Scotch? Those provincial rivals of ours?

When I was at Midleton last week they played this video to us on the distillery tour. It’s absolutely priceless! It tells the history of pot still Irish whiskey and, to an extent, modern distilling in general, from an Irish perspective. Scotch is portrayed as pretty evil… A handful of funny bits below.

02:13 It was Irish pot still then and not Scotch that turned the world onto whisky

Really? Probably Scottish historians would disagree. But hey, it’s not a vicious attack or anything, right? Or is it…

06:05 They (Irish distillers) knew that Irish pot still whiskey was a premium product (by comparison to Scotch), that they were making the best whisky in the world

Hmm, perhaps a bit unjust but still forgiveable.

06:24 But the Dublin distilleries persevered. They inserted the letter ‘e’ into the word whisky to distinguish their superior product from that of their provincial rivals

Now we’re talking! Provincial rivals, bless them. I think I can hear some jealousy ringing in this one.

08:25 And that was the time (the Economic War between Ireland and Britain after 1922) when Scotch whisky took its first big step into international trade

This is my favourite line of all. Not only are they completely marginalising the position of Scotch on the international market prior to the 1920′s and, by doing so, disregarding legendary Scotch ambassadors like Tommy Dewar or the Walkers and the otherwise unquestionable success of their brands; they are also tying in the success of Scotch with the decline of Irish whiskey and with the political situation in the Republic. So in effect, the success of Scotch was down to the Irish.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand their motivation for saying all these things – after all they are proud of their heritage and their product and they want to do well. And I do appreciate that single malt Scotch as a category is now in direct competition with the lovingly revived single pot still whiskeys of Midleton. But hey, don’t you think they are making themselves come across a bit, well… naff by wording things so liberally in their promotional video? It smacks of inferiority complex and is, in my opinion, unnecessary. Irish whiskey doesn’t need to be pitched against Scotch every step of the way and a video about the history of Irish whiskey doesn’t need to mention Scotch every 5 seconds.

Still, I found the video to be an enjoyable watch, it is well done and beautifully shot.


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