Emily Says . . . . ‘The Dark Stuff’

Guinness 2

In her eleventh feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at her trip to Dublin and the Guinness Store;

The life of Emily Puckering strongly revolves around all things alcoholic, and despite the gloomy reality that I don’t spend that much of my time actually drinking, I do get the few opportunities to venture out of Manchester and explore some of the finest beverages that the world has to offer.

I spent a weekend in one of Ireland’s most renowned drinking spots, Dublin. And what is it that Dublin is so famous for? The Dark Stuff… or more commonly known as Guinness! Being one of the world’s most recognised stouts, I had high expectations of the quality of Guinness that Dublin had to offer. But firstly, what exactly is this dark stuff?

The story of Guinness dates all the way back to 1759, when a young Arthur Guinness found himself in Dublin and opened a brewery at St. James’s Gate. Rather than doing what every other brewery was focusing on; brewing ale, Guinness focused upon making the perfect porter.

By the time the 1800s came around, Guinness took that extra step forward and began exporting their famous black beer around the world, ranging from Africa to New Zealand. With Guinness being enjoyed all over the world, its popularity grew rapidly and a love for its unique taste was kindled.

With an ABV of 4.2%, Guinness provides the perfect balance of bitter and sweet with its malted and roasted characteristics. But it is the production of the porter that truly makes it one of a kind. Guinness brewers were the first to introduce the combination of nitrogen and carbon dioxide to draught beer. This resulted in Guinness’ velvety smooth texture and its unique settle, something it would very quickly become famous for.
It is water, barley, roasted malt extracts, hops and a unique Irish yeast that go into the production of Guinness. A large portion of the barley is roasted, which is what gives the dark colour and characteristic taste.

Many mistake the colour of Guinness for being completely black, when it is in fact a ruby red. The flavour provides a rather unexpected light body, in contrast to what the overall appearance suggests on first impression. The light body alongside the velvet-like texture delivers a beautiful drinking experience. Upon the first taste, strong notes of coffee and chocolate are present with some slightly fruity characteristics. The bitterness of the hops finish the taste with subtly dry notes.

Visiting the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin was an experience one doesn’t easily forget. The history of Guinness is told through a timeline that consists of over six floors, ending with the famous Gravity bar overlooking the city; with Guinness being served on draught of course!

Furthermore, if you find yourself in Dublin, a visit to St. James’s Gate is an absolute must, as is getting yourself a pint of the dark stuff on your next visit to a bar, whether that’s in Dublin or down at your local; the dark stuff isn’t as scary as it looks…

Home Of Jameson Re-Opens Following €11 Million Investment


Irish Distillers, Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys, has announced the reopening of the home of Jameson in Smithfield, Dublin, following a total investment of €11 million. The new look ‘Jameson Distillery Bow St.’ brand home, which was officially opened by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe today, will support the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy target of trebling the number of Irish whiskey tourists visiting Ireland annually, to 1.9 million by 2025.

As Jameson continues its phenomenal growth story, with 27 years of consecutive growth, the redeveloped Jameson brand home draws on cutting-edge technology to complement the historic surroundings of this iconic distillery and deliver an unforgettable storytelling experience. Three fully-guided tours are offered: ‘The Bow St. Experience’ tasting tour focuses on the stories of Jameson’s rich heritage and on-going innovations while ‘The Whiskey Makers’ and ‘The Whiskey Shakers’ experiences provide more in-depth whiskey and cocktail masterclasses, both including the opportunity to sample whiskey straight from a cask in the distillery’s new live maturation house.

Speaking at the opening of Jameson Distillery Bow St., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD said: “Each year, over 600,000 tourists pass through Irish whiskey visitor centres to experience first-hand the heritage behind this time-honoured spirit and hear the stories of established and emerging distilleries. The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy aims to treble this figure to 1.9 million visitors by 2025 and Jameson Distillery Bow St. will undoubtedly play a central role in delivering on this vision. Smithfield and its wider Dublin environs have a rich history and vibrant cultural scene which will also continue to attract and enthrall visitors from near and far.”

Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers said: “As the home of Jameson, Smithfield has an incredibly important place in our history. We’ve grown up on Bow Street and welcomed over 4 million whiskey lovers through our doors since the opening of the Old Jameson Distillery brand home in 1997. With this latest investment, we place storytelling at the core of the visitor experience, drawing on state of the art technology to bring the 230-year history of Bow Street to life, with a variety of tour options to cater for everyone – from those who may be discovering Jameson Irish whiskey for the very first time, to long-standing Jameson enthusiasts who are seeking to further their understanding of this much-loved spirit. The success of Irish whiskey is a success story for Ireland and we look forward to welcoming whiskey-lovers from across the globe and sharing our story with them.”

Ray Dempsey, who has been General Manager at the Jameson brand home in Smithfield since its opening in 1997, added: “We have had the privilege of calling Bow Street home since 1780 and we’re delighted with our new makeover. Visitors can look forward to immersive storytelling where they will be invited to touch, smell and most importantly, taste Jameson in the original Bow St. Distillery building. As Smithfield continues to experience a cultural resurgence, we’re incredibly excited to be part of this thriving community and look forward to being here long into the future.”

Construction work began in September and was led by BRC Imagination Arts, Dublin based firm TOTP Architects and Flynn Management & Contractors, with approximately 100 people employed as part of the redevelopment work. BRC Imagination Arts is one of the world’s leading experience design and production agencies specialising in the creation of next generation brand experiences. Founded in 1981, past clients of BRC include the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta; the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

To book tickets for the Jameson Distillery Bow St., visit http://www.jamesonwhiskey.com

Jameson’s Fifth St. Patrick’s Day Bottle Marks Launch Of Global Celebrations

Photo: Eoin Holland - www.eoinholland.com

Jameson, the world’s favourite Irish Whiskey, has unveiled its fifth limited edition bottle ahead of its St. Patrick’s Day 2016 celebrations. Created by Dublin street artist, James Earley, the bottle is designed to mark Jameson’s #BeOriginal celebrations launching in Dublin and around the world this March.

Earley’s design is inspired by the bridges crossing the River Liffey, the backbone of Dublin. His design reflects how these physical structures represent the soul of modern Dublin by linking together spaces, people and ideas. Taking key aspects from great Irish bridges including the Grattan, Sean O’Casey and Samuel Beckett, Earley demonstrates his passion for the Irish capital through intricate details such as the Atlantis and Anna Livia visual icons. Alongside the visual interpretations, Earley uses the slogan “Dublin, our city”, reinforcing the welcoming atmosphere of the city.

The bottle is supported by the Jameson #BeOriginal social media campaign, which is running in 12 markets in the lead up to and throughout March. Jameson fans are encouraged to share their original and authentic St. Patrick’s celebrations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a chance to win a trip to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day 2017.

Jameson LEB - cut out shotThe Jameson #BeOriginal campaign culminates in a three-day celebration in Dublin around St. Patrick’s Day hosted by Jameson in its spiritual home city. Bringing to life the sights, sounds and provenance of Dublin in a modern way, the festivities include: a journey through underground Dublin from a local’s perspective; a walking tour of James Earley’s art, led by Earley himself; and the Bow Street Sessions 2016 gig, featuring internationally-known talent including Kodaline, Little Hours and July Talk.

Daniel Lundberg, Global Brand Director for Jameson, comments: “Jameson’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations have always been authentic and personal and the #BeOriginal campaign continues this long tradition. Our limited edition bottle represents the best of what it means to be Irish – to be part of a lighthearted, confident and inclusive family – an ideal enthusiastically embraced by John Jameson himself. We look forward to welcoming the winners of the #BeOriginal campaign to Dublin next year!”

Jameson’s #BeOriginal campaign is supported by a range of POS and promotional materials available for the on-trade, off-trade, travel retail and on e-commerce, including; tent cards, furniture, pallet wraps, gondola ends, shelf strips and Jameson editions of well-loved bar games. The fifth limited edition bottle will be available in 38 markets around the world from March 2016, with a recommended retail price of €24 or local equivalent.


A St Patrick’s Weekend With Jameson

Jameson Old Distillery

St Patrick’s day is celebrated the world over. It’s a time where all bars in the UK and USA especially, will dress to the colours of Ireland and promote their Irish offerings to the masses that will swarm through their doors. It’s inevitable, and there’s no way to escape it. To me, working in the trade always throws up me serving drinks or hosting a Irish master class, but this year, I had it a little different. Jameson, one of my all time personal favourites, invited me to experience the homeland of both the whisky, and St Patrick’s Day itself last weekend as I travelled to Dublin.

Dublin is a place I’ve never been to before, so jumping at the chance to take in a tour, as well as experience St Patrick’s Day in the way of the Irish meant that the early flight over made no harm to my spirits. The Marker Hotel, alongside the water of the Grand Canal Quay, would be home for three days as not only myself, but an abundance of bartenders from South America, DJ’s from around the world, and fellow UK journalists Gary Sharpen of Cocktail Lovers, Holly Motion of Drinks International, Melita Kiely of The Spirits Business and Alice Howarth of GQ. It’s here that over the course of the day, we mingled and chatted until our first port of call – Master Cooper demonstration with Midleton Master Cooper Ger Buckley.

A short walk from the hotel brought us to a disused space, transformed into a Jameson pop-up, complete with bar, barrels and of course, plenty of Jameson to sample. Hosted by Ger Buckley, he explained the art and craft of a process that although many of us brush off and take little notice in, it ultimately defines each whisky expression we enjoy. A fifth generation Master Cooper, and one of only four coopers working at whiskey distilleries in Ireland, Ger has plenty of passion for his trade, explaining that up to 50% of the taste comes from the wooden barrels. Always white American oak too, as red oak leads to seeping of the whiskey, a crime not worth thinking about! Re-charring is also an art form, a process that Ger explains is necessary to give the richness of Jameson and its various expressions.
One of the newer expressions within the Jameson portfolio (at least to the UK as South American have already experienced), the Black Barrel Select Reserve, takes on the re-charring process a little differently, charring at a deeper level to acquire the toasted flavours and notes needed.

Speaking of the Black Barrel Select Reserve, we had the opportunity to enjoy a dram or two of this, alongside the Jameson Original –

Jameson Black Barrel
Jameson Black Barrel

Jameson Original – 40%

Matured for at least seven years. Soft hints of vanilla on the nose with a light, smooth aroma boding well for the long offering on the palate. Smoother offering of grain and honey with a slight dryness near the end

Jameson Black Barrel Select Reserve – 40%

A good blend of soft caramel and toffee aromas on the nose, with both carrying on to the palate. The caramel becomes a little salted, with pepper flavours mixing with spice to create a lingering finish.

Soon after the demonstration, it was straight to L. Mulligan Grocer for food and tipples. As the name suggests, the venue was back in the day a grocery shop, turning into a pub around the 1960’s, yet keeping its name right until the present day, where it is now a whiskey, beer and fine food emporium. Passing a well stocked Irish whiskey bar, we were led to the back of the venue, where long wooden tables were situated, ready for us to join and dine on the likes of scotch eggs, fine food burgers, and dark chocolate mousse. To wet the whistle, we had the first of the weekends many Jameson varieties; The Black Barrel, consisting of Jameson Black Barrel, orange bitters, grapefruit juice and Fever Tree ginger ale. To finish this particular visit though, we were recommended by one of our tour guides Jane Myron the best Irish Coffee in town, using coffee from Bailies Roastery in Belfast, Jameson and Glenisk organic fresh cream. Spot on!

Midleton Master Cooper, Ger Buckley
Midleton Master Cooper, Ger Buckley

Once finished, we were to be visiting the Old Jameson Distillery, where indie band White Lies were performing an exclusive acoustic set within, beamed live by New York based East Village Radio. VIP guests a plenty, Jameson signature serve in the Jameson & Ginger were on trays, alongside Jameson Whiskey Sour to wet the whistle, all in the confines of the now tourist attraction (don’t worry, Jameson is now produced in Cork at the Midleton Distillery). It was also odd to see on the floor glass windows, looking onto the brick structures that held the original wash backs. It would have been here that the fermentation of the whiskey would have taken place. It all added to the experience; drinking Jameson, inside the Old Jameson Distillery on St Patrick’s weekend. Perfect!

The last venue to visit for the evening came in the form of a third floor lounge. Peruke & Periwig, a rather stunning bar setting, invited us in to enjoy the likes of The Smoking Gun; Jameson, tobacco liqueur, Bénédictine and bitters, as well as a Harry Houdini; Sazerac Rye, Fin de Cognac, honey, bitters and an absinthe rinse. A wall full of books on one side, and a fire place with framed Victorian-esque images hanging from either side, complete with small tables and chairs to give that really intimate feeling, I’d say it’s a perfect escape from the noise and bustle of St Patrick’s.

A tour of Dublin was the order of the day on the Sunday, with local traders on the list as we started out with the Irish Design Shop. Award-winning Irish illustrator, Dermot Flynn gave us a short talk about his inspiration behind the new St Patrick’s themed Jameson label for the brands next limited edition, saying that he was “inspired by the sights, sounds and atmosphere of Jameson’s hometown, Dublin”. We also visited the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, a speciality shopping centre set in an elegant Georgian house, as well as well as enjoying some Irish cheese from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers. Our final venue on our ‘Sights and Sounds of Dublin’ tour was the Me and Him and You Design Studio. They’ve been creating prints and artwork, and were specially commissioned to create Dublin themed print for the brand, as well as designed print on the lining of flat caps, in honour of the new Jameson Black Barrel.

Grogan’s pub, the famous whiskey and toastie den, was to be the setting for lunch, complete with cheese and ham toasties, and plenty of Jameson and Ginger, or of course, Jameson straight from the bottle. Soon after though, we were on our way to Damson for a Jameson cocktail master class hosted by Oisin Davis. Oisin demonstrated the versatility of Jameson, creating such classics as the Jameson Whiskey Sour, The Irish Cocktail and The Tipperary, the latter not seen as much over in England, but causing quite a stir between myself and fellow cocktail lover Gary Sharpen!

An appetite created after sampling cocktails for the afternoon led us to Fade Street Social, a traditional Irish restaurant and gastro bar. With a menu that included such dishes as smoked salmon, roasted pork belly, rump of Wicklow lamb or Wexford sirloin,  it was hard to resist ordering a banquet for the table. Despite being a Sunday, the venue was always tipping to full, with its open kitchen looking out over all three rooms available.  We couldn’t be their for long though as we had the annual Jameson St Patrick’s Live Event at the Ambassador Theatre to attend, with the White Lies once again on stage, this time in full throttle to adorning fans of both Jameson and the trio. An added bonus for the evening was the secret VIP Jameson bar, serving up Jameson and ginger alongside straight drams to carry on the main St Patrick’s evening of the weekend.

That wouldn’t be it for us though, as we attended the after party held in the lower level of Hogan’s Bar. A chance to wind down and enjoy the festivities was had, and after spending all weekend with fellow journalists and trade, it was great to enjoy the last swan song so-to-speak before I hit the hotel for a couple of hours and caught my early morning flight back.

In a nutshell – what an experience! The chance to enjoy not only St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, but in the capital, alongside world-wide known brand Jameson, with a tour of bars that I have to be honest, I would probably have missed if I was here with others. Looking back on it too, I never received a bad drink. Of course, the Jameson alone is always up to scratch, but the likes of the Whiskey Sour, The Tipperary and The Smoking Gun are just a few of a number of highlights enjoyed, echoed by Gary himself.

If you get the chance, experience Dublin over St Patrick’s. It’s a very high recommendation.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.