Saturday 1 November 2008

Whiskey miscellany

Jameson sales continue to climb

Every time I report financial results from Pernod-Ricard it's the same positive story for Jameson. This time, first quarter results show volume up 10% and sales up 17%. (And, once again, it's hard to avoid the obvious implication that we are paying more for our whiskey.)

Treasure Island

I spotted an interesting story on Daniel Westman's Tales of Treasure:
In 1763 a ship was on its way from Ireland to New Orleans, on board was 160 barrels of fine Irish whiskey. When the schooner passed by St. George Island it was caught in a hurricane and was smashed against the island. The captain and crew of the ship buried the whiskey kegs in a large pit back from the beach on the eastern end of the island.
The crew never returned to dig up their cargo.

It's too much to expect that the barrels have lasted intact for this length of time but I find it fascinating that this country was exporting whiskey across the Atlantic almost 250 years ago. I also wonder which distillery the spirit came from. It's too early for Bushmills or Jameson (though the Jameson distillery was already in operation when John Jameson bought it in 1780). Locke's Distillery (est. 1757) is just about possible. No doubt there are plenty of other candidates.

Mad whiskey drinkers

Gawker revealed that the audience for Mad Men, a drama set in a New York ad agency in the earl 1960s, is 47 times more likely to drink Irish whiskey than the general population. Scotch, bourbon and Canadian don't come close.

I've no idea what this means. Nor have I ever seen an episode, but I feel I might be missing out.

World's largest Irish coffee

The Buena Vista Café in San Franciso, which claims to have introduced the Irish coffee to America back in 1952, will mix up the world's largest Irish coffee on November 10th.

What also caught my eye was a line from an online article: "The Buena Vista will be releasing the first shipment of Tullamore Dew Official Buena Vista Irish Whiskey". I don't know if this is a special blend for the café or just a relabeled standard issue Dew but I'll try to find out.

There was a minor hoo-hah a few years ago when the Buena Vista started using Tullamore Dew instead of a private blend from Cooley. So it's interesting if they are returning to a proprietary bottling. Certainly their volumes justify it: they were getting through 18,720 litres of the stuff yearly back in 2006.

Peaty cocktails

I've written before about Michael Foggarty's Connemara whiskey-based cocktail. It's not often you find peat in a cocktail but I've just come across another, at the Dylan Bar, in Dublin.

The "Smoked Mapletini" (€18.00) contains Connemara 12yo, apricot brandy, maple syrup and fresh oranges. The bar menu has a very decent Irish whiskey menu but it isn't cheap due to its setting within a seriously hip hotel.