The Whisky Exchange

Whisky Squad #31

In the UK – and abroad – Irish Whiskey can sometimes be passed over in favour of the output from its British neighbour. But, this shouldn’t put you off. It’s a different style, has an intriguing history and creates a lot of fantastic products.

At a recent tasting with the Whisky Squad, I had the opportunity to try five great varieties and learn about the country’s history from Tim Forbes, an Irishman (and now Londoner) who runs the Whisky Exchange’s blog.

In short, Tim told us that Irish Whiskey had – in the late 19th century – been highly profitable. But, during a period of 20-30 years, it saw itself decimated due to Prohibition in the US, a trade war with the UK and a huge increase in the output of blended Scotch whisky due to the Scottish decision to embrace the Coffey Still, which decreased the cost of production.

Throughout the 20th century, distilleries in Ireland were merged continuously until it was all made at only one distillery (Midleton). This remained up to the point Cooley came into the picture in 1987, although this company has since been bought up by Beam Inc., an American spirits company.

Despite this concentration of ownership, Irish Whiskey still provides a wide variety of taste.

So, what did I think of the five I tried? Here are my thoughts:


#1. Inishowen Peated:
This peated whiskey is made from a mix of malt and grain. On the nose, I got spearmint and chocolate, while the taste provided flavours of pancakes, coffee, rubber and Terry’s chocolate orange. It had a nice mouthfeel and was softly pleasant. Not my favourite of the night, but a good starter.



#2. Bushmills Black Bush:
I found this to have [...]

March 12th, 2012|Reviews|0 Comments|

Burns Night 2012

Burns Night. That phenomenal night on the whisky calendar when people from all corners of the globe get together to eat sheep’s intestines, listen to strange Scottish warblings and dance the night away!

This year I attended my very first (aww) PROPER Burns Night. But, due to being rather swamped off my whisky-loving feet of late, I’ve had hardly any time to send out the massive thank-yous that should be given to those who made sure I was no-longer a Burns Night virgin.

So, before it gets far too belated, I must thank the chaps at The Whisky Exchange for putting on a darn good show over at Vinopolis – 200 people filled the cavernous stone hall and reveled in the fantastic musical accompaniment from License to Ceilidh, chatty banter of Simon & Franchi from Simply Whisky and whisky sponsored by the fabulous folks over at Chivas Brothers. Thanks also goes to photographer Simon Hanna for capturing it all!

The evening began with a bit of particularly good piping and a feisty cocktail of apple, cinnamon and Chivas Regal 12 to get us warmed up. Once settled in the opulent halls, we sat back and listened to (or tried to – I’m still not British enough to fully comprehend thick Scottish accents) Simon & Franchi’s energetic poem reading and speech making in honour of Mr Robbie Burns.

Then came the food and whisky! We started with a lovely Cock-a-Leekie soup, partnered with the delicious Scapa 16. I had not tried either and was delighted with the whisky. Its saltiness and citrussy hints married well with the creamy soup and was a perfect way to begin.

During more incomprehensible (though I’m sure very funny) toasts from the hosts, we moved [...]

February 3rd, 2012|Events, Features|1 Comment|