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Issue 115 - Spirit of the system

Whisky Magazine Issue 115
October 2013

 

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Spirit of the system

A celebration of whiskey links Dave with music and the land

The Housewarming' they called it, a cosy name for what was a mammoth two-day celebration of all manner of developments at Irish Distiller's Midleton distillery. There were tears for Barry Crockett's farewell as master distiller, cheers for Brian Nation's appointment and Barry's new role as archivist. There was the opening of the Irish Whiskey Academy, the greatest in-house education centre I've clapped eyes on.

I'd been at Midleton the year before and looked into a massive hole. Now there's a vast glass-fronted still-house with three massive pot stills – with three more to come. That'll be one hell of a warm house.

The cobbled courtyard of the old distillery was filled with food stalls offering local produce: seafood, charcuterie, pulled pork, steak, cheese.

Here were long drinks of Jameson and Paddy, music playing, and all done in a totally non-clichéd way. All of this was done without a hint of corporate arrogance. Rather there was pride in the achievements so far and confidence in the future.

I remember the last time that IDL threw a bash I spoke about a relation between traditional music and Irish single pot still. This time, the music got me again, but in a slightly different way.

The musical accompaniment to the Housewarming's evening feast culminated with The Chieftains, but had encompassed all manner of other styles and ages: a widescreen view of Irish musical talent.

It was Liam Ó'Maonlaí, singer with the Hothouse Flowers, who got to me the most powerfully...

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