I have always been fascinated by the amazing range of bottle sizes (and shapes and styles) that whisky and other spirits get sold in. From miniatures to magnums, and countless other sizes, drink can be bought in every conceivable liquid measure.
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.
For decades Britain was arguably the birthplace and spiritual home of the two-seater sports car.
For decades, Perth was a key centre of the whisky industry, its clout and repute built on three pioneering names—Dewar, Bell and Gloag.
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.
Of all the cereals needed to make whisky, whether in Scotland or elsewhere, barley tops the list. The reason lies in one word: diastase, an enzyme plentiful in barley which spurs the crucial switch of starch to sugars, not just in barley but in other cereals as well.
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.
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.