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:48 am

Eric:

Hat's off to you for your willingness to try different kinds of whisky. 8) Firstly, I'd like to reinforce Sir Sasquach's ideas regarding comparing Scotch to Irish and Canadian whiskies. Scotch tends to have more variation - lowland vs Islay - than you will find in the other traditions. Irish and Canadian whiskies tend to have more subtle flavours as well as less variation within their styles when compared with Scotch.

One reason for this is that the Canadian and Irish whisky markets are dominated by a couple of big corperations. In Canada it's Segrams and (I forget), and in Ireland it's Irish Distillers and Cooleys. Without a history of competition, these companies owned their markets, and the consumer was stuck with what was being offered. I feel that in Canada, this is slowly being challanged by newer distileries such as Alberta Distillers in Alberta, and Kittling Ridge in Grimsby, Ontario. I'm not sure what's going on in the Irish marketplace, so I'll leave that to those more informed. To me, it seems like Irish whisky companies are trying to compete in the Scotch markets and that may be the motivation for varied products coming out now such as the Bushmills line (10, 16, 21yr OB).

Frodo
Last edited by Frodo on Sat Nov 13, 2004 10:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Frodo » Sat Nov 13, 2004 8:15 am

In terms of which Irish whiskies are good, that depends on your palete. The biggest selling Irish whisky in Ireland is Powers Gold Label, although outside Ireland it's Jameson. If you're used to Islay Scotch, I'd recommend Conemarra single malt, for when I tried it, my first thought was that I wouldn't be able to differentiate between this and a highland malt in a blind tasting.

If you wanted to try something different, I'd point you in the direction of something uniqely Irish - pure pot still - which uses both malted and unmalted barly. To my knowledge, Scotch (blended) doesn't use unmalted barly. Redbrest and Greenspot are examples of this, and both work over your tastebuds in an interesting fashion. Greenspot doesn't take any prisoners, but is much harder to find. Redbrest (in my neck of the woods) is reasonably priced, and gives that pure pot still character less agressively. Pure Gallus :D !!! (I think that's the term.)

Very reasonably priced are Black Bush and Jameson 12, which are sherried, light and great value. I have some issues with the value given by the single malts - the 10yr Bushmills would probably be incredibly booring to a dedicated Islay fan. Other expressions of Bushmills have finishes (16yr in port pipes, and 21 in Madiera casks). Middleton VR is a really good example of top-notch whiskey, buy it's cost makes it's value questionable in my eyes. Conemarra is OK, and I've never tried Lockes or Kilbeggan.

Hope some of this helps
My, but I do like to ramble on sometimes... :oops:

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Postby Aidan » Sat Nov 13, 2004 10:17 am

Sasquatch man

It is true that there isn't as large a range of Irish whiskeys as there is Scotch, but this is down to the number of distilleries. Dismissing it because of the number of whiskeys is like saying that you don't like Springbank because there are only ten whiskeys coming from the distillery, while there's hundreds coming from the other distilleries. In fact, I would say the Middleton distillery in Cork produces a larger range of flavours than any other distillery I've come accross.

Regarding the Scotch crowd finding them bland, well, all the top whisky writers now hail Irish whiskey. I don't see Murray, Pacult or Broom calling them bland, because bland they certainly are not. Not even Michael Jackson calls them bland, even though he's partial to the more peated monsters.

I also know for example that scotch lovers who might be dismissive (as am I) of Bushmills find it excellent when tasting blind.

As probably noted before here, Irish whiskey used to be the biggest selling whiskey in the world, but the industry shrunk due to a number of unfortunate incidences, as Frodo eluded to. It wasn't because the world was mistaken, it was because it was and still is a superb product with complexity and beauty.

Irish whiskey is growing fast, from a very small base. This is because of its quality and its increasing exposure on the shelves.

Anyway Sasquatch, I'm not having a go at anyone here, and I respect your opinoin, but I hope nobody is put off trying it by by people saying it's not as good as scotch, because it is - and I am a scotch lover too.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:54 pm

I think part of the puzzle is that a lot of us started with scotch and now when we try the product of another country we are making a comparison. I think this is natural but can lead to comments that Irish whisky is 'bland' when it's not bland but simply not as aggressive (?) as the whiskies of Scotland. After all a lot of Irish whiskies are distilled 3 times are they not? It's designed to be a lighter whisky and it's not trying to compete with an Islay so it should not be compared to such. I think a fairer comparison would be Canadian whiskies which are also designed to be lighter as they're competing for the US market where are lot of drinkers like a very light whisky with loads of ice and water.

At the end of the day if you do a careful nosing and tasting you'll find a lot to like in whiskies from various countries. However the exception to the rule is the 'whisky' I had from Malaysia, it tasted like burning tires, it was truly awful.
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Postby SasquatchMan » Sat Nov 13, 2004 8:17 pm

Aidan, I certainly don't mean to be putting Irish whiskey down. I thoroughly enjoy the Bushmills malts. They have a delicate but earthy flavour, and a certain kind of pureness about them that I really like.

My post was more an answer to the direct question of why Irish whiskey isn't more popular, and I think the fact is that most Scotchophiles prefer scotch and will continue to drink scotch. The mixing crowd will continue to purchase Captain Morgan. So where does Irish fit into the world drinking realm? For most people, it's just seen as "weak" Scotch. I disagree with this sentiment, but I think that's the perception.

I don't happen to like RedBreast very much, but I would never say it's not a good or worthy whiskey - you can taste the quality. I just happen not to particularly enjoy that taste. I have tried a fairly large variety of Irish, and I like the Bushmills 16 the best so far.

I'm happy to see the snobby scotch crowd finally opening up to whiskey traditions other than Scottish. It's easy to dismiss non-Scotch if you think it should compare to scotch. But without the preconceptions, there are a lot of terrific whiskeys out there, including some of the wonderful Bourbon that is becoming available.

Frodo, the other Canadian giant is Hiram Walker (unless Seagram bought them too).
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Postby Aidan » Sat Nov 13, 2004 8:36 pm

SasquatchMan wrote:Aidan, I certainly don't mean to be putting Irish whiskey down. I thoroughly enjoy the Bushmills malts. They have a delicate but earthy flavour, and a certain kind of pureness about them that I really like.

My post was more an answer to the direct question of why Irish whiskey isn't more popular, and I think the fact is that most Scotchophiles prefer scotch and will continue to drink scotch. The mixing crowd will continue to purchase Captain Morgan. So where does Irish fit into the world drinking realm? For most people, it's just seen as "weak" Scotch. I disagree with this sentiment, but I think that's the perception.

I don't happen to like RedBreast very much, but I would never say it's not a good or worthy whiskey - you can taste the quality. I just happen not to particularly enjoy that taste. I have tried a fairly large variety of Irish, and I like the Bushmills 16 the best so far.

I'm happy to see the snobby scotch crowd finally opening up to whiskey traditions other than Scottish. It's easy to dismiss non-Scotch if you think it should compare to scotch. But without the preconceptions, there are a lot of terrific whiskeys out there, including some of the wonderful Bourbon that is becoming available.

Frodo, the other Canadian giant is Hiram Walker (unless Seagram bought them too).


Sasquatch,

I'd pretty much agree with you there. I'll be drinking wine tonight - and thank God the Irish don't make that.

Aidan
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Postby SasquatchMan » Sat Nov 13, 2004 10:16 pm

You haven't heard of Paddy's Revenge Cabernet? :lol:
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Postby Frodo » Sun Nov 14, 2004 3:01 am

Lawrence wrote: However the exception to the rule is the 'whisky' I had from Malaysia, it tasted like burning tires, it was truly awful.


Sounds like a really intence bouqet. Pine trees burning in the forest in the autumm with the mossy earth in the wind. MMmmmm. Oh, tires, burning tires!! :!: Not so good...

Paddy's Cab revenge???? :mrgreen:

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Postby Frodo » Sun Nov 14, 2004 7:35 am

Back to the origional thread, there is a blended Irish called Inishowen that can be found under "whiskies of the world". It seems to be an Irish blend that has peated malt in it. I've never heard of it, and it doesn't sound all that. But I am a little curious. Anyone tried it? Would this be something Erik might find paletable?

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Postby Lawrence » Sun Nov 14, 2004 8:29 am

Is it available from the LCBO? It sounds interesting, I've never tried it or even heard about it until now.

http://www.cooleywhiskey.com/_products/inishowen.shtml

Jim Murray's comment in his 2004 bible is'Someone has stolen the peat and replaced it with cream toffee' :D
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Postby Frodo » Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:27 am

Not available at the LCBO. Too bad though.
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