To whom it may concern (to all whiskey geeks – by which of course I mean lovers),
I would like to apologize in advance for all incorrect information, for my low-level taste preferences, and not enough knowledge to enjoy the best tastes of what this wide whiskey scene can offer. I’m just a human being who loves to explore new tastes and things. I’m a whiskey newbie.
And I’m so sorry if I bought one of the last tickets for this event, and kicked you out of this amazing opportunity to be a part of one fantastic whiskey event. I was just lucky. And faster than you. So, get over it!
Everyone who knows me, knows very well how much I enjoy drinking beer. That doesn’t mean that I hate everything else (although gin will definitely stay in this category forever!). Before I came to Ireland I actually didn’t know if I like whiskey at all, as I was born and raised in a country where whiskey doesn’t mean a lot for us, but we do know the most famous stuff, which would be a brand or two of the world best-known names. I found out that now we have a Slovakian whiskey distilled in my beautiful country, and I would definitely love to visit this place the next time when I’ll come for a trip, especially with my Irish man, who tends to be very sensitive about the water of life that comes from his home country. Nestville, wait for us! We are looking forward to visit you!
Anyway… living with not only one, but two lads from S(h)ligo who know their s(h)tuff about this liquid, is an every-day-is-a-school-day mission. Especially Shane, who is a whiskey expert and occasionally brings home some of the very special ones. I get this opportunity to taste the most famous and very expensive stuff sometimes, and not only it opens my tasting palettes, but opens the circle of regrets that he is wasting all this treasure on… well, me. But I enjoy it so much and hey Shane, keep teaching me, please! (And that man has shitloads of patience, god! You know that feeling when you really, really suck at let’s say maths at school, and it just doesn’t get into you… Yep, that’s me and whiskey. But I promise I’ll be a better student one day.)
Friday, 5:17PM, Dublin Castle
Here we are, all the lads. Looking for our tickets in my big bag of shites. Can’t go in yet, we were too excited and too early. But at least we had a huge feed before we came, as I really don’t want to become a car crash too early. Shane made a bet that I’m gonna last until 6.30. We’ll see.
A nice security lady said to us that we can join the queue inside for checking the tickets. Yay! It’s Baltic outside so we do appreciate this kind gesture. I can see it, I can smell it… Let me in, please!
Tickets checked, excitement for some uisce beatha is getting bigger and bigger. After getting our whiskey tasting glasses, we run into the freedom of whiskey world, getting a cold shower by a nice security guy (I would like to highlight again that they were super nice and professional as well, welcome to Ireland!) who is trying to stop us from redeeming ourselves and running into tasting some beverages. (It was like a chasing a bunch of puppy dogs, but less cute.) It’s not 6 yet. At least we are counting the last seconds watching his big fancy watch.
All producers of Swiss watches would be proud, not even a second late we are entering this whiskey heaven. Finally!
Whiskey wan-ehm ehm, nerds..
Know absolutely everything into the smallest details and it is fascinating to watch them and listen to them. It makes me feel so stupid and small, but who cares!
You can see that she came only because the last time her other half had to come with her to that birthday party of a friend he doesn’t like that much, and this was a deal and the only condition why he went with her.
You see all those fancy pants exchanging their business cards – which is a great opportunity for all attendees. Support!
Who want to get hammered and you see them after an hour walking around and sticking their noses into the glass (they wouldn’t even smell the worst fart in the world at this point), pretending that they analyse the whiskey aroma, flavour and appearance into the very last detail, but you can see that their eyes are as crossed as the road traffic signs for not stopping or standing. (Well, at least it is a road sign in my country for sure!
Amazing combo of all of it together in one big glass!
(*I count myself into a V.S. category of I-don’t-really-know-what-I-am-doing-here-but-I’m-a-whiskey-newbie-and-this-is-how-I-learn-so-leave-me-alone-I-just-want-to-taste-this-and-watch-this-so-where-is-a-popcorn-stand?)
15 years old, 46%
Massive campaign going around the town and world, and with a very limited amount of whiskey produced, I was happy to taste it. It was delicious. It tasted like Christmas, with all the spiced and apple fruity notes going on around. I would like to know what colour is the next Spot going to be. Any guess? I vote for Black! Or purple. Like a Purple Rain. Or Deep Purple.
One of the Scottish stands, aye.
Haha, I am being very specific again! We stopped by this one because of very cool label designs that caught my eye. I kind of sensed that it will be a smokey kind of experience. We tasted one of 544 bottles of Old Particular, 21 years old with a strength 52%, a single malt scotch whiskey distilled at Arran Distillery and this one was surprisingly not smoky at all for me (as I kindly told the girl that I’m not into that, and she pulled out this beautiful bottle for us). One of a very few bottles left. Does that make me feel special? It certainly does! We also got a hands-free glass holder there and it is the coolest gadget ever.
One of a very few women on a whiskey craft scene – like a needle in a haystack, Alex Thomas, a Master Blender, is a nice gal! It is absolutely amazing to feel the passion and enthusiasm filling the room when she was telling us about her The Sexton whiskey she made. And let’s be honest – girls do like pretty things and this bottle shouldn’t be missing in any proper whiskey shelf in the country. So elegant, as is the whiskey itself. Aged in sherry casks, distilled in a proper ‘old-school’ way. Perfect for every day and for every man. Or woman!
Loads of examples of whiskey-food pairings appeared at Whiskey Live, but I would like to bring my favourite ones into your attention. Whenever I taste a whiskey which gives you that nice spicy finish and mild burn in your throat which I love so much, I think of my favourite Slovakian chocolate Margot (the one that everyone hates, but I can’t help myself!), that I always mention afterwards, because it would be a perfect combo with such a nice glass of whiskey. I have paired Dunville’s Old Irish Whiskey from Belfast with a milk chocolate and it was one enjoyable moment for me! Just proves the fact that whiskey and chocolate go hand-in-hand together and it is hard to beat this combination.
Unless you are a whiskey aged in exotic rum barrels and guys from Tullamore Dew hand you a cup of ice cream to go with it. You’ll feel like a Pirate of the Caribbean, but sitting at the outside table on your boat, having a nice, sweet&cold dessert to cool down all your conquering ambitions. (Is the soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean stuck in your head now? Good. That was a purpose. And if not, it surely will be now!)
Whiskey geek’s pick by Shane
Midleton Single Cask Single Pot 2001, 46%
Shane knows what I like. Sweet, mouth-filling and fruity.
Whiskey geek’s pick by Colm Leeroy
Glenfarclas, 17 years old, Single malt Scotch whiskey, 43%
I just told him I want something spicy&sweet, smooth and balanced, not smokey, please. He gave me this. And I was happy!
Experience for non-whiskey heads
Longueville House Cider
This stand wants to warm you up and get you into a proper Christmas mood. Give me more of this Mór Cider! (which, by the way, means ‘great’ in Irish, for all of us, non-Irish speaking peeps.) We tasted their Longueville House Cider and the other one aged in brandy casks, and on top of that they treated us with some home-made hot cider, which was delicious!
Radka’s Beer Club…SURPRISE! (as good as Kinder Chocolate Surprise)
My heart was dancing after I spotted Dot Brew stand. It was a great move to bring the lads! It’s a fantastic example of how whiskey and beer can be friends, and help each other to reach all those different flavours and sides of each other. Dot Brew presenting their Whiskey barrelled beer in its pure beauty was definitely a highlight of the evening, and I can’t wait to taste more of Shane’s gentle work with barrels in future.
I would like to say hiiiiii and thank you to all the lads in Celtic Whiskey Shop, who made this Whiskey Party enjoyable for all of us. It was one friendly and perfectly organized evening for me, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll bring to us next year! (Can you do it more often, pretty please?)