This St Patrick’s Day, 17th March 2017, sees Walsh Whiskey and UK Importer Emporia Brands come together for the UK’s first ever cocktail competition involving The Irishman whiskey.
Focusing on The Irishman Founder’s Reserve expression, both companies are on the lookout for the best innovative twist on their signature serve, The Cold Irishman. With the original recipe seeing a blended combination of The Irishman Founder’s Reserve, coffee, half and half and sugar syrup, the competition throws open a variety of options to impress the Walsh family of Bernard and Rosemary.
The award-winning Walsh Whiskey are offering an exclusive trip to their new distillery ‘Royal Oak’, with the chance to experience the range of expressions first hand, as well as the immersive opportunity of a VIP distillery tour located in the heart of barley-growing country, framed by two-hundred-year-old might oaks on the banks of the goodly River Barrow in Ireland’s Ancient East.
With a minimum of 35 ml of The Irishman Founder’s Reserve needed, and a maximum of 5 ingredients (including the base whiskey and excluding garnish) allowed, bartenders also need to explain their inspiration as part of their submission.
Entries will be open from 17th March until 12th May, in which a blind judging will take place of all submissions by some of the top industry figures in whiskey, as well as an Emporia Brands representative visiting the venue to experience the recipe first hand, with the winner announced on 19th May, the day before World Whisky Day. The winner will win the trip to Royal Oak later in 2017 where they will re-create their winning recipe to the Walsh Family, VIP’s and journalists within the distillery itself.
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.
Tullamore D.E.W. – the original triple distilled, triple blend Irish Whiskey – is reinvigorating the Irish custom of sipping a beer and whiskey, side by side, to unlock the complementary flavours in each with new serve, ‘D.E.W. & A Brew’.
Tullamore D.E.W. is a triple distilled, triple blend of all three types of Irish whiskey – Single Malt, Grain and Pot Still whiskey. This blend of all three types of triple distilled whiskey, in particular the Single Malt, gives Tullamore D.E.W. complexity and a unique sweet smoothness that is perfectly paired with beer’s bitter bite. John Quinn, Tullamore D.E.W. Global Brand Ambassador, commented: “Beer and whiskey are malt cousins, because malted barley is a raw ingredient in both; so, sipping whiskey alongside a beer is the best way to unlock new flavours for an evening full of true character.” He continued: “The recent growth in popularity of craft beer makes this the perfect time to introduce D.E.W. & A Brew. Tullamore D.E.W. unlocks different flavour combinations depending on the type of beer it’s served with. There are a lot of great beers on the market right now and great beer loves Tullamore D.E.W.”
In London, Tullamore D.E.W. has partnered with ETM Group where Tullamore D.E.W. will be served with Longarm ‘Birdie Flipper’ Irish Red Ale. Consumers can enjoy the combination in bars such as Greenwood, Jugged Hare and Botanist Broadgate Circle for a chance to win a VIP ‘D.E.W & A Brew’ masterclass. Available from 1st March, full list of venues can be found at http://www.etmgroup.co.uk.
Whiskey and beer have been made side by side in Ireland since monks started to distil their ‘table beer’ to make whiskey. Also, the Daly family, who first employed Daniel E. Williams at Tullamore, brewed local beers alongside their whiskey. Over time, it was noticed that these ‘malt cousins’ were not only convenient to make together, but they formed a fine partnership on the palate. The sweetness of a “ball of malt” (whiskey) complemented the bitterness of their regular “pint of plain” (beer). To enjoy the two side-by-side became a common practice in bars across Ireland. Tullamore D.E.W. has worked with beer experts to create a guide to the complementary flavours unlocked by D.E.W. & A Brew. It reveals, for example, that Irish stout highlights ‘the spiciness and complexity of Tullamore D.E.W.’, while Tullamore D.E.W. ‘highlights the zesty dry tones’ of India Pale Ale.
The launch of D.E.W. & A Brew follows several recent award-winning new additions to the Tullamore D.E.W. range: Tullamore D.E.W. 14 Year Old Single Malt, Tullamore D.E.W. 18 Year Old Single Malt, Tullamore D.E.W. Cider Cask Finish and Tullamore D.E.W. TRILOGY. The new signature serve is Tullamore D.E.W.’s next step in providing a whiskey experience of true character suitable for every occasion and every whiskey drinker.
The signature serve launch will focus mainly on Bristol with outlets such as Tobacco Factory, Steam and Butcombe Brewery Pubs stocking the serve from March onwards.
The team at Buffalo Trace came around to Manchester once again to host their annual cocktail competition, but armed with a twist that saw the bartenders of the North West face a variety of challenges in a couple of unique settings.
Hosted at El Gato Negro, the competitors found their way to the final by offering a unique Buffalo Trace serve, but knowing that if they got through, a set of challenges awaited them. Hailing from the likes of Epernay in Manchester, Salt Dog Slims in Liverpool and Filter and Fox, also in Liverpool, the competitors were joined by UK Brand Ambassador Tim Giles, who alongside his team at Hi-Spirits (the UK distributor of Buffalo Trace) of Ross and Jack, set the day off with a ‘Buffalo Migration Tour’. Asking the bartenders to work on their starting clue, this led them to one of four venues across the city of Manchester, where once found, they were set a task that would test the knowledge of each individual when it came to the world of Buffalo Trace.
Tasks included getting the correct barrel maturation letters and numbers out of a series of 8 to choose from, a blind tasting of a selection of the Sazerac whisky range, including Buffalo Trace, as well as the family tree of the company itself. If correct, the competitor receives the key to the mystery box that contains items that can be used within their migration cocktail, if wrong, they have to pick an item, but not one you would necessarily find within a classic whiskey cocktail!
Once all 4 challenges have been completed, a rendezvous back at El Gato Negro kicked off the main portion of the cocktail competition, as each competitor had to re-create their Pioneering American cocktail that they entered with, as well as a Buffalo Trace cocktail using the ingredients won (or lost) over the four challenges.
With myself, Tim and last years competition winner Joe Ballinger judging, each competitor showed off their skills in creation, as well as their knowledge of Buffalo Trace and the links from this to their ideas, both in the original recipe, as well as their quick-fire migration cocktail.
The top three will be showcased here today, so in third place saw Liverpool represent with Beth Leigh of MOJO Bar. Her original Pioneering Creation saw her create the ‘Trial by Jury’, which saw Buffalo Trace mixed with a spiced porter syrup, Giffard’s dark cacao, almond milk and egg white, served with an atomiser which contained White Dog whiskey, almond and chocolate bitters. Her Mystery Migration cocktail though saw her create the ‘Bloody Long Derby’, offering up Buffalo Trace, fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, mint, Antica Formula and sugar, topped with San Pellegrino Lemon and garnished with a mint sprig and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Anthony Hogan of Epernay, Manchester earned second place with his two cocktails. His Pioneering Cocktail, named the ‘Bottle Shock’ saw Buffalo Trace built with a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, Peychaud’s bitters, lemon juice and blueberry with bluebell soda, garnished with mint and fresh blueberries. His on the spot Mystery Migration recipe, named ‘Hunters of Kentucky’, saw him build a recipe with Buffalo Trace, peach and Red Bull syrup, fresh tomato juice, Antica Formula and Peychaud’s Aperitivo, garnished with a peach fan and lemon zest.
The winning serves though, both seen as equal and of a high-standard when we were discussing the drinks in general, came from Will Meredith of El Gato Negro. His original entry saw him show off the ‘New Orleans Fizz’, a blended serve containing Buffalo Trace, egg white, milk and cream, homemade Creole New Orleans ketchup (fig, date, prune and cayenne pepper flavoured) and a corn, malt and rye syrup. His Mystery Migration serve saw a thrown creation of Buffalo Trace, Peychaud’s Aperitivo, a mango and Dijon mustard syrup, topped with Stella Artois, capped with the fantastic name of ‘Celine Dijon’.
So congratulations to Will, who wins himself a trip to the home of Buffalo Trace in Kentucky! A great idea for a cocktail competition, really getting the competitors to immerse themselves in the brands history and heritage, bringing it to the forefront in their Pioneering America cocktail, and testing their skills with the Mystery Migration serve. All whilst having their knowledge tested, really bringing out the best bartender in the North West and earning their stripes as they head to America.
Whiskey distillingreturned toCounty Carlow after an absence of over 200 year today as husband and wife, Bernard & Rosemary Walsh, the founders of Walsh Whiskey Distillery officially opened their €25million Irish whiskey distillery by the banks of the River Barrow at Royal Oak, County Carlow. Royal Oak is now distilling Walsh Whiskey Distillery’s whiskeys, The Irishman and Writers Tears, which are already sold in 40 countries worldwide.
Officiating at the opening with the Walshs was Augusto Reina, Chief Executive of Illva Saronno SpA of Milan (owners of drinks brands Disaronno and Tia Maria) which has a 50% share in the Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak.
Located on an 18th century estate comprising 40 acres of pastoral land, the distillery is theonlyindependent Irish whiskey distillery producing all three styles of Irish whiskey – pot still, malt and grain fromits two production lines using both pot stills and column stills.
At full tilt the Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak has the capacity to produce 650,000 cases (two and a half million litres of pure alcohol (LPA’s) or 8 million bottles) of whiskey annually which is 9.7% of the total Irish whiskey exports in 2014.
The company actually commenced distilling on Easter Sunday this year and is laying down stocks for release from 2019 onwards after the minimum three year maturation process has been completed.
The new distillery puts Walsh Whiskey in control of its own destiny. The three key differences the distillery at Royal Oak makes to Walsh Whiskey are:
1. Increased Supply to Markets: The considerable production capacity will enable the company to increase supply to the 40 markets where The Irishman and Writers Tears are already sold – especially the core markets of the United States, Canada and Europe (including Russia).
2. Target New Markets in Asia: The company is already leveraging its partner Illva Saronnos’ established relationships in the Asian markets which hold great potential for Irish whiskey. Illva Saronno has major operations in India and China as well as an extensive distribution network. Countries targeted, other than India and China, include Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
3. Increase the Range of Irish Whiskey Expressions Through Greater Innovation: The keys to whiskey’s character and taste are the oak barrels used to mature them and what they have previously contained. Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak has sourced a great variety of barrels and butts from its own and its partner Illva Saronnos’ international contacts to create every taste and hue possible for whiskey drinkers to experience.
These include bourbon barrels from Kentucky (USA); sherry butts from Jerez (Spain); Rum barrels from Saint Lucia (Caribbean) and Marsala wine casks from Illva Saronno’s own Florio Marsala Winery in Sicily (Italy).
Walsh Whiskey Distillery will allocate up to 15% of its annual production to contract sales and has recently sealed its first deal with Altia (a leading wine and spirits company in the Nordic and Baltic countries).
There was a strong attendance by the company’s international distribution partners with representatives from 22 of the 40 countries across 4 continents that already distribute The Irishman and Writers Tears. The countries represented were Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Malta, Northern Ireland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom & the United States of America. There were also some interested observers in the form of drinks industry executives from India and Australia.
The distillery at Royal Oak will also include two maturation houses with capacity for 60,000 barrels. Work on these buildings will commence in 2017.
The distillery, which is also designed as a visitor experience, will be open to the public from this July. The tours will also incorporate the 18th century Holloden House (c.1755) in a few years when renovations are complete. A total of 75,000 ‘whiskey tourists’ are expected to visit annually by 2021.
The operations at Royal Oak will create a total of 55 permanent and part-time jobs in the Carlow area, over 5 years. TheDepartment of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through Enterprise Ireland, is supporting the project.
The founder of Walsh Whiskey Distillery,Mr Bernard Walsh said: “After 17 years in business, the opening of our own distillery is both the fulfilment of Rosemary and my own dreams and a game changing moment for the company. We are now in control of our destiny and have the capacity, variety and relationships to play our part in the continued revival of Irish whiskey which is one of this country’s great traditions.”
He added: “That we can do this in a place like Royal Oak which is blessed with an abundance of the best natural ingredients as well as being a place of beauty and tranquillity is idyllic. We look forward to sharing our whiskeys and Royal Oak with the world.”
Mr Augusto Reina, Chief Executive of Illva Saronnno, Walsh Whiskey’s strategic partner said: “Illva Saronno is enthusiastic about the opening of Royal Oak and proud of the partnership with Walsh Whiskey Distillery. We look forward to continuing our support in the coming years through our know-how and expertise in the global spirits’ market.”
Michael Cantwell, Divisional Manager for the Food and Drink sectors at Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland is pleased to have supported this project at Walsh Whiskey Distillery. We have worked very closely with the team throughout the development of the project and welcome the employment that will be created at a local and regional level”
The distillery comprises 4,000 cubic metres of concrete, 60 kilometres s of cabling, 400 tonnes of structural steel and 30 tonnes of copper and steel whiskey distilling equipment.
Walsh Whiskey Distillery has prioritised environmental responsibility in the design of its operations including:
· By product from the production process (draff and pot ale) is recycled back into the farming industry as animal feed.
· Cooling water from the distillation process is recycled back to the River Barrow.
· The entire facility is heated using its own energy generated by the whiskey production processes. This heat supply will also eventually heat Holloden House, which dates back to c.1755, when it is fully restored in a few years time.
· The building materials used are sympathetic to the environs. The buildings are roofed in slate roof in keeping with Holloden House, copper fittings are applied, the warehouses will be clad in green and creeper plants trained up the walls and the roadways are sunken to limit visibility in what is a pastoral rural setting
· Royal Oak is home to seven species of oak tree and Bernard Walsh has commenced plans to develop an oak arboretum by planting more species under the guidance of consultant horticulturalist, Daphne Levinge Shackleton. Three young oaks (Turkey Oak and English Oak) were recently planted in from of the distillery to replace trees lost to storms in recent years.
· A stone wall restoration program will also be implemented.
The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) announce the Spirit results of the 2016 Competition, revealing a record year for entries into the Competition, with a 17% increase in entries, lead by the Scotch, Worldwide Whiskey and Gin categories.
The top 200 winners of the Spirits Competition will be showcased at the annual Spirits Tasting event, taking place July 27th, which is co-hosted by the IWSC and the Worshipful Company of Distillers at London’s Vintners Hall and follows months of rigorous evaluation by their esteemed panel of expert judges.
Truly international in its reach, the Competition welcomes Spirits entrants from 60 different countries across the world. This year once again, Scotland swept the board, winning five trophies and 427 medals, as well as taking home 73 of the Gold and Gold Outstanding accolades. Gold medal winners included Waitrose’s 16-Year-Old Highlands Scotch Whisky, Hankey Bannister’s Heritage Blend, The Blended Whisky Company’s The Golden Age Blend as well The Balvenie Thirty. As the category continues to innovate with travel retail exclusives and cask finishes, the Competition saw an entry increase of 10% from 2015 with an 88% entry increase over the past three years.
Whisk(e)y and gin emerge as this year’s category leaders, with 200% more entries into the gin category since 2013 and a 35% uplift year on year for the worldwide whiskey category. This year’s Competition featured entries from Myanmar, India and Taiwan; who’s Kavalan Distillery was awarded three Gold medals as well as a Gold Outstanding for its Kavalan Solist Port Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky. In the Gin tasting, Cumbria’s Bedrock Gin produced by Spirits of the Lakes achieved a coveted Gold medal. Other significant growth areas in the competition since 2013 were Shochu, with a 300% growth, Rum with 83% growth and 44% growth for the liqueur category.
Launched in 2015, this year saw the return of the Gin & Tonic and Bloody Mary categories, and the addition of the Vodka & Tonic category in partnership with Fever Tree. Vodrock, last year’s Bloody Mary Trophy winners, picked up the inaugural Vodka & Tonic trophy with Herno Export Strength Gin securing the Gin & Tonic trophy and Swiss Vodka Inc’s Elation Hemp Flavoured Vodka awarded the Bloody Mary Trophy.
Ewan Lacey, IWSC Managing Director, commented on today’s results; “The significant growth of new entries over the last few years are testament to the continuing advancement and innovation of our entrants. An increase of 200% in Gin entries since 2013 reflects the boom in the category worldwide and we are delighted that producers continue to choose the IWSC to benchmark and promote their products.”
2016 Spirit Trophy winners: · Cognac Trophy – Richelieu XO, Distell Ltd · Fruit Spirits Trophy supported by Arthur Nagele – Macardo Vielle Prune, Macardo Destillerie · London Dry Gin Trophy sponsored by the Gin Guild – Star of Bombay, Bacardi Global Brands Inc. · Contemporary Style Gin Trophy sponsored by the Gin Guild – Purity Gin, Purity Vodka AB · Pomace Brandy Trophy – Sibona Grappa Riserva affinata in Botti da Porto, Distilleria Sibona S.p.A · Worldwide Brandy Trophy sponsored by Distell – Van Ryn’s 12-Year-Old Distiller’s Reserve, Distell · Liqueur Trophy – Tea Liqueur Jossie Earl Grey, S.A.E.G.B · Rum Trophy – Foursquare 2006, R L Seale & Company Limited · Sake Trophy – Junmai Daiginjo Aonomu “Blue Label”, Yaegaki Sake & Spirits Inc. · Shochu/Soju Trophy – Shochu iichiko SPECIAL, Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd. · Tequila Trophy supported by The Spirits of Mexico Festival – Tequila El Tesoro Anejo Tequila, Beam Suntory · Vodka Trophy – Count Pushkin Vodka, Distell Ltd · Bourbon Trophy – Jim Beam® Black, Beam Suntory · Worldwide Whiskey Trophy supported by Whiskies of the World – Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, Beam Suntory · Scotch Whisky Trophy (Single Malt Scotch Whisky over 15 Years) – Balblair Vintage 1990, International Beverage · Scotch Whisky Trophy (Single Malt Scotch Whisky No Age Statement) – Kilchoman Sanaig Kilchoman, Distillery Co Ltd · Scotch Whisky Trophy (Single Malt Scotch Whisky 15 Years and Under) – The Balvenie DoubleWood 12-Year-Old, William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd · Scotch Whisky Trophy (Cask Strength Scotch Whisky) sponsored by Whyte & Mackay- Aberlour A’bunadh, Chivas Brothers · Scotch Whisky Trophy (The Independence Trophy for Blended Scotch Whisky) sponsored by William Grant & Sons – The Golden Age Blend, ATOM Supplies Ltd · Bloody Mary Trophy – Swiss Vodka, Inc. Elation Hemp Flavored Vodka · Gin & Tonic Trophy supported by Fever Tree – Hernö Gin AB, Hernö Export Strength Gin · Vodka & Tonic Trophy supported by Fever Tree – Vodrock, UG VODROCK · Best Packaging Design Range of the Year – (Archie Rose Original Vodka, Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin, Archie Rose White Rye), Archie Rose Distilling Co. · Best Gin Packaging of the Year – Dorset Dry Gin, Conker Spirit · Best Vodka Packaging of the Year – Stateside Urbancraft Vodka, Federal Distilling
Old Forester, America’s first bottled bourbon, is the ideal gift for those looking to treat their Dads this Father’s Day. With a history as rich as its taste, Old Forester is the only bourbon that has been available pre, post and during Prohibition, and to this day is still made by the same founding family.
The Kentucky straight bourbon whisky was first created by George Garvin Brown in 1870 in Louisville. Brown was a pharmacist, and recognised an early need for a reliably high-quality whisky, that met medicinal standards. The bottle still bears a handwritten guarantee from him, and it is these consistently impeccable standards of craft in production that have lead to Old Forester becoming recognised amongst top bartenders around the world.
Made using a recipe, which is in keeping of when it was first introduced in 1870, the high in rye bourbon, is full bodied and rich. The spirit delivers a genuine bourbon experience, and smooth character, making it perfect for a Whiskey Smash, the traditional Whiskey Sour cocktail, or sipping neat.
The rich story behind Old Forester and accessibility as a spirit, make it the ideal, thoughtful gift for whisky fans this Father’s Day.
Jameson has unveiled a new structure to its family of Irish Whiskeys, representing a unique re-interpretation of the super-premium whiskey category. The new portfolio is made up of The Whiskey Makers Series, the range of Heritage whiskeys and The Deconstructed Series with the original Jameson Irish Whiskey at the core. Together, the new portfolio showcases the brand’s rich heritage, celebrates its remarkable present and shares an insight into its innovative future, underpinned by our communications platform of Sine Metu.
The restructure manifests Jameson’s ambition to drive interest globally in Irish Whiskey, a trend that has been led by the brand in recent years. The new family of whiskeys is set to further impact this movement, highlighting Jameson’s wider offering and giving drinkers a meaningful exploration path into super premium whiskey. With a strength of storytelling throughout the range, the new portfolio is rooted in the interests of Jameson’s fans who are seeking to learn more about the people and craft, heritage, taste and ethos of fearlessness behind the brand.
Daniel Lundberg, Global Brand Director for Jameson, comments: “The restructure of the Jameson family is the most significant move in our brand’s recent history. This is an exceptionally exciting development that positions Jameson at the forefront of innovation and advance within the Irish Whiskey category. The family, comprised of The Whiskey Makers Series, the range of Heritage whiskeys and The Deconstructed Series is underpinned by the brand’s people and craft, heritage, taste and fearlessness; in short, the qualities for which Jameson is celebrated throughout the world. Today we finally get to unveil our new family globally and witness Irish Whiskey fans discovering new stories, flavours and experiences from Jameson.”
The Whiskey Makers Series
A brand new range of super-premium Jameson whiskeys – The Whiskey Makers Series – sits within the refreshed family and is comprised of three whiskies that celebrate the people behind Jameson and their craft. Created collaboratively by Jameson Head Distiller, Brian Nation; Head Cooper, Ger Buckley; and Head Blender, Billy Leighton, the range gives Midleton’s craftspeople a unique opportunity to shine a light on their individual areas of expertise. The Whiskey Makers Series is set to deepen consumers’ understanding of Irish Whiskey production through the exploration of three key tools, after which the products are named: The Distiller’s Safe, The Cooper’s Croze and The Blender’s Dog.
The Distiller’s Safe celebrates the role of Jameson’s Head Distiller, Brian Nation, and is a true showcase of the original copper pot still distillate. A purist of whiskey making, Brian explores the influence of the copper on the new-make spirit, using a maturation process that skilfully preserves the qualities of the original distillate, allowing the flavours developed in the pot still to take centre stage. Brian’s tool of choice – the spirit safe – allows him to fine tune the whiskey’s style at any point during the distillation process and the resulting blended whiskey carries distinct sweetness from barley sugar and gentle notes of apricot, cinnamon and melon. A smooth, light whiskey with a luminous, zesty finish.
The Cooper’s Croze showcases the role of Jameson’s Head Cooper, Ger Buckley, and explores the influence that maturation in casks has on whiskey. A fifth generation cooper, Ger has a deep relationship with wood and is tasked with selecting, repairing and maintaining Midleton’s diverse and treasured barrels. Ger’s prized possession – a croze – passed down through his family, is used to make the groove where the head of the cask is positioned. The resulting blended whiskey is matured in virgin American oak barrels, seasoned bourbon barrels and Iberian sherry casks, a combination that delivers vanilla sweetness, rich fruit flavours and a balance of floral and spice notes.
The Blender’s Dog celebrates the role of Jameson Head Blender, Billy Leighton; a tribute to the fine art of blending. A master at matching whiskeys across ages and characters, Billy is tasked with uniting the crafts supplied by distiller and cooper to create harmonious, perfectly balanced whiskeys. Billy’s go-to instrument – a ‘dog’ – is used to collect whiskey samples from the casks, allowing Billy to bring together complementary spirits from Midleton’s extensive range of maturing stock. The Blender’s Dog is a perfect balance of spirit, wood and time; a rich, rounded whiskey with butterscotch sweetness, spices, tannins and an exceptionally long finish. The range of Heritage whiskeys
The range of Heritage whiskeys is a new collection of super-premium Irish Whiskeys that bring to the fore over 200 years of remarkable stories and milestones from the brand’s rich history. Created to better highlight three world-renowned Irish Whiskeys – Jameson Black Barrel, Jameson Crested and Jameson Signature – each expression in the range tells a different story from Jameson’s past.
Jameson Black Barrel is a triple-distilled Irish whiskey that pays tribute to the cooper’s method of charring barrels for a second time. Charring is a traditional method for invigorating barrels, although today at Midleton double-charred barrels are used by choice rather than through necessity. The expression uses a blend of ‘small batch’ grain and traditional pot still Irish Whiskey, which is distilled just once a year at Midleton, and is matured in a combination of American oak, sherry casks and double-charred bourbon barrels. Time spent maturing in these barrels imparts the whiskey with intensified notes of vanilla sweetness and caramel, alongside toasted wood, fruit, and warm spice.
Jameson Crested, launched globally in March 2016, is a triple-distilled Irish Whiskey that celebrates the first drops of whiskey to be bottled, sealed and labelled at the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin, marking the moment in time (1963) when Jameson took full control of the whiskey making process, from grain to glass. Up until then, distillers – including the Jameson Distillery – sold barrels of whiskey to bonders to bottle themselves, however, reports of whiskey bonders watering down their whiskey in the 1960s led Jameson to complete the process inside the distillery walls to protect the quality of the whiskey. Jameson Crested brings together rich pot still Irish Whiskey and grain whiskey, matured in a high proportion of sherry casks, as well as bourbon barrels. The result is a nose of vivid sherry and pot still aromas, a palate of toasted wood, spice and chocolate, and a warm, lingering sherry finish.
Jameson Signature is a triple-distilled Irish Whiskey that bears the signature of John Jameson, a mark of quality that has appeared since the early days of the Bow Street Distillery, when all casks were signed off by John Jameson. The expression celebrates this tradition and the generations of meticulously transcribed distillers’ notebooks, a sign that attention to detail remains at the heart of Jameson. Jameson Signature is a commitment from the brand to uphold the founder’s core values of craftsmanship and quality, with a robust and complex whiskey that boasts deep flavours of cedar, vanilla, citrus and dried fruits and a smooth balance of honey.
The Deconstructed Series
The Deconstructed Series is a range of super-premium Irish Whiskeys that explores the key flavour notes of the original Jameson Irish Whiskey. Launched in Cannes in October 2015, the expressions – Jameson Bold, Jameson Lively and Jameson Round – are named after three key taste characteristics found within the family’s core expression, amplifying each flavour trait to offer three new drinking experiences.
Jameson Bold, influenced by pot still whiskey, is an intense and robust whiskey, with a strong influence of spices. Initially sweet and creamy, with an abundance of soft fruits, the pot still spices develop to bring a perfect balance of rich barley notes and mellow baked apple.
Jameson Lively, influenced by grain whiskey, offers an elegant and floral taste combined with a citrus lightness. Its soft and sweet taste, provided by the perfume bon bons alongside turkish delight, combines with drying hints of citrus to balance the sweetness. A little chilli oil brings a prickle of spices to the mouth.
Jameson Round, influenced by the wood contribution, is a balance of rich and plump charred wood tones. A perfect harmony of diverse flavours, sweet vanilla fuses with soft ripe fruit and, together, combines with the rich Pot Still Spices on a firm foundation of toasted oak.
KOVAL: Common Eastern European surname meaning “blacksmith,” but in some dialects it also means someone who “forges ahead.”
Forges ahead? That seems, to me, to sum up KOVAL and all I have witnessed from the brand since its official UK launch with new distributor Emporia Brands. I thought that I’d sit down and dive into why KOVAL has reached the shores of the UK, have both gin and a range of whiskey expressions released at the same time, and how Chicago has rung the changes from the more traditional Kentucky and Tennessee ideas.
Founded back in 2008 by Robert Birnecker and Sonat Birnecker Hart, KOVAL became Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800’s. With Robert being a 4th Generation distiller (his family still runs a distillery and winery near Salzburg, Austria), and Sonat spearheading the product development, distribution, and marketing, KOVAL had a bright future from day one.
Vowing to make organic spirits from scratch (avoiding the usual practice of purchasing and bottling pre-made spirits), Sonat and Robert created a new style that uses only the “heart” cut of the distillate. Using the mentality of ‘grain to bottle’, they both make sure that they use local farmers to grow the grain (all harvested from organic Midwestern farms), on-site milling and mashing, as well as distilling (within a custom-built pot still handcrafted in Germany by Kothe Destillationstechnik that holds 5000 litres), bottling, and packaging. The water is sourced from Lake Michigan using a natural charcoal purification method, and American oak barrels from The Barrel Mill in Minnesota.
With this, lets take a look at the expressions available within the UK. First up, their Dry Gin.
KOVAL Dry Gin – 47%
Made with a unique variety of woodland spices, fresh lime aromas hit the nose, followed by soft lavender and violet. Plenty of earthy, dry spices come through on the palate, with mint and coriander present too. Crisp, clean, and offering a vibrant, long finish.
KOVAL Bourbon – 47%
KOVAL’s single barrel bourbon has the requisite mash bill of at least 51% corn, but instead of the usual rye or wheat supplement, this includes millet (one of the main cereals from Asia and Africa).
Soft, creamy aroma on the nose, with mango, vanilla and oak present. Fresh flavours of fudge and vanilla on the palate, with hints of apricot and dry-leaf tobacco compliment on the long, dry finish.
KOVAL Millet – 40%
100% Millet, the prized grain in Asia and Africa. Very light and clean upon the nose, a profile that runs straight onto the palate in the same way. Smooth, with a touch of dry oak, caramel and sweetened butter. A lingering finish of Summer.
KOVAL Rye – 40%
100% rye recipe, a light, orange zest aromas comes through on the nose, with a slight boiled sweet scent of cream and liquorice. Slightly sweetened on the palate, with the dry spice of tobacco and oak underlining the cinnamon and fudge. An orange zested finish works well.
All three whiskey expressions and the gin really do offer something very different, and can easily be enjoyed over ice or neat. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t work in some of these –
Pomp & Circumstance
50 ml KOVAL Dry Gin
90 ml Premium tonic water
1 sprig of mint
Build the ingredients over an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with a sprig of mint and grapefruit peel.
Under The Sun, by Joy Richard, Citizen Pub, Boston, MA
50 ml KOVAL Bourbon
25 ml Yellow Chartreuse
15 ml Orgeat
30 ml Pineapple juice
2 Dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Shake and strain over crushed ice. 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters on top. Orange peel & cherry garnish.
It’s always great to see a range that is classic to drink, but also versatile to enjoy too. A couple of bottles for your drinks cabinet for sure, plus every product they make is Certified Organic by Midwestern Organic Services Association (MOSA) and Certified Kosher through the Orthodox Union (OU). Always a plus.
This month, Vulson launches its first aged rye whisky in the UK, Vulson Old Rhino Rye, a 100% organic rye whisky aged for four years. The new whisky, from Domaine des Hautes Glaces, is issued from malted rye grown on site. It is distilled in small live flame onion-shape copper stills & aged in the French Alps.
After being distilled once in the Domaine’s wash still and once in its spirit still, Vulson Old Rhino Rye is aged for one year in French new oak casks and three years in Cognac casks. The Old Rhino is bottled at 45%abv without additives nor chill filtration.
The nose is fresh with a hint of mint, pear and stone fruits. It delivers a clean, very mineral taste and is a little spicy with gingerbread at the forefront. The after taste is well balanced with spices and a touch of lemon on the finish.
“It is an exciting new step for our young brand – since we launched Vulson White Rhino Rye, our supporters have been asking when would the aged one be released. The Old Rhino is now out, and we look forward to the industry’s feedback,” says Xavier Padovani. “Vulson Old Rhino Rye is the long awaited aged version of its younger brother, Vulson White Rhino Rye – a spirit that is created at a small sustainable farm distillery located 1000m in the French Alps.”
The Domaine des Hautes Glaces brings its unique skills in distilling & ageing a liquid in its purest form while simultaneously respecting the terroir. Xavier adds his knowledge of the spirits market and his international network to introduce Vulson Old Rhino Rye to the global market.
Vulson Old Rhino Rye is available for sale at The Whisky Exchange for £57.95.