In earlier times, duty free shops at airports and elsewhere were magnets for just about everyone.
Located 20 miles south of Dublin, Powerscourt is one of Ireland’s finest stately homes, has one of the world’s top 10 gardens and, since last year, boasts its own whiskey distillery.
I have frequently commented on the Scottish boom in new distilleries, whether whisky or gin. Yet it pales beside the current Irish distillery boom.
Some 22 years ago I toured Ireland researching its 30-plus lost distilleries for a book. Among them, I recalled two vividly – Tullamore in Co Offaly and nearby Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath – because they were still standing but utterly abandoned and dilapidated. So it was a joy to revisit them recently and see both back in operation.
I have always felt Aberdeenshire distilleries are among the most underrated in the business. They all produce great single malts but don’t get the coverage and acclaim accorded to Speyside and Islay whiskies.
After almost two decades of everything flowing Scotch whisky’s way, two big nasty clouds are about to darken the horizon—Brexit and the Trump-imposed 25% tariff on single malt exports to the US.
One element in malt whisky-making we take largely for granted is copper.
Anyone who has ever visited a distillery will have noticed how its warehouse walls and beams, especially if they are very old, are coated with what looks like soot.
Distillery fires are a very rare occurrence these days but a century and more ago, they were painfully frequent.
Writers tend to be voracious readers and I always look for old or unusual whisky books in second-hand bookshops or at car boot sales.