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Issue 74 - New Irish Dawn

Whisky Magazine Issue 74
September 2008


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New Irish Dawn

Much has been made of the Scotch whisky boom,but Irish whiskey is also in rude good health. Dominic Roskrow looks at the new kids on the block.

Irish whiskey finds itself in a good place right now. Not just in terms of sales but in terms of quality and product development too.

Dave Broom's recent series on the established players excellently captured the depth and breadth of thinking among whiskey makers in Ireland, and reflected the passion, commitment and dynamism in a country that a few years back seemed to have lost its way.

Perhaps it's because of the competition that Diageo's purchase of Bushmills has injected, perhaps it's the fact that Cooley has sharpened up its act. But it's probably all about quality. At a recent Irish whiskey tasting in London there wasn't one bad whiskey – and there was a lot of whiskey on show. Recent releases from Jameson's have been outstanding, Bushmill's has weighed in with the delightful 1608, and Cooley has a number of world class offerings, from the cask strength and peated Connemaras to the sublime Tyrconnell special finish range.

Now there are two new kids on what is still a very small block, and they're playing a crucial role in maintaining the national momentum: Wild Geese and Irishman. So who exactly are they?

Wild Geese is owned by Avalon Group Inc and is being marketed and distributed by marketing specialist Protege, whose traditional strength has been in travel retail but is now establishing itself on the global stage with Wild Geese and American premium beer Route 66.

The whiskey itself is distilled by Cooley and is being marketed in four guises – Classic Blend,...

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