Needless to say it was one hell of a day with more stalls than ever before and a bumper crowd of enthusiasts all enjoying the many delights on show.
Now I have to be honest and state that I didn't quite get the chance, during the show, to get tasting notes down but I shall take you around some of the stalls on show and highlight some of the drinks to keep an eye out for in the near future.
Kilbeggan Distilling Company - Their new 21yo blend has now been released and is as smooth as you'd expect to find from Cooley distillery. Also of note is that the Greenore 8yo is now named Kilbeggan and the Kilbeggan 18yo is now in a Greenore shaped bottle. The Greenore shaped bottle is now used across a lot of the range and is obviously going to be key in their marketing going forward.
Echlinville Distillery - You may remember a while back when I got excited at the return of the Dunvilles Whiskey brand only to find the first release to be a little lacklustre? Well everything I had hoped would happen is happening. After speaking with distillery owner, Shane Braniff, and seeing what direction future releases shall be taking, I can confirm that exciting times are ahead. A new Dunvilles release should be imminent which shall be an aged single malt (from a distillery unknown), PX finished and bottled at 46%. All exactly the way it should be for this distillery to make it's mark on the Irish Whiskey scene. Watch this space for more on these arrivals as and when they happen.
Glendalough Distillery - Up until this event I was only aware of their 7yo single malt but literally as I was taking a quick pre-show look around the Celtic Whiskey Shop a brand spanking new 13yo single malt appeared before my very eyes. Having tried both I can confirm that both are of good solid quality and extremely well priced in todays NAS orientated market. If I'm being honest though the 7yo edged it for me but only just. Furthermore there is some talk of a possible Belfast tasting coming soon but again watch this space and I shall be updating you when I hear any further.
Knappogue Castle - The stand out highlight of the day was their new 14yo, single cask, marsala wine finished, single malt (which is, of course, from Bushmills). The complexity combined with layer upon layer of flavour was just outstanding and yet again goes to show what Bushmills could be with a little more licence to be creative, hopefully this shall come with their change of ownership next year. Knappogue also have a 14yo, single cask, burgundy finished, single malt which, while still good, was nothing compared to the marsala finish.
Teeling Whiskey Company - Yet again here in force and pushing their brand new NAS single malt. A fantastic wee dram and one which I shall be checking out further in the future. Another taste of their single grain, backed up by their award for Irish Single Grain Whiskey of the year, just confirmed my opinion that it is a class act.
Celtic Cask (Celtic Whiskey Shop) - JUST the three new releases to show off then? On show was Seacht (Seven), Ocht (Eight) and Naoi (Nine) which was a peated malt. Stand out of these three was the Ocht which is an older brother of the Sé (Six) which I've reviewed previously but I have to acknowledge that the Naoi has recently picked up Irish Single Cask Whiskey of the year.
Palace Bar & Jack Ryan - Palace Bar 14yo single malt and Jack Ryan 12yo single malt were the two I tried from these companies and have to say both were excellent with the Palace Bar's offering being particularly special.
Ruby Blue Liqueur - Whilst not a whiskey I believe they deserve a special mention for their presentation of their drinks. A delicious range of liqueurs which include blackcurrant, wild blueberry, cranberry and chilli pepper (which got my vote for liqueur of the year). Using real fruit and grain spirit their drinks are clean, fresh and delicious, especially with cocktails. Well worth looking out for.
It goes without saying that there were far more stands on show but I probably could've went to both the afternoon and evening sessions and still not have seen everything.
Well hopefully that has given you an idea of what you missed and what to look out for in the near future. The main point that I took away from this show was that exciting times are ahead for Irish whiskey and judging by the people involved it's reputation is in excellent hands.
Until next time,