Sunday 27 May 2012

Whisky Live - around the distilleries

Irish Distillers

IDL is still flying high on its single pot still range and the brand new Yellow Spot, in particular. They brought a sealed malaga butt that had been full until it was emptied for Yellow Spot just two weeks ago. They opened it on the exhibition floor so we could all poke our heads inside for a sniff of the really wonderful aroma.

The team on the Mitchells stand (Mitchell & Son owned the Spot brand originally and are the exclusive distributors in Ireland) were sporting black knitted ties with small yellow polka dots. They should sell those in the shop as a sort of club tie for those who appreciate the single pot still style.

Tullamore Dew

I didn't discover anything new about the planned distillery in Offaly but I was curious if the Tullamore Dew line up would change under the new owners, perhaps aligning more with whatever they intend to produce when the distillery is operating.

Black 43 has been discontinued, my favourite of the entire range. It never even made it properly to the Irish market (outside of the airport and the Tullamore Dew heritage centre, that is).

There will be a new 15 year old, probably replacing the current 10 year old blend. That would leave more space around the 10 year old single malt and the 12 year old blend. I'm a little surprised that the Cooley-made 10 year old single malt will remain though. It was a strange experiment, to source an entirely different style of whiskey from another distillery and I don't think it would be missed if it was dropped. Perhaps it has value as a marker for future single malt expressions from the new distillery.

The brand wasn't promoted in Ireland under its previous owners but it's making up for that now, with sales up 38% in this country.


The Beam takeover hasn't led to any changes in the Cooley range so far and there was no hint of anything at the show in that regard. Apparently Beam are intrigued by the pot still poitín that was made in the Riverstown distillery and have given the green light to another 1,000 bottles made to the same recipe.

The Dingle Whiskey Distillery

Oliver Hughes of The Porterhouse was there, describing one of his latest ventures, The Dingle Whiskey Distillery. A gin still is already installed and the whiskey stills are made and ready to ship from Scotland in the next 2-3 weeks. Allow another 6-8 weeks for fitting in Dingle and they should be filling two casks a day of new whiskey from September.

You can buy one of the first 500 casks by signing up as one of the distillery's Founding Fathers.

New Teeling distilleries

I met John Teeling on the exhibition floor. Although he and his son, Jack, were bought out of the whiskey business when Beam acquired Cooley Distillery, they are both planning to jump right back in with new distilleries. One each! Jack's will be the first in production, apparently.

That's all I know about that but the whiskey grapevine has also been speculating about a huge cache of whiskey that Jack owns. One rumour has it as a thousand casks of double-distilled Bushmills malt from way back.


Bushmills didn't show up. Do they still make whiskey?