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Issue 117 - Into the limelight

Whisky Magazine Issue 117
February 2014


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Into the limelight

Taking up the reins can be daunting but Irish Distillers' new master distiller is relishing the opportunity

Stepping into the shoes of Barry Crockett, the man who effectively reinvigorated the Irish Whiskey market, would be overwhelming for most people, but for his pupil of 10 years it is a challenge but also an honour.

Brian Nation took up his new job at the distilling helm of Irish Distillers late last year and found himself taking care of the quality and consistency of some of the world's most sought after whiskeys.

In recent years Irish whiskey has grown phenomenally, with Jameson increasing sales year on year particularly in the USA. In 2011 Irish Distillers set itself the task of releasing two single pot still expressions every year for the next 10 years. To date we have seen Redbreast 21 Years Old, Yellow Spot, Powers Johns Lane, Powers signature reserve, Paddy Centennial and of course Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy, the first time since John Jameson that an Irish Distillers product has been named after a master distiller.

Let alone following the man who as been the custodian and saviour of the pot still style of whiskey for the last 47 years, just how is Brian going to cope with achieving 20 new expressions in the next 10 years?

"We are very lucky with the distillery and the expanded distillery as we have a lot of inbuilt flexibility;" Brian explains.

"Take the pot stills; you can change your mashbill or change the fermentation time, but the real difference comes with the cut points you make from your wash still to your feints to the spirit."

However this flexibility ...

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