Ireland. What did we learn?

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‘Edinburgh Whisky Blog’ . I was confronted in EWB towers by our secret insider to the Scotch Whisky industry, the Mole. ‘EDINBURGH, WHISKY, BLOG’ he repeated to me.

Ok, Lucas and I put our hands up. We have kind of deviated from topic lately. Lucas has been making beer (looking forward to tasting!) and we have both taken our first tentative steps into the world of Irish Whiskey. Variety is the spice of life. If you become to insular, you don’t learn. To be honest, from my trip to Ireland, there are definitely some things Scotland can learn.

Hospitality and Warmth

I think it is just a slight difference in culture. We spent the whole day with the most important people in Jameson. Barry Crockett (Master Distiller), Billy Leighton (Master Blender) , David Quinn (Master of Maturation), Brendan Buckley (Development Project Manager) and Jayne Murphy (Head of International Marketing for Irish Distillers). And you know what? After 5 minutes it felt like we had known them all our life. Intelligent, warm and personable people. I am not saying that Scottish people are miserable (we can be intelligent, warm and personable), I just don’t think our warmth comes across as quickly. I also think the higher up you get in business, the more reserved Scot’s seem to get.

Belief

These guys had a real belief about their product and operation. No self deprecation but at the same time, no arrogance. They encouraged our questions and answered them with aplomb. There was nothing that was considered top secret or out of bounds. Sometimes us Scots can be a little self deprecating and a little negative about what we do. We make a bloody good drop, we should be proud, but not arrogant.

A show of strength

Here I am going to revisit a theme that I have discussed before. Where is the Johnny Walker Visitor Centre? Where is a big history centre, that would also profile some of the different Whiskies that go into JW? Jameson not only have a visitor centre in Dublin, but also one in Cork. It is a show of strength and a show of pride in their home and history.

Surely, Diageo should have something similar? Ideally, as I wrote before, in Kilmarnock, but maybe to start with, in Glasgow. Have regular organised tours leaving from the visitor centre for Talisker, Cardhu and Islay. Have a shop, restaurant, bar and guided tour telling everyone why Johnny Walker is the best Whisky in the world. Have a Formula 1 Bar where people can watch Diageo sponsored F1 cars doing the business. Put me in charge of the whole thing!

Awesome Whiskey

I am now a very happy convert to Jameson, Redbreast and Midleton Whiskey. I actually reckon that the 2 best whiskies I have tasted this year are Balblair 2000 and Jameson 18yo. I would also have to admit that I am currently getting stuck into Redbreast 15yo, which is superb stuff.

I am interested to know, what are the best whiskies our readers have tried this year? I bet you have had some weird and wonderful stuff!

Chris

Comments

  1. Nicely said. They are very nice people, and opening up a lot. Very few got into Midleton’s new plant until recently.

    And they make fantastic, unique whiskey.

    John

  2. I can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle of Balblair ’00, do you guys know if it is coming to the Netherlands?

  3. Marco,

    Balblair 00 will be in the Netherlands towards the end of October, they are throwing a massive tasting for over 1000 people to launch it. It’s funny you asked that because I just bumped into their Dutch distributor in Pulteney:)

  4. Thanks, Lucas!

    In addition I have another – kind of weird for a blog – question. I am a marketing and communications student from the Netherlands and looking for an internship in Scotland. Do you know if the whisky industry is looking for students with my applied science study?

    Marco

  5. I just had the privilege of a similar trip to the new distillery and warehouses… Fantastic stuff. Tasted a 15 yr old port cask pure pot still that was the highlight of the year for me, whisky-wise… And a great bourbon cask too.

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