Until quite recent times, Irish whiskies came from just three sources – Midleton in County Cork, Cooley at Dundalk, Co Louth, and good old Bushmills in Co Antrim. All three belong to bigger distilling groups, respectively to Pernod-Ricard, Beam Suntory and Diageo.
Amid the current mushrooming growth of gin distilleries, I have long intended to visit one. That finally came to pass some weeks ago when I saw a gin distillery that, for all it was in the most delightful and historic setting, reminded more of a medieval alchemist’s workshop than a 21st Century distillery.
It takes a particularly strong frame of mind to write about a subject that seems to be in terminal decline — but that is what makes Aeneas Macdonald’s book, Whisky, so fascinating. It was written in 1930 when the fortunes of Scotch whisky were at their all-time nadir.
Most classic cars tend to have long and glorious histories, even if the grim reaper of the car world eventually seals their fate.
What is really special about Lindores Distillery is its location and the site’s history. Although whisky buffs know all about Friar John Cor and his invoice, few people realise just how important the abbey was in its days before the Reformation.
AT first sight, a Kentish vineyard seems as far removed from a whisky distillery as it is possible to imagine. However, when I recently visited Biddenden Winery south of Ashford, Kent, little details kept popping up that reminded me of whisky.
Two weeks ago I mentioned the importance of the enzyme zymase in yeast for whisky making. Today we look at that other indispensable ingredient – barley (pictured) – and its enzyme, diastase. Without barley, specifically malted barley, whisky wouldn’t exist.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is one of countless trade bodies across the UK that is trying to prepare for the uncertainties of Brexit. Whisky is one of Scotland’s, and Britain’s, most valuable exports, earning more than £4 billion a year overseas and UK sales earning the Treasury zillions from excise duty and VAT.
THIS time of year has always for me been a great time for whisky bargains. With the festive season nearing, every supermarket and off-licence bids to outstrip the others with special offers on both blends and malts – and other drinks as well – so I can only urge whisky fans to keep their eyes peeled and their wallets and credit cards well-resourced to take advantage of the offers on hand.
The starting point to making alcohol is sugar in one form or another, usually dissolved in water. It can be grape juice, to make wine and brandy. Or the various sugars in malted barley, to make beer, whisky or gin and vodka. Or sugar cane syrup, to make rum and cachaça. Or honey, to make mead.